Ontario Ombudsman – Ontario must crack “code of silence” among correctional officers involved in use of excessive force


Ontario Ombudsman – Ontario must crack “code of silence” among correctional officers involved in use of excessive force.

Ontario’s Ombudsman André Marin made his report on the conduct of Ontario’s correctional officers public today, in which he criticizes the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for permitting, ‘behaviors that have led to the ripe conditions… for bad behaviors to be entrenched”. Foremost in this report was the, ‘code of silence’, that exists within Ontario’s correctional facilities.

Excerpt for the report’s Fact’s and highlights:

Ministry statistics

Provincially-run adult correctional institutions in Ontario: 29
Length of sentences served by provincial inmates: 60-729 days
Total capacity: 8.857 inmates, plus 489 on intermittent (weekend) sentences
Correctional officers: 3,560 (3,265 on active duty)
Inmates admitted in 2011-2012: 71,329
Average daily inmate count that year: 8,802
Inmates flagged that year for: Mental health issues – 14,000 (approx.); gang affiliations – 2,860
Inmate-on-inmate assaults reported 2011-2012: 3,035
Correctional staff trained under new program for dealing with inmates with special needs and mental health issues: 134 (about 3% of frontline staff)
Cases reviewed as result of Ombudsman inquiries, 2010-2011: 2,800
Total reported incidents of use of force, August 2011-April 2012: 766
Allegations of excessive use of force investigated 2010-2013: 55
Findings of excessive use of force in those cases: 26
Staff disciplined as a result: 108
Staff dismissed as part of discipline: 31 (including 5 managers)
Dismissed staff charged criminally: 4  Charged staff convicted to date: 1
Complaints to Ministry by staff of threats from colleagues since 2010: 4
Reports by correction officers to WSIB of assault by inmates, 2011-2012: 191

Institutions mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report
Brockville Jail
Central East Correctional Centre
Central North Correction Centre
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre
Maplehurst Correction Complex
Niagara Detention Centre
North Bay Jail
Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre
Sarnia Jail
Toronto Jail
Toronto East Detention Centre
Toronto West Denetion Centre
Vanier Centre for Women

Ontario Court of Justice

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario

Providing fair and accessible dispute resolution

From Yodit Edemariam, Staff Lawyer, Rexdale Community Legal Clinic…

Social Justice Tribunals Ontario have drafted a set of Common Rules which will govern the work of the SJTO. The Common Rules are intended to provide a consistent framework of procedures that will continue to evolve.

SJTO has now released draft versions of the Common Rules, the consequential amendments to the specific individual tribunal rules, and related new and revised practice directions for review and comment by members of the community; consultation from the public.

The deadline for feedback is June 15, 2013.