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The St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, Ont., is a prison – but has none of the grim trappings normally associated with one.

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This prison's unique approach to treating inmates with mental problems is based on a ground-breaking contractual agreement reached in 2003 between Ontario’s Ministry of Correctional and Community Services and the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The brainchild of Ottawa psychiatrist John Bradford, the hospital agreed to supply doctors, nursing staff and treatment programs. The ministry supplied correctional staff and security.

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In this prison, bars, thick grills and uniformed guards are absent. Floors are carpeted and there is an abundance of natural light and soothing music. Most of the 100 “residents” saunter between their roomy cells and common areas.

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Dr. Colin Cameron is photographed in the  Isolation Cell at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, Ontario.

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Residents plays cards at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, Ontario.

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Dr. Colin Cameron, left,  speaks with a resident at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, Ontario.

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A resident plays his guitar in his room at the St. Lawrence Valley Correctional and Treatment Centre in Brockville, Ontario.

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