'It is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs in this jail …a tragedy that is completely avoidable.' - Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Brampton (23 Nov. 2009) - Employees in Ontario’s newest facility for young offenders – the Roy McMurtry Youth Centre – warn that immediate steps need to be taken to address escalating problems.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) says ongoing staff shortages and lack of security at the 'superjail' have resulted in an alarming rise in youth-on-youth assaults as well as incidents of youths threatening and assaulting staff.
This is unnecessary and unacceptable, says Bruce England, president of OPSEU Local 290 at the facility.
“Not only are we understaffed, officers are off injured or off on stress leave because of the intolerable conditions here,” England says. “We need better security and proper training to deal with youths who can be extremely violent.”
While the ministry of children and youth services is beginning to assess the situation, OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas urges officials to address problems quickly before more workers are injured.
“The problems at McMurtry must be dealt with quickly,” Thomas says. “While we support the ministry’s vision of rehabilitating these youths, it must be done with proper staffing in an environment that is as safe as possible for everyone. Failing that, it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs in this jail … a tragedy that is completely avoidable.”
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