FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 17, 2012
MPP BAILEY DEMANDS RELIEF FOR OVERCROWDED JAIL
QUEEN’S PARK – Today, Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey called on the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to immediately address the overcrowding at the Sarnia Jail before there is an incident leading to injury, or even death.
Currently the Sarnia Jail is operating at 145% capacity. Inmates are being housed three to a cell and forced to sleep on the floor in day areas outside of regular cells, at the same time the Jail continues to be understaffed by the Ministry, leaving important security roles unfilled.
MPP Bailey spoke directly to the Minister of Corrections, Madeleine Meilleur in the Legislative Chamber, before delivering a statement to the Assembly. Minister Meilleur assured MPP Bailey that her office would look into the overcrowding at once.
In his statement to the Assembly, MPP Bailey quoted the concerns of local jail staff representatives who wrote to the Minister saying “We are in serious trouble here. Hopefully no one gets killed or injured because of the lack of staff”. MPP Bailey also noted the possibilities if the overcrowding continues, “Mr. Speaker, the inevitable outcome of overcrowding in the Sarnia Jail will be tragedy. At larger facilities, like London’s Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre violence is rampant, overcrowding has been cited in numerous lawsuits, two coroner’s inquests and a homicide investigation. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services must act now to address the dangerous conditions they’ve created at the Sarnia Jail before there is an incident leading to a serious injury or the loss of life."
MPP Bailey, who serves as the Progressive Conservative Critic of Corrections, was made aware of the overcrowding by Sarnia Jail staff earlier this week and immediately requested action through correspondence with the Minister’s Office.
In his role as Critic of Corrections MPP Bailey has toured several provincial jails and is in regular contact with management, staff and inmates of Ontario’s correctional facilities.
In the 2011 Provincial Budget, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced that they would close the Sarnia Jail, along with two other jails in the province, primarily because it was “underutilized.”
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services lists the capacity of the Sarnia Jail as 101 inmates.
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For more information, contact:
David Donovan | 416-325-1715 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.bobbaileympp.com