After 10 years of deferral, the Trail jail cells are in for an upgrade after council awarded the $211,000 job to Hil-Tech Contracting this week.
“The RCMP Cell Retrofit Program is a national initiative designed to improve cell conditions and safety,” explained Chris McIsaac, director of public works.
“The overall intent of the project is to improve safety for occupants and RCMP staff.”
In 2009, the city received notification from the RCMP E Division detailing the modifications required to bring the Trail RCMP detachment cells up to new design standards.
According to an RCMP review the following year, 631 jail cells across B.C. were expected to be retrofitted by 2014 as part of a nation initiative to minimize in-custody self-harm and/or suicides.
For example, detachments are required to remove bars from cell doors, metal bunks with sharp edges, and toilet paper holders.
Other upgrades could include installing suicide-resistant security grills, angling walls to improve sight lines, and ensuring that all security screws, smoke detectors and light fixtures are properly installed.
“Since receiving notification of the cell retrofit program, staff have advanced capital project requests through the annual capital planning process in order to complete the necessary work to bring the cells at the Trail detachment into compliance with these new standards,” McIsaac said.
“The project was included in the 2019 budget and the RCMP has agreed to pay an apportioned share of the project costs.”
Work to be completed in the Trail cells includes replacement of sliding cell doors, all ventilation grills and louvers, as well as replacement of floor drains, cell lights, smoke detectors and cell sprinkler heads.
Additionally, the caulking and grout of all ledges greater than 3 mm (1/8”) is being replaced. Walls, bunks and ceilings will be repainted and cell numbers will be delineated.
The BC RCMP maintains that retrofitting old cells to meet current design standards supports harm reduction by enhancing the visibility and monitoring of detainees and by reducing potential hanging points, weapon creation, and the concealment of weapons and contraband.
There are 273 force-owned cells in British Columbia to be retrofitted within this program.
Additionally, the RCMP project team liaised with several municipalities across the province undertaking cell retrofit.