Surrey opens largest pretrial centre in B.C

SURREY – Surrey now has B.C.’s biggest provincial prison.

A new wing with 216 cells was officially opened Wednesday at the Surrey PreTrial centre, by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.

The opening, which more than doubles the pretrial’s capacity, completes the $185 million first phase of B.C.’s capital plan to expand its correctional centres. B.C. Corrections will also hire 130 more full-time staff to work at the pretrial centre.

“There are many reasons why bigger is better,” Anton said, at the ribbon cutting ceremony. She said this “unprecedented investment” will help make B.C. safer and separate inmates with known conflicts.

“We have more gang members that have to be kept apart.”

Anton said the government must “ensure capacity and safety grow in tandem with demand.”

Ironically, she also noted that B.C. is enjoying its lowest crime rate in four decades.

The Surrey Pretrial expansion has six living units, each containing 36 cells. The pretrial centre began the new year with roughly 240 inmates, but over the next few months is expected to double that. Before the Surrey expansion, North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam was B.C.’s largest correctional centre.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said the expanded Surrey pretrial represents not just a jail, but an opportunity to change inmates’ lives. Programs there will help get to the root cause of offenders’ criminal behaviour and help them find “a way out,” she said.

“We want to make sure the staff is safe,” she added, and inmates as well.

Surrey Pretrial Warden Gordon Davis called the opening a “historic moment…. This project is moving safety forward and helping our staff to be their best,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Music therapist Felicia Wall in the music room at Phoenix Society in Surrey. (submitted photo)
Eclectic album showcases songs recorded by Surrey residents in recovery

Project at Phoenix Society took about six months to complete, with help of music therapist

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
‘Canada’s oldest senior’ receives COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home

JaHyung Lee, 110, is a resident at Amenida Seniors Community

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Surrey RCMP is looking for witnesses and video after a fatal crash in Newton on Christmas Day 2020. Police say the driver left the scene before officers arrived at the 6700-block of King George Boulevard. (Photo: Curtis Kreklau)
Surrey RCMP seeking witnesses, video of fatal Christmas Day crash

Woman was killed in the 6700-block of King George Boulevard

Surrey Lacrosse Association president Sean Reid (left) and wife Angie (right) with their kids Leland, Cameron, Evan and Taya. (submitted photo)
Surrey Rebels open registration with plans for ‘skills and drills’ season of box lacrosse

Last spring, the timing of the pandemic hit the game particularly hard

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Forestry companies in B.C. agree to abide by the cedar protocols based on traditional laws of the First Nation members of the Nanwakolas Council. (Photo courtesy, Nanwakolas Council)
Landmark deal sees B.C. forest firms treat big cedars like a First Nation would

Western Forest Products, Interfor among companies to adapt declaration drafted by Nanwakolas Council

The Fraser Valley Regional Library board of directors recently finalized its budget. (Black Press Media files)
Fraser Valley Regional Library budget not enough to keep up with booming population

Almost $5 million of books, DVDs, and ebooks to be purchased in 2021

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Most Read