South West Detention Centre

Yesterday morning happened to be the third and final of the public open house/information sessions in Windsor in the initial phase of the new Windsor Jail a.k.a. the South West Detention Centre .

I asked the people there, if the roof in the concept was a Green Roof, and if they were planning on making the structure as energy efficient as possible. They told me, while there are no final plans, they would like a Green Roof, and to follow some LEED guidelines if possible.

This is a great chance to build a showpiece of modern architecture in this city. Rather than fighting the province over the location, which is away from 98% of the population of the City of Windsor, we should be fighting the province to build it properly.

Let’s fight for a Green Roof
Let’s fight for Solar Panels
Let’s fight for Rainwater recycling
Let’s fight for a LEED structure

This constant bickering is embarrassing, and it’s no wonder that the province never listens to Windsor.

The site has been selected off the 8th Concession near the 401, in the middle of nowhere, and the Environment Assessment process is scheduled to be underway from November, 2008 to March, 2009.

So, after listening to NIMBY tears for the last several weeks, I decided to investigate the site of the new jail this morning for myself. As you can see the location is in the middle of nowhere.

Concerned NIMBY’s have taken to spray painting the sign “Help Eddie” & “No Jail”

An aerial view of the immediate area. There is a soccer club immediately south, and along the 8th concession a handful of homes, as well as two oddly located residential streets (one of which – Joy Rd. is visible at the top).

Other that what 100 people? There is next to no residential in the area. It seems to me we couldn’t ask for a better location for the new jail.

Despite the best attempt at fear mongering by the local media, saying the new jail is to be located at Walker Rd. and the 401, as you can see it’s not.

We all know the biggest fear everyone has is that if there is a jail break that the Costco or one of the other big box stores will be robbed. So I took a scientific study and charted the two possible escape routes to Costco from the new jail. As you can see, the closest route is still over 3.5 km away. 🙂

Honestly though, it was embarrassing sitting in that room yesterday listening to the NIMBY’s speak with raised voices to the representatives from Correctional Services.

I haven’t never heard so many ill formed, inarticulate opinions spoken so loudly in public since the Enwin water rate meetings.

It’s a shame that this is the face Windsor’s puts out to the province.

**[EDIT] I forgot to add that if you have any comments, one way or the other, you can send them along though the website, which can be found at: http://ontario.ca/swdc. Don’t forget that even if you agree with the proposed location, you should let the Ministry know. I’m sure they’re hearing all the NIMBY negative comments, but they also need to hear from those who think this is a good location.

22 Comments on South West Detention Centre

  1. Antun, no problem. Unlike other blogs in Windsor this one is NOT moderated.

    Your comments were not held for moderation, but tagged as spam. That happened because there were several comments being posted with different usernames/email address coming from the same IP address.

    The computer took that as fradulaent activity.

    I have added your IP to the white list, and I’m glad some local residents have come here to debate.

    That’s what the comments are for, so everyone can speak.

  2. Boy! I’m very happy that they didn’t consider the core of this city, with its vast expanse of surface parking lots around the 400 Building with extended shabby run own neighbourhoods and then redesign the detention centre as a high rise looking somewhat like a condo.

  3. I just read through the posts, & as a former corrections worker, & thought that I should post. There are some common misconceptions that the public has made in light of this debate, and they have also been made here.

    – While most of the offenders housed at the detention center (& current jail) will stay an average of 72 days, it will also house the worst of the worst – murderers, rapists, and dangerous offenders, until they have finished their trials & are senteneced or released. This is the currently how the Windsor Jail operates & how the new facility will continue to operate.

    – I almost laughed out loud when I read the post about biking past the Windsor Jail daily & never witnessing an attempted breakout. I wonder, though, if you have ever driven by the side of the jail in the morning when the garage door is opened, & inmates are released back into the public? This is done on a daily basis, and inmates are not even given $2.10 for bus fare to find their way back home. The same is going to happen at the new detention center — however, most will be far from walking distance to their neighborhood. Where will they be? Within walking distance of nice subdivisions. Don’t be fooled – the majority of inmates who are released from jail committ B & E’s on a regular basis. Do not fool yourselves into believing that Best Buy or Costco are going to be their targets. Their target is going to be the nearest home they can find. You are right Antun – break outs are not the issue. The daily release of inmates is going to be the issue, just as it already is in the neighborhood surrounding the present jail.

