Inside the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre


It's been seven months since a task force was struck up to address issues of overcrowding at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

On Thursday for the first time in at least two years, reporters were allowed in to the notorious remand centre.

Right now the jail is operating at 102 per cent capacity, although in recent weeks the average capacity is between 87 and 90 per cent.

Gone are the times when there were so many inmates here they were forced to sleep in secure shower cells. The cells are now used for their original purposes.

From behind glass windows curious inmates in orange jump suits peer into the hallways. Some are separated, others gather in common areas, as correctional officers in a central watch tower keep an eye out.

"I would say there's been substantial improvement in the jail," said Greg Flood, with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. "In the tour today you saw there's been painting. We've taken a lot of steps, there's a new body scanner in place.

On Thursday, the Ministry released a report on the progress made at the jail since the release of 42 recommendations in June. Eleven of those recommendations have been completed, with work being undertaken on longer-term goals like creating units to better assist inmates with mental health issues.

The shower cell in the photo below was where inmates were bunked when the jail was overcrowded:

The area below used to be a unit to house youths. It is expected to be converted into a mental health unit:

This is the jail's new full body scanner. It can detect contraband and ceramic weapons an inmate may hide in their body: