Deputy Premier and OPSEU president to tour EMDC March 4

LONDON, March 3, 2016 /CNW/ - Deputy Premier Deb Matthews and Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), will tour the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC) on Friday, March 4, 2016, to gain a firsthand look at the crisis in corrections that is impacting provincial jails, including the trouble-plagued facility in Ms. Matthews' home city.

Date: Friday March 4, 2016

Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.; media availability to follow at main entrance

Place: Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, 711 Exeter Road, London

"I am pleased that Ms. Matthews has taken up my invitation to tour EMDC," said Thomas. "This jail in particular has been the site of many problems over several years and our tour will afford us the opportunity to identify what its greatest needs are and how they can be fixed."

The tour of EMDC will start at 11:30 a.m. and finish approximately two hours later with a media availability to follow.

Matthews is president of Treasury Board and Thomas said he would use the occasion of Friday's jail tour to urge her to recommend to cabinet an immediate $100 million funding infusion to address the key issues of overcrowding and understaffing. No money in last week's budget was allocated to tackle either issue.

The OPSEU president has toured seven provincial detention and correctional centres since December 2015 to draw attention to the crisis in Ontario's correctional services. Overcrowding and understaffing are the new normal in the province's jails. Other pressing issues include the warehousing of inmates with mental health disabilities and substance abuse issues and, with that, the failure of the provincial government to put into place programs to assist these inmates. Health and safety regulations need improvement and correctional officers are calling for better training, and upgrades to physical infrastructure.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: Greg Hamara, OPSEU Communications, 647-238-9933


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