    – Regarding the police having to find money in their budget to transport inmates: Are you aware that transportation is not just a one-time thing? Inmates must also be transported, on a daily basis, to & from the court houses when their trial comes up. This can be a daily occurance, for months on end, depending on the length of the trial. Transportation is definitely an issue, considering the location of our police station & courthouses. Transporation costs are a huge consideration, when you also remember that they will require extra staffing during transportation times.

    In speaking with others who also work in corrections, it was their unanimous opinion that the real issue here is the re-release of inmates. The general public does not realize that the jail is a revolving door for the majority of its inmates. Rare is the inmate who serves one sentence & cleans up their life. The majority are lifetime offenders, who are regularly released back into the public to committ more offences.

    Presently, the jail is housed in a terrible, run down, crack infested neighborhood. (Sorry, I don’t mean to offend those who live in Sandwich, but it is the truth). Released inmates do not have money to take a bus home. If they did, they certainly would not spend it on a bus ticket — they would spend it on crack. Too boot, they most likely don’t even have a home to go to.

    So, what is going to happen to inmates who are released, each & every day from the new facility? They are going to walk, trying to make their way back to the neighborhoods that they know, trying to find people that they know. And who are they going to pass on their way there? They are going to walk right through the nice, safe neighborhoods of south Windsor. Neighborhoods they probably have never seen, because they have spent most of their lives in the recesses of Sandwhich town or the West end.

    Please don’t accuse me of fear mongering. In my professional opinion, the public has every right to be afraid — they just don’t realize the full reasons why.

  4. Ahhh yes, the “nice and safe neighbourhoods in South Windsor” to the crack infested Sandwich Towne. I guess once an area is considered low income we should throw it to the wolves or keep doing the same thing over and over hoping it will change (a great definition of insanity).

    Rachel how about your colleagues in law and enforcement start to tackle these problem areas instead of driving around in their cars and SUV’s pretending to work? That might solve the issue. But instead let’s just keep dumping on Sandwich and the west side. Afterall, that is what Windsor and the surrounding population has done for 50 years and then complain what a shit heap the are is or has become.

    No one has yet to answer my questions above. Go figure….

  5. I myself spent 5 years working with offenders who were released back into the community. I worked right in the trenches of Sandwhich Town, so I know exactly what I am speaking of. I know the struggles that these people face. I spent my free time, as well as money from my own pocket to do all that I could to help them find their way. Because I know this population first hand, I am now even more protective of my own friends & family. I troubles me to know that the crime that Sandwhich is experiencing is going to now be brought to the 401 Walker Rd area. Please know – I don’t mean harm to anyone in Sandwhich Town. I just know that the re-location of the jail is going to mean trouble for even more residents of the city of Windsor.

    Which questions above are you still waiting answers on?

  6. I myself spent 5 years working with offenders who were released back into the community. I worked right in the trenches of Sandwhich Town, so I know exactly what I am speaking of. I know the struggles that these people face. I spent my free time, as well as money from my own pocket to do all that I could to help them find their way. Because I know this population first hand, I am now even more protective of my own friends & family. I troubles me to know that the crime that Sandwhich is experiencing is going to now be brought to the 401 Walker Rd area. Please know – I don’t mean harm to anyone in Sandwhich Town. I just know that the re-location of the jail is going to mean trouble for even more residents of the city of Windsor.

    RE: “how about your colleagues in law and enforcement start to tackle these problem areas instead of driving around in their cars and SUV’s pretending to work?” –> I have NEVER owned an expensive automobile, nor have those that I worked with. Those that I was priviledged to work with put their heart & souls into their jobs, believing that they could make a difference in the inmate/offender population. I take offence at your statement, as I too considered my position an honour, not a paycheque. I

    Which questions above are you still waiting answers on?

