What will a Covid Christmas look like for NWT inmates?

Fort Smith's new women’s correctional unit opened on August 30. GNWT/Photo
Fort Smith's women’s correctional unit. Photo: GNWT

As people across the Northwest Territories prepare for their first Christmas during a pandemic, those in jail will be celebrating the festive season a bit differently.

According to the NWT’s Department of Justice, there are currently 85 to 90 inmates at the territory’s jails – the Fort Smith Correctional Complex and Yellowknife’s North Slave Correctional Complex. 

This year, those inmates won’t have in-person visits from friends and family. Because of the pandemic, all personal visits have been suspended barring exceptional circumstances like a family death or illness.

Inmates can, however, have virtual visits. All NWT correctional facilities now offer video-conferencing. 



A spokesperson for the justice department told Cabin Radio Christmas dinners are being planned for inmates at both facilities, along with holiday activities and “a break from the normal routine.”

For children whose parents are incarcerated over Christmas, inmates at the North Slave Correctional Complex have applied to the Prison Fellowship of Canada’s Angel Tree Christmas program.

Sponsors can purchase, wrap and deliver a gift to a child of jailed parents who have been accepted into the program.