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Bigger jail in Surrey opens

  - EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER
— image credit: EVAN SEAL / THE LEADER

A new 216-cell pretrial expansion in Surrey is now open and is already taking prisoners from throughout the region.

B.C. Attorney General Suzanne Anton announced the opening of B.C.'s largest corrections centre, located in the 14300-block of 57 Avenue.

The Surrey Pretrial Services Centre (SPSC) currently houses about 240 inmates, but over the first few months of this year, that number will nearly double on a gradual basis.

There are two major pretrials in the region, the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam and Surrey's expanded centre, which will serve areas south of the Fraser.

The new cells are contained within six living units, each containing 36 cells.

Anton, making the announcement of the opening in Surrey on Wednesday, noted the demographic of inmates has changed in recent years, with more gang members than ever being incarcerated and an increase in the number of people who need to be held in solitary confinement.

The facility is also expected to relieve overcrowding at Surrey's old pretrial centre, where inmates were often double-bunked.

The building was constructed to meet LEED Gold certification, the highest level of sustainability ever for a B.C. correctional facility.

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