Skip to main content

Conditions at decaying Newfoundland jail would be 'inhumane' anywhere else: professor

Memorial University criminologist Rosemary Ricciardelli, right, and Jerry Earle, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, pose in St. John's, Tuesday, March 14, 2023 after the release of Ricciardelli's report about conditions faced by correctional officers at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sarah Smellie) Memorial University criminologist Rosemary Ricciardelli, right, and Jerry Earle, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, pose in St. John's, Tuesday, March 14, 2023 after the release of Ricciardelli's report about conditions faced by correctional officers at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sarah Smellie)
Share
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -

A Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador criminologist says working and living conditions at a Victorian-era jail in St. John's include mouldy cells, rodent and insect infestations, undrinkable water and an unsafe environment.

Rosemary Ricciardelli outlined a litany of concerns today as she presented a report on the experiences of correctional officers at Her Majesty's Penitentiary and their ideas for the design of a new facility.

Her Majesty's Penitentiary, a minimum security penitentiary in St. John's, NL, overlooks Quidi Vidi Lake on June 9, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly)

The oldest parts of the crumbling penitentiary date to 1859 and the provincial government has promised a replacement will be built within four years.

Ricciardelli told reporters that after consulting with 28 correctional officers, she found they want the new facility to include basic accommodations such as somewhere to change their clothes, as well as better mental health and addictions support for inmates.

She says the present conditions at Her Majesty's Penitentiary would be considered "inhumane" and intolerable at any other government facility.

Ricciardelli says she expects it will take more than four years for a new jail, and in the meantime officers need more training and inmates need more programming.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2023.

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Motion to allow keffiyehs at Ontario legislature fails

A motion to reverse a ban on the keffiyeh within Queen’s Park failed to receive unanimous consent Thursday just moments after Ontario Premier Doug Ford reiterated his view that prohibiting the garment in the House is divisive.

What does it mean to be 'house poor' and how can you avoid it?

The journey to home ownership can be exciting, but personal finance columnist Christopher Liew warns about the trappings of becoming 'house poor' -- where an overwhelming portion of your income is devoured by housing costs. Liew offers some practical strategies to maintain better financial health while owning a home.

Stay Connected