'Save Our Jails' campaign sweeps through Queen's Park

TORONTO, May 9 /CNW/ - More than two dozen MPPs and political aides attended a breakfast briefing at Queen's Park today where they were told by OPSEU corrections officers that proposed jail closings in Owen Sound, Walkerton and Sarnia are unnecessary and will take good jobs from those communities.

Hosted by members of OPSEU's 'Save Our Jails' campaign, the briefing provided a timely opportunity to explain how the closures will harm the economies of local communities by eliminating well-paying local jobs and transferring them elsewhere.

And, contrary to the government's position that the closures will be "cost effective," the corrections officers told the MPPs that, in fact, the transfer of inmates to Penetanguishe (from Walkerton and Owen Sound) will actually increase costs because of greater travel distances.

"No matter how you cut it, this was a bad decision made for all the wrong reasons," said Gerry Hope, president of Local 225 representing corrections officers in Walkerton. "The government should stop the closures pending a full review of its decision."

Correctional facilities in Walkerton and Owen Sound could close as soon as Aug. 31. Sarnia is scheduled to close in 2013. In addition, a 200-inmate wing at West Toronto Detention Centre is scheduled to shut down in 2012 with staff being transferred to Windsor.

Corrections officers are calling for a review in which all groups, including frontline workers, community support organizers, police and probation officers and representatives of the local community justice system, can examine alternatives to shutting down the facilities.

MPPs from all parties, including Liberal cabinet ministers Kathleen Wynn and John Garretsen, attended the breakfast briefing which was held in the Legislative dining room at Queen's Park.

Neither Carol Mitchell, MPP for Huron-Bruce, or Bill Murdoch, MPP, for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, nor representatives from their offices, attended today's briefing.

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information:

Gerry Hope

OPSEU Local 225




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