Correctional officers calling on government to address jail conditions in Ontario

Workers speak out about overcrowding, understaffing, out-dated equipment and increasing violent incidents while Corrections Minister fails to act.

photo of Warren (Smokey) Thomas President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE)London (28 Sept. 2012) - Correctional officers at London’s Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre will hold an information picket to protest the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ lack of action in addressing deteriorating jail conditions across the province.

The picket will take place at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, 711 Exeter Rd in London, Ontario at noon today. 

Officials with Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) local which represents the workers at the Detention Centre continue to speak out regarding overcrowding, understaffing, record numbers of violent incidents, outdated equipment and the failure of Liberal Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur to act on these issues.

“Jails throughout the province are faced with dangerously low staffing levels as the government imposed hiring freeze continues,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. “Accompanied by overcrowding, lack of personal protective equipment and infrastructure issues, the recipe for disaster is imminent.”

Dan Sidsworth, Provincial Chair of the union's Corrections Division, said that the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre is on par for reaching 278 inmate-on-inmate assaults by the end of 2012.

“Two coroner’s inquests have recommended hiring more staff to supervise the inmates but this has been rejected by the province,” Sidsworth said. “Correctional officers are working with insufficient and broken equipment, however, the safety of the inmates and staff are subject to Minister Meilleur’s budget.”

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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