Time running out to fix problems at youth superjail

BRAMPTON, ON, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - Staff working in Ontario's newest facility for young offenders warn that immediate steps need to be taken to address escalating problems at Roy McMurtry Youth Centre, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

Ongoing staff shortages and lack of security provisions at the youth "superjail" have resulted in an alarming rise in youth on youth assaults and incidents of youths threatening/assaulting staff. This is unnecessary and unacceptable, says Bruce England, President of Local 290 at the facility.

"Not only are we understaffed, officers are off injured, or off on stress leave because of the intolerable conditions here," England said. "We need better security and proper training to deal with youths who can be extremely violent."

While the Ministry of Children and Youth Services are beginning to assess the problems at Roy McMurtry, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas urges officials to get problems addressed quickly before more of his members are injured.

"The problems at McMurtry must be dealt with quickly," Thomas said. "While we support the Ministry's vision of rehabilitating these youths, it must be done with proper staffing in an environment that is as safe as possible for everyone. Failing that, it is only a matter of time before a tragedy occurs in this jail...a tragedy that is completely avoidable."

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: For further information: Don Ford, OPSEU Communications, (416) 448-7442

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