Fredericton — Science East in the capital city’s downtown has been a fun an informative learning centre for all ages since 1994, but most Frederictonians are aware the place was once the York County Jail. Science East has preserved the features of the original historic building, from the massive granite slabs to the heavy barred doors.
Due to budget constraints, Science East, which according to its website (scienceeast.nb.ca) is a “registered charity dedicated to engaging people in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and inspiring future leaders in these areas,” is planning to once again allow inmates to be held in the lower floor area.
Children will still be able to tour that area in a “scared straight”-style educational initiative. The inmates will be invited to participate in fun-filled interactive displays for a reduced sentence, such as: “Don’t touch that outlet! How many watts of electricity can the human body handle?” or the sure-to-be-favourite “What happens when you dunk your hand in liquid nitrogen for 1 whole minute?”
While the announcement has been mostly well-received by parents and educators alike, some remain skeptical of the safety of the new initiative.
“My kids aren’t going anywhere near convicts. How do I know my little Cindy won’t come home with a prison tattoo, or in a gang?”
said concerned local Stacey Waters.
“This is how children develop smoking habits,” added Waters aggressively.
The new warden, John Ingraham, said that he hopes being around children will be rehabilitative for the convicts. “Putting the most innocent beings in the world in the same room as the most corrupt ones is a good idea. We’ll get some kind of happy medium. It’s just like an electron-positron annihilation!”he quipped, already more knowledgeable after his first visit to the science centre.
Despite any public fear, Science East has already reported an increase in class field trip bookings for the next few months, and they are jumping at the chance to get new visitors through the doors. As stated in a press release: “Families visiting convicted loved ones will get a free tour of Science East during their visit as a therapeutic coping mechanism.”