Union calls out province after jail riot sends officer to hospital

NORTH BAY, Ont. – Following an Aug. 12 riot at the North Bay Jail, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is demanding that the province’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services take immediate action to protect both inmates and employees from violence. According to a press release from the union, the riot began early that evening and lasted about nine hours, during which a correctional officer was attacked with human excrement and had to be sent to the hospital. There was also extensive damage to one of the units, as well as broken windows in areas where inmates are not permitted access. OPSEU stated in the release that the Ministry needs to spend more to treat inmates’ mental-health issues and replace older correctional facilities like the North Bay Jail, which dates from the 1930s, in order to prevent similar incidents. “What took place at the jail is the result of the lack of attention to inmates with mental-health problems,” OPSEU Local 616 president Steven White said in a media statement. “They should be receiving separate treatment, but we have only four segregation cells because the building is so old.” The union cited another incident in Thunder Bay in Dec. 2015, when a prison riot hospitalized several correctional officers and forced others to undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Leave a Reply