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July 6, 2001
Hostage crisis in Fort Francis ends peacefully
A hostage taking at the Fort Francis Jail on June 28 ended
peacefully after a 20-hour stand off with police.
All three correctional officers and the shift supervisor
on duty at the facility last Thursday night were involved when the 14 inmates
took over the jail around 9 p.m. The supervisor managed to barricade himself in
an office at the start of the crisis and called police.
Police tactical squads and negotiators immediately
responded and cordoned off the jail. The quick action likely prevented any
Fort Francis Jail’s Cell Extraction Team (CET) was the
first to arrive on scene after the police. The next to arrive was an
Institutional Crisis Intervention Team (ICIT) from Kenora, which is three hours
away, and ICIT from Thunder Bay, which is six hours away.
During the stand off, police managed to negotiate the
release of two of the officers. The third officer was released when ICIT entered
the area. The shift supervisor, fearing for the safety of his officers, was the
last to leave the facility. The incident ended around 4:30 p.m. Friday
Inmates from the Fort Francis Jail have been moved to
Kenora and Thunder Bay while the investigation into the incident takes place.
Sources say that police have charged the two inmate ringleaders, who were
awaiting trial on first-degree and second-degree murder respectively. No
information on the cause of the disturbance is available, but escape may have
been the motive.
In the June 1 edition of Lock Talk, we
re-printed a letter written by Liberal Corrections Critic David Levac that was
sent to Corrections Minister Rob Sampson. Levac outlined many factual issues
that were very troublesome with respect to the privatization of the
The following is the reply sent to Levac by Sampson. Judge
this one for yourself:
Dear Mr. Levac:
I am in receipt of your letter of May 31, 2001, regarding
the operation of the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC).
The information in your letter contains numerous errors.
Previous governments, such as yours, ignored recommendations from the Provincial
Auditor to modernize and review Ontario's correctional services. This government
has chosen to act upon these recommendations by investing new money in new and
more secure jails.
The Mike Harris government is investing $450 million to
build safe, secure, efficient, effective and publicly accountable institutions.
This government will continue to make tough choices and decisions when it comes
to ensuring that Ontario' taxpayers' dollars are spent effectively and
The Town of Penetanguishene has already benefited from the
construction phase of CNCC. As of May 2001, $23.15 million dollars has been
invested in the local community, including $12.4 million for labour and $10.57
million for materials. The project has also created 1,476 construction-related
jobs in the area. The private operator, Management & Training Corporation,
has indicated that it intends to continue this investment in the community,
purchasing at least 75% of supplies and services from local businesses, wherever
possible. This is great news for the local economy. I find it hard to understand
why you would object to our investment in the future and the economy of
Penetanguishene when you know that the ministry's corporate offices in Toronto
and North Bay would make the purchase decisions of a publicly run facility.
Management & Training Corporation (MTC) was awarded
the contract to operate CNCC following an open, thorough and competitive
transaction process. The ministry has structured a Services Agreement that makes
effective use of both public and private sector input. Furnishings, fixtures and
equipment for the CNCC facility will be secured from the ministry's existing
stock by recycling and reusing furniture and equipment from decommissioned
correctional facilities. Had the ministry required the operator to furnish the
facility, the subsequent cost would be been passed on to the taxpayer.
As for food services, MTC is responsible for providing
food to inmates within the institution. The operator will be required to
purchase specified food products from the operator of the Cookchill Food
Production Centre in Milton, Ontario. As well, MTC must use the same computer
programs and forms as all publicly operated adult correctional institutions to
ensure the same high standards and policy procedures are maintained.
For your information, the operation of CNCC is an
investment in this government's continuing efforts to build a safe and secure
correctional institution and an investment in the Town of Penetanguishene. As
you are well aware, the Province will own fixtures, furnishings and equipment.
The Town of Penetanguishene itself demanded that the province continue to own
and not sell the property. Since the Province owns the property, as supported by
the Town, current provincial legislation dictates that the local levies be paid
as payments-in-lieu of taxes, at the annual rate of $75.00 per bed for an annual
payment of $88,800. Town officials are well aware that I will continue to work
with the Town of Penetanguishene regarding their request for payment of the
appropriately applicable business levies.
I have made it clear on a number of occasions that
Ontario's provincial corrections institutions will follow tough operating
standards designed to improve public safety, security, efficiency, effectiveness
and accountability, regardless of whether they are operated by the public or
private sector. Unlike previous governments, this government has made it very
clear that it is serious about fighting crime and not rewarding offenders. We
have established tough, results-based standards, further demonstrating our
commitment to ensure the communities that host our jails remain safe.
This government's objective is to ensure that CNCC will be
a safe, secure, effective, efficient, and accountable institution, not only for
offenders and staff, but also for the community of Penetanguishene. In fact, a
public opinion poll taken of Penetanguishene residents and tabled in the
Legislature on June 22, 2000, indicated that 82% of respondents would be
comfortable with a private-sector operator if tough safety and security
standards were in place. We share the concerns of the community and have
demanded that MTC meet the same high standards that every correctional
institution in the province must meet.
As a government, we have a responsibility to manage
taxpayers' hard-earned money responsibly. We are obliged to ensure that they get
the best possible service and value for their tax dollar. More importantly, our
government is committed to putting public safety first. I intend to honour that
Rob Sampson, Minister
Waterloo closes tonight
The official notice has come down that the Waterloo
Detention Centre will be closed effective 11:59 p.m., Friday, July 6, 2001.
Wellington D.C., also slated for closure, will remain open
for at least another week. The reason for the extension is due to the transfer
of inmates from the Maplehurst superjail to Wellington, which was done to
prevent triple bunking at the Maplehurst facility.
Corrections Minister Rob Sampson had made earlier promises
in writing to staff at Maplehurst that three inmates would not be housed in same
cell in the new building. It is unknown how long the Wellington jail will remain
In case you haven’t seen it…
The billboard alerting Simcoe residents of the massive tax
break being granted to private prison firm Management and Training Corporation
continues to turn heads on Highway 11 near Orillia.
If you haven’t had the chance to drive up that way, you
can view the billboard artwork at:
Print some copies - they make great MPP Christmas gifts.
This is a reminder to all members who have employee e-mail
Six employees at the Ministry of Natural Resources were
fired this week and at least 100 more were disciplined after it was discovered
that employees had either sent or saved e-mail messages containing racist and
sexist material. The full details of the evidence are not known, but this should
serve as a warning to ALL employees regarding use of the employer’s e-mail
Although you cannot control the types of e-mail messages
you receive, you do control what you save or forward to others. ANY e-mails
containing inappropriate messages, jokes or attachments should be deleted
immediately. You do not have any right to privacy when using the employer’s
e-mail. Bear that in mind.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or
Pam Doig (ext. 687) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Public Service Employees Unionwww.opseu.org
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman,
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