Queen’s Park – Ontario NDP Community Safety and Correctional Services critic, Taras Natyshak, blasted the Liberal premier for ignoring the ongoing crisis in Ontario corrections.
“Workplace violence is a problem. PTSD from exposures is a problem but, not all correctional staff are covered. The correctional officers and probation and parole officers need resources, not good intentions. They need training and importantly, staffing levels that can actually alleviate these pressures,” said Natyshak. “The Liberals claim they’ve created 1,500 new positions but, as few as 24 full time positions have been created.”
Corrections officers from across the province joined Ontario New Democrats at Queen’s Park today to warn of the mounting crisis corrections officers face. As many as half of all inmates in Ontario corrections facilities suffer from mental health and addictions problems. Just last week, five inmates were admitted to hospital for overdoses in the Niagara region. Despite that, staffing levels remain dangerously low.
“There are eight thousand inmates inside -- many of these on remand -- but there are forty five thousand in the community, on parole. Serious underfunding of probation and parole has meant caseloads of 50 per officer,” said Natyshak.
“Where is the explicit commitment to resources for those working every day in this crisis,” asked Natyshak.