FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement updating the situation at the Southeast Regional Correctional Centre was issued today by Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry:

It has now been nine days since a fire forced the evacuation of staff, offenders and visitors at the Southeast Regional Correctional Centre. I continue to be proud of the perseverance and dedication of our correctional staff who have worked hard to ensure that routines have returned to normal as much as possible, given the circumstances. Having our largest correctional institution offline presents real challenges, but our management and staff have met these challenges with professionalism and ingenuity.

Offenders have been transferred to their scheduled court appearances all this week. We thank those involved in the administration of the courts as well as the judiciary, the Crown, Legal Aid counsel and others for their patience and understanding.

Now that the provincial fire marshal has completed his investigation, Correctional Services is now conducting an investigation of the occurrence.

We have also focused our efforts on returning offenders and staff to the facility as soon as is safely possible. Today, we will be moving trailers into a secure site on the grounds of the facility. Our intention is to move offenders from other secure provincial facilities back to the Southeast Regional Correctional Centre. This will only occur when all safety and security requirements have been satisfied, and that may take several days. We also hope to restore service to parts of the main building, beginning with the kitchen and the medical unit.

We are confident that these measures will assist us in alleviating the pressure on our other secure institutions. Again, I am proud of our management and staff for their leadership, professionalism and dedication during this displacement.