Correctional Services Minister Badly Bungles Jail File

(Queen’s Park)—Yesterday during Question Period, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services blamed corrections officers for not doing their jobs, at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC).

This past weekend a correctional officer was attacked by an inmate, bringing the unrest and overcrowding situation at the EMDC to a head. Last night during an uprising, two fires were set in the jail. The EMDC has been crowded for some time, even before the closure of the Walkerton Jail, which put more pressure on the overcrowding situation.

“This is a serious problem—one that could have been easily avoided if the Walkerton Jail had not been closed,” said Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce). “The Minister knew before she closed the Walkerton Jail that there was an overcrowding problem, and she proceeded to do it anyway. This Minister has no handle on her file.”

This isn’t the first violent incident at the EMDC. Last summer inmates began to flood toilets, light fires and run amok. Jail cells meant for two people were holding three to five people. Inmates have had to sleep on the floors of cells. Even the inmates are complaining about the lack of safety. Today, the PC’s demanded the resignation of the Minister, who’s poor decisions have put lives at risk.

“We have two facilities in Huron-Bruce that this government closed down, one in Walkerton and the Bluewater Centre in Goderich,” said Thompson. “These facilities could be of great use to the Ministry for low-risk offenders, individuals awaiting a court date, or those completing weekend sentences.”

The Minister has adamantly denied overcrowding is an issue at EMDC.  However, overcrowding in EMDC’s segregation units lead to dangerous offenders being placed in the general population.  One of these inmates was responsible for the weekend attack on the correctional officer.

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