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Lack of safe procedures at new Toronto jail endangering staff and offenders

TORONTO — Correctional officers working at the new Toronto Intermittent Centre on Horner Avenue are warning that the lack of standard operating procedures at the jail will lead to serious injuries or deaths. The warning comes after an offender at the facility suffered a near-fatal overdose this past weekend.

Dan Sidsworth, elected chair of the province’s 6,000 correctional officers, said that the facility should never have been allowed to open until official procedures were in place to allow for the safe operation of the jail.

“Every correctional facility is different, and each must have specific procedures in place to ensure the safety of the staff and the offenders,” Sidsworth said. “It is incomprehensible to allow a jail to operate without precise rules and procedures for the staff to follow.”

Sidsworth said that a meeting will be held with officials from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to address the problem, but says that staff and offenders are living on borrowed time.

“There have already been serious incidents, and it is inevitable that something worse will happen unless safe procedures are in place,” Sidsworth said. “The Ministry can’t drag its feet any longer.”

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he will hold Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur directly responsible if one of his members is injured at the jail.

“You can’t buy a power tool without a thick manual explaining how to operate it safely,” Thomas said. “It is totally irresponsible for the Ministry to operate a jail without the same type of safety manual. It endangers the staff, the offenders and ultimately the public.”

More information:

Dan Sidsworth 905-691-7955