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Lock Talk:  A Publication of the OPSEU Corrections Campaign

June 29, 2001

Riot destroys Peterborough Jail

A riot at the Peterborough Jail on June 23 has left the facility in shambles and staff without a workplace.

Twelve inmates went on a destruction spree at the 150-year-old facility last Saturday night that has resulted in the jail being completely closed, possibly for good. All of the inmates at the jail have been transported to nearby Millbrook Correctional Centre. Charges against the inmates involved in the disturbance are pending.

Steve Clancy, president of Local 308 at the jail and co-chair of the local health and safety committee, said the damage was beyond belief.

“The unit was completely destroyed,” Clancy said. “The inmates ripped beds and tables out of the floors, knocked out windows, barricaded doors, lit fires and knocked out the walls in between the cells. I’ve have never seen anything like it. The unit isn’t even recognizable any more.”

Inmates also inflicted severe damage to the ceiling structure of the unit, causing concerns that the floor above may sag or even collapse.

Three Institutional Crisis Intervention (ICI) Teams from Millbrook C.C. and another from Whitby Jail responded to the incident Saturday. Peterborough Police also set up their tactical unit around the perimeter of the jail for additional security.

Although it will be at least two weeks before a decision is made whether to re-open the jail, it is doubtful that the Ministry will invest a lot of money in a facility that is scheduled to close. On Tues., June 26, staff at the Peterborough Jail attended a meeting at Millbrook C.C. to learn what was in store for them. To their relief, it was learned that no layoffs were planned.

“We’re pleased that no staff will lose employment because of this incident,” Clancy said. “We understand that the Ministry will do everything in their power to ensure that everyone keeps a job somewhere, even if the facility closes for good.”

It is worthy to note that neither staff nor inmates suffered any injuries during the riot. That is a testament to the level of training and professionalism of public service correctional staff. Having professionals on duty is a measure of comfort to the residents surrounding the Lindsay superjail, but the same can’t be said about those surrounding the privatized jail in Penetanguishene.

As incidents of violence increase in our facilities, it leaves many wondering how long it will be before someone is seriously injured, or worse. It’s going to be a long, hot summer. Let’s stay on our toes.

Escort agreement on the web

The updated Memorandum of Settlement with respect to community escorts is now available on the OPSEU web site. To view the document, go to: www.opseu.org/ops/ministry/locktalk/escortagr.htm 

Resolution Watch

The Resolution Warrior is on fire!

This week, another six municipalities have added their names to the corrections anti-privatization list. They are: the Township of Galway-Cavandish & Harvey (north of Peterborough), the Township of South Dundas (east of Cornwall), the Township of Perth South (north of London), the Township of Central Frontenac (north of Kingston), the City of Quinte West (near Trenton) and the Regional Municipality of Niagara. That brings the count to 220.

Hats off to Len Mason of Local 737 (Thunder Bay Jail).

For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Pam Doig (ext. 687) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888.
e-mail:
dford@opseu.org or pdoig@opseu.org

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
www.opseu.org

Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.

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Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Rd. Toronto, ON M3B 3P8  (416) 443-8888  www.opseu.org