  7. I have not had a chance to digest all of the above comments. That being said, I say ‘no’ to a LEED building. I agree to building it to LEED guidlines, but I do not wish to see them go after the certification. LEED is a very expensive certification, often up to 20-30% of the construction costs. I support the ideas of LEED, just not the bureaucracy that is the certification.

  8. I have not had a chance to digest all of the above comments. That being said, I say ‘no’ to a LEED building. I agree to building it to LEED guidlines, but I do not wish to see them go after the certification. LEED is a very expensive certification, often up to 20-30% of the construction costs. I support the ideas of LEED, just not the bureaucracy that is the certification…..

  9. I commend Rachel for telling it like it is. I have no doubts that she is very sincere in what she says but as usual there are those out there that can’t see past their own self righteousness. That means they refuse, for whatever self serving reasons, to see what this issue is really all about. I am willing to admit I don’t have all the answers but can see from comments like Rachel’s that there are some defects in the system and I’m sure that it will take an inspired, informed community with the support of government to make it right. Something that has obviously been around for some time and as Rachel pointed out can’t be solved be all the best-intentioned correctional officers in the country if the will of the government is not there. And even if we all got together I’m still not sure that some “criminally minded” persons will ever be changed – a fact of life.

    So, this truly becomes an issue the provincial government needs to spend more time to consider when choosing the proper place. Rachel has also made it abundantly clear that if this is a Windsor Jail serving primarily the Windsor Community, there is definitely a need for a state of the art facility not just for incarceration but for truly “correctional assistance” . And as she said there would appear to be a much greater problem here that a new facility may not fix.

    Thank you again Rachel for your comments/information as it may bring others to the forefront of this discussion so once again the best solution will be sought out.

    The ultimate decision of where to locate the new Windsor Jail must still consider the following:

    – shortest distance for transport to the court system to save costs and manpower
    – the best area for containment of the criminal element should they be found to be murderers, rapists or dangerous offenders
    – keep “institutions” of this type away from neighbourhoods not already zoned as “institutional”

    I wish I had an answer for the “re-release” problem of inmates back into the community but from what was said it may be a moot point if the problem has not been corrected which no doubt seems likely.

    I saw in the Windsor Star today the beginnings of the process for the new bridge to the USA. I once again would hope that this project could include the new SWDC (Windsor Jail) perhaps in an effort to save taxpayers some money in difficult economic times. Any thoughts on this?

  10. If people posting on this site are so against urban sprawl, than why do you want a jail built in the middle of undeveloped farmland? Driving around the city of Windsor there appears to be many potential sites that can be torn down and redeveloped as a jail. How about the GM Transmission plant on Walker Road? Once they move out and board up shop, it’ll be just another empty rust house. How about tearing down Windsor Arena and the subsidized drug houses behind the Arena downtown? If the city is so committed to bringing people downtown and have more people to walk the streets, what’s better than having correction officers spending money at local restuarants? Sure inmates may be released downtown but with it being near the police station and court house the risk seems minimal that crime would increase that much. A better idea would be the province buying Zalev Bros. land near Howard & EC Row. That polluted inner city site needs to be shut down so our roads are stained brownish/orange anymore let alone the air pollution it puts out. I don’t care if the current site is chosen, nor do I care about the Brighton Beach area. Where’s Councillor Halberstadt or the other Monkey Puppet’s form council asking for the jail to be built on Lauzon/Tecumseh to replace the old Wal-Mart/Woolco store or some other run down area of the city? We need a new jail in this city and the investment in infrastructure creates jobs (although temporary) and boosts the local economy which we need.

  11. The old barn is a great location, IMHO. The services that most of the released inmates need are located within walking distance, so most of them quickly end up in that area anyhow. I think it’s a great idea all around.

