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>June 30, 2000
|June 30, 2000
Itís up! Itís good!
A solid three-point field goal was scored on Corrections Minister Rob Sampsonís home turf in the riding of Mississauga Centre.
The visiting team of Citizens Against Private Prisons today unveiled a billboard one block east of Sampsonís riding office thatís sure to grab Robís attention.
The ten-foot by twenty-foot horizontal board shows an inmate looming over a female patient in a doctorís office while a lone security guard snoozes nearby. The message: "Can this security guard protect you from him? Say NO to privatized corrections"
Sharon Dion, chair of CAPP in Penetanguishene, was on hand for the presentation along with Corrections critics David Levac (Liberal) and Peter Kormos (NDP).
Sharon explained to the 30 people in attendance why she was fighting the Tory governmentís privatization scheme. "The superjail is literally right in my backyard," Sharon said. "Privatizing the jail is scary enough. The thought of inmates being escorted out of that place by low-paid private security guards is absolutely frightening."
David Levac stated that fighting this issue has nothing to do with politics. "The opposition to Sampsonís privatization agenda is a grass roots movement," Levac said. "That proves the message is working. This billboard will be a daily reminder to Sampson that he should start listening to the people."
Peter Kormos told a tale about a man who wanted a very stubborn and temperamental mule trained. When he took the mule to the trainer, the first thing the trainer did was hit the mule on the head with a two-by-four. When the man asked the trainer why, the trainer replied, "First, you have to get his attention."
"This billboard will surely get Sampsonís attention," Kormos said. "When is the Minister going to realize that the only professionals in a private, for-profit jail are the cons."
With luck, Sampson will get the message. If not, we wonder if there is a lumberyard nearby?
Todayís weather: Low eighties
It must be summer because the heat is rising with municipal council resolutions.
This week, four more councils have joined the rising tide fighting privatized corrections in Ontario. They are the Town of Blind River, the Town of Fort Frances, the Township of Alberton (near Fort Frances) and the Township of Morley. Morley is located west of Fort Frances near the town of Stratton.
And who is responsible for these latest northern communities? You guessed it, the Resolution Warrior himself, Len Mason from Local 737 (Thunder Bail Jail).
This now brings the resolution count to 82. We would be remiss if we did not mention that 21 of those resolutions are due to Lenís hard work.
In recognition for the time and energy that Len has put into this campaign, we are pleased to announce that Len will be the recipient of his own Lock Talk shirt. Thanks Len, keep up the fight!
Niagara Falls council rejects SampsonÖagain
If at first you donít succeed, perhaps maybe you should give up.
Rob Sampson should be getting that message loud and clear, at least from the City of Niagara Falls. On March 27, 2000 city council passed a resolution demanding that the Minister reconsider the closure of the Niagara Detention Centre. That motion was forwarded to Sampson along with a letter from the Mayor stating that the closure would negatively impact on public safety and the local economy.
Sampson wrote back on June 5, assuring the Mayor that the jail closure would not have a negative impact. Council wasnít buying it.
The council passed another resolution June 26 expressing their displeasure to the Minister and again demanding that the jail stay open.
Wonder what excuse Sampson will come up with next?
Minister gets jolt from Penetang OPP
Lesson one: when you yell "Iíll pick up the tab," find out how much the bill is first.
Corrections Minister Rob Sampson has assured Penetanguishene town council repeatedly that his ministry would bear any additional policing costs resulting from the operation of the superjail. This was an exceptionally sensitive issue for the town as Penetangís contract with the Ontario Provincial Police is coming due, and the council could not afford any substantial increase to the $750,000 per year they currently pay.
Good thing Sampson has a deep wallet. Penetang OPP presented a report to Penetang council this week, outlining the extra resources they required to deal with jail issues. When the OPP factored in 1,200 new "residents," inmate visitors and lower jail staffing due to privatization, they determined that an additional $500,000 would have to added to the yearly budget.
Donít forget to add that in to the "private jail savings," Rob.
"Itís about respect"
In the May 19 edition of Lock Talk, we reported on the efforts of Brother Bill Leggott, a correctional officer at Local 359 (Whitby Jail).
Bill is campaigning for a "25 years and out" pension for Ontario correctional officers, which was endorsed at the Corrections divisional meeting held May 13-14. Bill has submitted to Lock Talk the following open letter.
"Itís about respect! I hope by now you are aware that I have started a campaign with the goal to bring about a "25 years and out" pension for correctional officers.
I recently attended the Corrections divisional meeting and was given the opportunity to speak to the delegates and give them a petition that I hope you will sign.
I believe that this goal can be attained and would also be in the employerís best interest. A correctional officer with 25 years experience has completed a life sentence, without parole. The government must step up and say SENTENCE SATISFIED. The employer must recognize the abuse these individuals have absorbed in a quarter of a century. The life expectancy of a correctional officer is 56 years. Donít tell me the ministry canít afford it Ė it costs more to keep an inmate in jail than it does to keep a correctional officer there.
This is not a fight only for those approaching retirement; it is just as important for the low seniority employees. Itís your job that will be saved!
I urge you all to join the fight and talk it up in the workplace. If you havenít received a petition, talk to your chief steward. I will endeavor to keep you informed and I hope to tour several institutions and talk to as many of you as I can."
Wages covered for Editorsí Weekend
Local newsletter editors in corrections should know that lost wages are covered for shift workers attending this educational. It's set for Sept. 22 to 24 at the Delta Chelsea in Toronto. Local presidents and known editors should have copies of the application forms and details or click here for information on-line.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Carol Whitehead (ext. 356) at