The strategy began last year with the first wave of COVID-19. Eventually, around 50 detainees were released early or temporarily to live in the community. Others, in pre-trial detention, were released on bail.
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said 19 people serving sentences had been released since April when the third wave arrived in Nova Scotia. Those released on bail are not counted by the province, the spokesperson said, as these cases involve court rulings.
Asked by reporters on Thursday about the number of detainees the province intends to release, Justice Minister Randy Delorey said there was no “quota” system in play.
“It’s just a case of assessing on a case-by-case basis, eligible inmates who may be considered for this temporary absence or early release,” Delorey said.
However, Ashley Avery, executive director of the Coverdale Courtwork Society – a nonprofit group that supports women and girls involved in the criminal justice system in Nova Scotia – told CBC she had been informed that the The target for prison depopulation was 25-35%. .
According to the Justice Department, there were just over 350 inmates in provincial jails on Friday.
Cases detected at Burnside Prison
The two known cases of COVID-19 are in the Nova Scotia Correctional Center, also known as Burnside Jail. One case is a staff member and one is a recent admission.
“In both cases, public health is involved and all appropriate measures are taken. Justice Department spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn said.
Fairbairn said all those remanded or sentenced to detention are tested and held in isolation until approved by health authorities for transfer to another area.
Avery said his organization and the Elizabeth Fry Society have been working with women released from Burnside Prison for more than a week to ensure they have access to housing and other services that may be needed such as conditions of their release.
On Wednesday, she said four women released from prison had been placed in hotels and six women had been placed in rooms in supportive housing – Coverdale’s Caitlan’s Place and Elizabeth Fry’s Holly House.