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Nicholls Addresses Crisis in Corrections

December 10, 2015

(QUEENS PARK) Today Corrections, Probation, and Parole officers from across the province flooded Queens Park in a sea of blue. MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Essex) extended an open invitation for all Correctional staff to join him at Queens Park for question period. Over 175 officers from correctional facilities across the province responded to the invitation and packed the public galleries.

Nicholls said in his address to the attendees afterwards, “Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their schedule to join me at Queens Park. It is my honour to represent you as Critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services. Hopefully, we were able to draw the necessary attention needed to force the Minister to acknowledge and end the chaos that is happening in correctional institutions across this province.”

Recent tragedies, such as the hostage taking of a correctional officer in Thunder Bay and the two separate fire incidents at the Toronto East and Toronto South Detention Centres, are proof that the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has failed to act in the best interests of front-line staff. Chronic understaffing and insufficient supports have led to this crisis in corrections.

Nicholls went on to say, “The Ministry has become disconnected from the harsh realities faced by correctional staff in this province. This became evident when officers from across Ontario demonstrated their displeasure with the latest contract offering by rejecting it with a resounding 67% vote.”

Nicholls reminded the Minister that actions speak louder than words. He cited if you truly respected them than you would not endanger them. He concluded by stating, “Correctional officers risk their own lives in many cases by dealing with the worst of the worst offenders, action is needed now.”