Is that your final answer?
Recidivism on the rise thanks to
Perhaps Corrections Minister Rob Sampson needs to brush up on his math
Our illustrious leader seems to be having a bit of a hard time keeping
track of what Ontarioís actual recidivism rate is. We canít really
blame him. After all, the Ministry of Corrections has absolutely no idea
what the figures are. Of course, this in no way prevents Sampson from
spewing out numbers that seem to change on a daily basis.
Sampson came under fire again this week when Liberal Leader Dalton
McGuinty began hammering away at him during Question Period. "When I
traveled the province this summer, I had the opportunity to speak with
many Ontarians on many topics," McGuinty said. "One of the
recurring issues was your plan to privatize jails. Police told me that
theyíre against it. Communities, which might serve as hosts for these
private jails, told me they were against it. People who work in our
correctional services told me they were against this plan. Victims of
violence told me they were against this plan. So can you tell me,
Minister, why it is that you are insisting on proceeding with a plan which
experience has shown will be dangerous to the Ontario public?"
When Sampson went through his canned response about trying to fix the
system, McGuinty continued the attack. "The international experience
tells us that publicly owned and operated jails are considerably safer
than privately run jails," McGuinty said. "Thatís the
experience. The jury is in. We donít need to conduct a dangerous
experiment here in Ontario."
Undaunted (or unconscious, it was hard to tell), Sampson again began
the "weíre going to do it better" dance. However, according to
Sampson, the recidivism rate is now up to 80 per cent in Ontario.
Hmm, letís see.
When Sampson started on the recidivism topic, the rate was 60 per cent.
Sampson was quoted in the press less than a month ago stating that the
recidivism rate was 70 per cent. And now itís 80. So hereís the
question. Are your numbers wrong, Rob, or are recidivism rates actually
increasing under your dazzling leadership?
It must be tough for our poor Minister to try to keep things straight,
considering that he is basing his entire privatization strategy on
non-existent recidivism rates. At the rate Sampson is going, Ontarioís
recidivism rates should be 110 per cent by the end of the year. That means
offenders will have to bring their children to jail with them.
Have you got enough room at the superjails for daycare, Rob?
Systemic Change Programme finally arrives
It took five years and a lot of work, but the Ministry of Correctional
Services Systemic Change Programme is now a reality.
The programme, designed to safeguard the human rights and dignity of
all staff, was a joint effort between the Ministry and OPSEU in response
to the Memorandum of Settlement arising from the OíBrien grievance in
The programme recognizes that the Ministry and OPSEU share a
responsibility to ensure that all worksites are free from all forms of
discrimination and harassment. It is wide-ranging in scope, and deals with
the key issues of accountability, dispute resolution, staffing practices,
training, wellness, communication and ongoing evaluation.
Although some significant issues are still being worked on or
litigated, employees should have a copy of the new policy in their hands
Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Corrections Ministry Employee
Relations Committee (MERC), praised the efforts of those involved.
"The MERC is 100 per cent supportive of improvement in the
workplace," Scanlon said. "We see this initiative as an avenue
to make positive changes."
Resolutions pouring in
Like opening a floodgate, municipal council resolutions opposing jail
privatization keep pouring in.
This week, 10 more councils have added their names to the growing list.
The City of St. Thomas is now on the list thanks to Rick Prestage of
Local 108 (EMDC). Local 252 (Niagara D.C.) president Blaine Warden brought
in the Township of Wainfleet, the Township of West Lincoln, the City of
Port Colborne, the City of Thorold and the City of Welland. And our
Resolution Warrior Len Mason from Local 737 (Thunder Bay Jail) snagged the
Township of Euphrasia (near Meaford), the Township of South Frontenac
(north of Kingston), the Town of Wasaga Beach and the Town of Orangeville.
Incidentally, Orangeville had initially tabled the resolution, but Lenís
persistence paid off.
That brings the total to 110. Amazing work, people!
Donít forget Penetanguishene!
The Penetanguishene mega-rally against corrections privatization takes
place on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Guest speakers will
include federal MP Paul Devilliers, former Ontario Federation of Labour
president Gord Wilson, Corrections Critics Peter Kormos (NDP) and David
Levac (Liberal), as well as representatives from the John Howard and
Elizabeth Fry Societies.
We ask that EVERY member who has the day off attend this very important
event. It is time to return some of the outstanding support we have been
shown by this community.
Sudbury demo goes today
The anti-privatization demonstration at the Sudbury Jail is taking
place as we go to print. Watch for next weekís Lock Talk for
details on the event.
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Carol Whitehead
(ext. 356) at
1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888. e-mail: email@example.com
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.
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