Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe said yesterday that the government hopes to start construction on a new prison facility by January 15, 2023.
“It may also interest you that on the wall you can see renderings of the proposed new high, medium correctional facility that, if commissioner Cleare gets his way, we will be breaking ground 70 days from the time we were in church celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) at Faith Unite Baptist Church,” Munroe said during a press conference at the prison.
He added, “The 70 days, according to my calculation, expire the 15th of January, 2023.”
Munroe acknowledged that it was an “ambitious” goal.
He said his team at the Ministry of National Security aims to do “what is necessary” to accomplish goals that are set out.
The new facility was announced earlier this year. It will house 820 inmates and will include a special unit for mentally ill patients.
It will be a “contained air conditioned” facility, according to Acting Commissioner of Corrections Doan Cleare.
Upon completion, the new facility will be one of three facilities left open on the compound, he said. The other two facilities are the remand center and the juvenile facility.
“We are going to be closing down medium security, female prison and the minimum security prison,” Cleare said.
He said the new facility will be co-ed.
Munroe initially estimated that the facility would cost between $35 million and $40 million.
However, he indicated yesterday that officials were still working out a final cost for the development.
Work on a juvenile facility is also underway at BDOCS, according to the commissioner, who estimated a completion date of December 16, 2022.
“The juvenile facility is a construction that came about over 40 years ago,” Cleare said.
“We have done some massive remodeling. We have spent well over $100,000 on remodeling so far. The inmates are doing the work along with officers. This facility can house comfortably 25 inmates. Our juvenile population normally hovers around 14 or 15 inmates a year.”