The provincial government hopes to have a new $175,000 cultural lodge built and in place at the Pine Grove Correctional Centre in Prince Albert by next spring.
The lodge will provide a number of services including individual mentoring, counseling, self-help programs and traditional ceremonies for the largely female inmate population.
Ministry of Corrections and Policing spokesperson Drew Wilby said the facility will also house an indoor sweat lodge and meeting area which will provide appropriate privacy for female offenders.
“I think what’s important here in regards to this facility is that it will provide that privacy that’s required and especially for female offenders,” he said. “As I am sure you are aware, Pine Grove is close to a park area and oftentimes will have people making comments at the female inmates that are there. So, it will be nice to have that private space that they can go and they can partake in that cultural programming and make sure what’s important to them is getting done.”
The completion date is spring 2020 and the province has contracted an Indigenous-owned company to build the facility.
Wilby added it is important to note the design of and programming for the cultural lodge has been developed in consultation with First Nations and Métis elders.
Elders will also work with offenders to build cultural awareness, enable healing and create positive reintegration back into communities.
“The design was, I understand, created through consultations with our elders’ advisory committee,” Wilby said. “We work with elders from around the province and of course making sure the elders we consult with are specific to the First Nations groups we are dealing with at each and every one of the facilities.”
The province says it believes cultural infrastructure is important to help offenders rehabilitate, reflect, and build links to their culture and communities.
(PHOTO: Pine Grove Correctional Centre. Photo courtesy www.cagbc.org.)