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Supporting Frontline Staff in Adult Correctional Services

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Supporting Frontline Staff in Adult Correctional Services

Ministry of the Solicitor General

LONDON — Ontario's government is engaging with frontline correctional officers on ways to keep them safe on the job.  

Parliamentary Assistant Belinda Karahalios met with frontline correctional officers today at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre to hear their concerns about staff and inmate safety and provide an update on the government's work to improve Ontario's correctional system. Staff feedback will directly inform the government's plans to better support frontline officers at institutions across the province.

"Nobody understands the challenges facing our correctional system better than the women and men who work inside the walls of our institutions," said Karahalios. "We are meeting directly with staff because their perspectives are essential as we improve conditions and make their jobs safer."

This engagement session is part of the government's plan to reform and modernize Ontario's justice sector and create a system that is more efficient and sustainable, and empowers officers on the front lines. The government is conducting engagements at institutions across the province throughout August and September.

"Our frontline correctional employees do a difficult but vital job, under very challenging conditions," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "For their service and contributions to public safety, we not only thank them, but commit to giving them the additional tools and supports they need to keep themselves and all those in our custody safe." 

Today's meeting was also an opportunity to gather feedback from frontline staff on a number of initiatives already underway to improve security and prevent overdoses at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. Recent government action includes the introduction of a new canine unit, increased random cell searches, a dedicated hospital escort team pilot, increased doctors' hours, the hiring of two new social workers, new drug detection kits and an ion scanner pilot to identify contraband.

"For years, it has been clear that there are a number of issues that need addressing at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre," said Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London. "Our government has already taken numerous measures to improve security and conditions, and today's listening session was a meaningful opportunity to collect further feedback on how we can continue to ensure staff and inmate safety."

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