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Toronto Corrections officers refuse work after assault

About 200 OPSEU Corrections members who work at the Toronto South Detention Centre refused non essential work on Monday, March 4, after a group of workers was attacked over the weekend, sending two to hospital.

“The real crux of the problem is the government either can’t, or won’t, hire enough people to staff the place safely,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the CBC. “We are trying to sort this out. We are trying to make the place safe.”

Jason Groeneveld, president of OPSEU Local 5112, told the CBC that a group of nearly 40 inmates staged what looked like a fight inside a cell on Saturday night. When officers went to investigate, the inmates turned on them. Two officers were punched in the head and had garbage cans thrown at them. 

“The employer absolutely refused to address the incident,” Thomas told CTV News. “There have been no consequences for the inmates who launched the attack, they’ve not been moved to another institution, which should be done as a matter of course.

“This institution had a danger level like an assessment done in 2013 before it opened, but there’s never been one done since.”

Thomas told Global News: “There’s too many inmates for too few staff,” adding that it’s a similar situation at most of the province’s jails. “It’s just a recipe for trouble.”

Global says that Andrew Morrison, a spokesman with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, did not offer comment on staffing levels at Toronto South.