Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO is warning the provincial government that it will be making a dangerous mistake if it goes ahead with plans to privatize the Corrections service that monitors offenders wearing electronic bracelets.
“In Ontario and in the U.S., private corporations have shown time and time again that they can’t be trusted to put community safety over profits,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Selling off the service that keeps track of offenders when they’re not in jail is just going to put our communities at risk.
“Public service workers have done this job admirably for decades,” said Thomas. “There’s simply no good reason to sell off this service, or to sell out the front-line Corrections workers who provide it.”
Janet Laverty, the Vice Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO Corrections, said Ontario has already run failed experiment on private Corrections.
“We’ve already been down the road of privatizing correctional services in Ontario when a for-profit company operated a correctional facility in Penetanguishene,” said Laverty. “That experiment failed miserably and the jail was brought back into the public fold. So why does the current government want to head down this reckless path again?”
Offender monitoring is currently done by Ministry of Solicitor-General employees at the Ontario Monitoring Centre in Mississauga. But the ministry has now announced plans to close the facility and privatize that work to a company that will monitor offenders with GPS technology. As a result, offenders that would normally serve weekend sentences will no longer serve jail time and the Intermittent Centres in Toronto and London will be closed.
“Privatization has a terrible track-record when it comes to saving money. And it has an even worse record when it comes to providing services that keep our communities safe,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, who is himself a Correctional Officer. “From Walkerton to the high pandemic death toll in for-profit long-term care, there is plenty of evidence that private companies can’t be trusted to keep us safe. Ontarians must ask if they really want a for-profit company monitoring offenders in the community.”
Thomas said he’s surprised at the government’s privatization plan.
“I know this government appreciates the work done by front-line Corrections workers because of the recent investments they’ve made in new jails and in new positions,” said Thomas. “Privatizing this service will undo a lot of that good work. It’s not too late for the Premier and the Solicitor General to stop us from blundering into this costly privatization mistake that will leave our communities at risk.”