  12. The only problem with the Barn is that it isn’t closing.

    Once the Spitfires move to their new taxpayer-funded playground, the barn will revert to a community rink, and will be the new home of the Lancers Hockey program.

    So closing a tearring down an existing, in use building doesn make much sense.

  13. I think Randolph’s idea of the Zalev site would be great.
    It has access to main artery roads (both Dougall and EC Row), is reasonably close to downtown (a quick shot down Dougall), it’s already serviced, any close residential is bound off by Howard and Dougall… and the city would no longer have to pay to power wash the sidewalks and streets every year.

    I’ve always wondered how long the city will allow Zalev to keep polluting that area of town – it’s crazy.

  14. It was interesting to read in the paper today about the Province being hush hush on the selection process for the jail. One location I thought was a very good idea was the old Chrysler van plant between Central & Pillette along E.C. Row. The land is serviced, if the build it to the far west side of the property there would be very minimal residential impact. I’m not sure about proxitmity to schools, although the closest I can think of are Herman H.S. & Davis grade school. I would rather have the jail located there instead of some industry that increases traffic, pollution, noise etc.

  15. It is unfortunate that the aflfuence of the residential community in the area might have the power to prevent the facility from being built. Shall it be located in west Windsor where the economic level is less? There isn’t a place in the area where the facility can be built without the perception of affecting someone. I lived in West Windsor fior many years and felt no ill effects of the jail there. People are fear mongering. People are prejudgiced. People are hateful and unforgiving. Many of those confined to the facility DO want to be rehabilitated.

  16. Quote:
    I lived in West Windsor fior many years
    and felt no ill effects of the jail there.

    Did you ever notice the break-in rate at homes directly in the area? Did you ever notice the steady stream of traffic in front of the jail — both when inmates were released onto the street, or when their friends were lining up to try to “visit” them (aka- sneak drugs into the facility for them) ?

    Quote:
    People are fear mongering. People are
    prejudgiced. People are hateful and
    unforgiving.

    This is not fear mongering. This is reality. I don’t live in the are where the proposed jail site is, but people in that area SHOULD be scared that their homes will be visited with the same brake-ins the plague the west end.

    Quote:
    Many of those confined to the facility DO
    want to be rehabilitated.

    I am 100% for rehabilitation. Would wouldn’t be? However, once again, the sad reality is that MOST of those who are released from the jail are drug addicts. And those addicts support their habit by breaking into cars, holding up convenience stores, & breaking into homes. By moving the jail to a more central part of the city, we are just changing the location of the crime. Citizens in this area have every right to speak up & voice their opinion.

  17. Hey Andrew…great site, but even looking at the pictures you have of old Windsor I wonder if you get what putting a jail in this area means. For example, you have some pictures of Walkerville when it still looked like farmland or even better, Howard and Tecumseh when Mr. Howard had a farm there and you have to wonder what would the area look like, if back then they put a huge 315 bed prison there. Probably nothing like it does…that area will one day be the new Windsor and putting a prison there as the first piece of development is short sighted. Also, it is not “in the middle of nowhere”…it may be next to some farm fields but a nice 500m away it is very built up.

  18. It is short sighted to believe that we should keep sprawling out with unsustainable development. The future of Windsor is not out there in Sprawl Hell, but in revitalized neighbourhoods in the city limits.

    Even in 1925 when the current jail was built in Sandwich, that area was more built up, and more urban than the 8th concession will ever be.

    The proposed area will have the least amount of impact on the smallest number of residents, period.

  19. Andrew
    Ok. I should probably stop posting on this thing, but I can’t help to reply to your arguments. In 1925 there were far fewer people and much less penchant for driving 20-30 km to do anything on a daily basis, although I was not around back then. They were also not building a regional prison for the area between here and London.
    Also, I agree with you on the sprawl argument. No one needs or wants more sprawl…so how is the jail not sprawl? Sprawl is inevitable unless the City changes it’s planning policy…all we can affect is what kind of sprawl goes in. This is the first feature in this area and it and Windsor deserve better.

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