Improving Health Care Delivery in Corrections
TORONTO — Today, Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, reaffirmed the government's commitment to work with health care experts and correctional staff to improve the quality of health care for inmates in Ontario's adult correctional facilities.
To kick off this year's Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee conference, Solicitor General Jones spoke to a cross-section of professionals from the human services and justice sectors about some of the ministry's priorities, such as cross-sector collaboration, community safety and well-being, and improving service integration.
"Improving the corrections system is one of my main priorities, and to achieve that my ministry has created a Corporate Health Care and Wellness Branch to provide strategic oversight and health care knowledge expertise within correctional services, and to centralize all health-related roles and responsibilities for adult correctional facilities," said Solicitor General Jones. "Over the summer, Parliamentary Assistant Belinda Karahalios travelled across the province to hear directly from health care staff and correctional officers about the unique challenges they face and how the ministry can continue to work with them to improve health care delivery within adult correctional facilities."
In addition to creating this new branch, the ministry has also announced direct support for corrections staff to address operational stress injuries and other mental health challenges, developed a framework to help improve police-hospital transition protocols, and conducted a series of tours to hear directly from correctional officers how to better protect them on the job.
Other recent government action in corrections includes:
- Hiring 22 new correctional officer graduates and celebrating the graduation of 33 probation and parole officersto increase public safety and help improve our correctional system
- Improving safety and increasing security by adding capacity to the Institutional Crisis Intervention Teams in the province's Northern adult correctional institutions
- Committing to build a new, modern correctional complex in Thunder Bay
- Expanding the female unit at Monteith Correctional Complex
- Having a dedicated canine unit at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre
- Increasing safety at the Kenora Jail by upgrading infrastructure and strengthening partnerships between corrections staff and police services
"It's wonderful the Ministry of the Solicitor General has created a new Corporate Health Care and Wellness Branch. Centralizing all health-related roles and responsibilities under one branch is a great step forward to ensuring the care provided to adults in correctional custody is co-ordinated with the care that's provided in the community." - Sara Dias, Provincial HSJCC Co-Chair.
"The provincial Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee was pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Ministry of the Solicitor General, Ministry of Health, Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario Division, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and Ontario Hospital Association to develop Ontario's Police-Hospital Transition Framework and Toolkit. This valuable resource is supporting people across the province experiencing mental health and substance use-related crisis situations." - Katie Almond, Provincial HSJCC Co-Chair
"We know every week in Canada at least 500,000 people don't go to work due to a mental health issue. Across the human services and justice sectors, we're seeing an increase in burnout and operational stress injuries, especially among our police officers, corrections officers and probation and parole officers. I commend Solicitor General Jones and her ministry for placing an important focus on promoting mental health in the workplace." - Camille Quenneville, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario