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Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)
Jul 6, 2019
Canada pension fund quietly divests from US migrant detention firms

CPPIB pulls investments in CoreCivic and Geo Group

Unannounced move follows Guardian report on holdings

One of Canada’s biggest pension funds has quietly divested from two private prison operators responsible for the detention of thousands of migrants along the US-Mexico border. Late last year, the Guardian reported that the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) held nearly US$8m in stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, which between them hold the lion’s share of contracts to manage Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention facilities in the US. The CPPIB, which manages C$392bn (US$299m) in pension funds on behalf of 20 million Canadians, did not make a public statement when it dropped the two companies from its list of foreign public equity holdings, but the change was spotted this week by the federal MP Charlie Angus, a member of the opposition New Democratic party. On Friday, he called on the CPPIB to publicly acknowledge the divestment and take a position on ethical investing. “Ethical investments are essential to maintaining public confidence in what the Canadian Pension Plan does, and the investments in Geo Group and CoreCivic were deeply offensive to Canadian values,” he told the Guardian. “It’s a crock to say the market should be blind and we’ll go where we can make the easiest money. I mean, there’s all kinds of places to make easy money.” The NDP has tabled a bill, C-431, asking that the pension board abide by greater ethical standards. Angus believes public pressure convinced the CPPIB to drop its holdings. After the US migrant crisis began, advocacy groups SumOfUs and LeadNow collected more than 55,000 signatures on petitions calling for the CPPIB to drop Geo Group and CoreCivic from its investment portfolio. Activists also attended public CPPIB meetings to demand divestment. “It’s an amazing testament to [our] members and the power of people to come together and make real change and say, ‘We don’t want our pensions funding Trump’s anti-immigration policies,’” said Amelia Meister, senior campaigner at SumOfUs. The CPPIB declined to comment.

Central North Correctional Centre
Penentanguishene, Canada
(formerly run by Management and Training Corporation)

November 8, 2006 The Mirror
About 90 per cent of jail employees will continue on at Central North Correctional Centre when the jail moves from private to public, this week, and provincial officials say that will ensure a smooth transition. "We've got a lot of experience in the institution that we're going to be keeping. So, when it comes down to the actual transition, it's going to be largely handing over files and inventory and also switching over to ministry operating procedures," said Stuart McGetrick, senior communications coordinator for the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services. "Since we've got the staff and the management already in place, largely, it's going to be a fairly straight forward process to transfer a public operation." Ministry officials have been at CNCC all week to prepare for the transition on Nov. 9. Staff have been briefed in the processes and procedures of public sector jails but McGetrick admits that doesn't mean there will be a complete switch this week. He does, however, credit Management and Training Corporation and the union for their assistance. "We're very fortunate that we've had excellent cooperation from MTCC and OPSEU in the lead up to the transition," he said. "We really anticipate a very smooth transition process."

September 27, 2006 NUPGE CA
The staff at the only private adult jail in Canada will be public employees again in November, ending a failed five-year privatization experiment launched by the Conservative government of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has reached an agreement with the province on the procedures to make the transfer when the contract given by the Tories to Utah-based Management & Training Corporation (MTC) to operate the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene expires. OPSEU President Leah Casselman said that she is pleased that an agreement has been reached and hopes that the transition will be a smooth one. “Our first concern was always the members currently working at the facility,” Casselman said. “There is still work to be done, but the major transition issues have fortunately been dealt with.”

August 25, 2006 The Mirror
Not enough staff at Central North Correctional Centre led to the murder of inmate Minh Tu on May 5, 2004, charges a Penetanguishene woman. Richard Quansah was found guilty of first-degree murder and recently sentenced to life in prison without parole for 25 years for killing Minh Tu, after an argument over a board game while the two were inmates at the Penetanguishene prison operated by Management and Training Corporation (MTC). Sharon Dion, chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons, told The Mirror she is surprised more violence has not occurred at the privately-operated jail because of ongoing problems and lack of staff to deal with them properly. Dion is known locally and internationally for her knowledge about privatized prisons, and has lent her expertise to the Ontario government, as well as correctional organizations throughout Canada and the United States. She says she was contacted by several upset correctional officers after the May 2004 stabbing who told her that a CO was given a note from an inmate that said there was a knife in the unit and a 'killing' would take place. However, a lockdown and search failed to locate the weapon so inmates were allowed out of their cells. Tu was murdered soon after. "Management was warned that this was going to happen," said Dion. "They shouldn't have allowed inmates to come out of their cells until something was found or more investigation was done. And, of course, because of the outcome, that proves the theory."

July 26, 2006 Midland Free Press
There is one Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) employee guaranteed a job once the province takes over operations. Facility administrator Phill Clough has accepted employment with the ministry, beginning Nov. 10. Ministry spokesperson Stuart McGetrick and CNCC confirmed the offer and acceptance to The Mirror. Meanwhile, negotiations have begun between the province and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) for correctional officers at Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) to keep their jobs when the province takes over the operation of the facility. Senior officials from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services met with OPSEU's Ministry Employee Relations Committee (MERC) team to discuss the future of more than 200 correctional officers at the jail. The meeting took place on July 17 and lasted for a good part of the day. According to OPSEU spokesperson Don Ford, the initial meeting was simply to lay out each side's priorities for further talks. "First of all, (our) priority one is to make sure that the people who are currently working at the jail continue to work at the jail after the transition," he told The Mirror. "From that point forward, we would also look for whatever seniority they've accumulated under the private employer to also continue on to the ministry." Community Safety & Correctional Services Minister, Monte Kwinter announced in April that the privately-run jail will be transferred into the public sector when the contract with Utah-based Management & Training Corporation is up on Nov. 10. To date, employees have not been told of their fate. When he made the announcement, Kwinter told The Mirror that the province would work with MTC to make the transition as seamless as possible. He also said there would be more job opportunities once the jail is in the public fold. "We need personnel to run that facility and we're going to have an increase in personnel because we're going to staff it up to the level that we do in (Lindsay)," he said. "So, what is going to happen, obviously, there will be opportunities for more jobs." Although Ford spoke to The Mirror, he cautioned that OPSEU will not report on the progress of the meetings with the employer. "We are treating this no differently than we treat bargaining," he said. "We're meeting with the employer and we're not going to give a status update on those talks, other than to say, 'We're talking.'"

May 24, 2006 Midland Free Press
Small and quiet, with dark hair and eyes, eight-year-old Sharon Desjardins never asked for much. What she wanted, she worked hard to get - and she wanted that baby squirrel more than anything. A boy in her class had raided its nest and was showing off the tiny black rodent in the schoolyard. The young girl was known for stepping in and protecting weaker students when they were being picked on, because it was the right thing to do. This was another one of the poor souls she was out to save. She promised him a dollar if she could have it. It was the mid-60s and a dollar was hard to come by. Desjardins begged and borrowed what she could, counting up her pennies and pleading with her mom to part with spare change until she had enough to save the pet she would later name 'Chipper.' She lets out a hearty laugh as she tells the story. "It was house trained, I'm not kidding you. I have pictures of it sitting on our hands, on our shoulders ... It would scratch to get in the door and scratch to get out to the bathroom," she said. "My mother was wonderful; she let me have pretty well any animal that I wanted." More than 40 years later, Desjardins' married name is Dion and Chipper is long gone; but there is still a small bowl of shelled peanuts sitting on her kitchen counter. If there is anyone with the patience and tenacity to train a squirrel, it's this woman who has fought tirelessly to see Canada's first and only privatized adult jail brought into public hands. Her kitchen is larger and brighter than the one in the small Water Street house in Penetanguishene that she grew up in, as the youngest of three children to Bernice and Gordon Desjardins. That house, full of troubled memories of an alcoholic father and a childhood spent in poverty, is markedly different than the stylish and welcoming home she has created for herself and her family. Some of the happiest times of Dion's life have been in this room, with family and friends gathered on barstools, comfortable leather furniture or around the large dining room table. This is what means the most to her, she confides, looking around the room at framed pictures of herself and her husband of 30 years, Ray, their two children and grandchildren. Her posture is relaxed, her smile warm and her brown eyes have lost their intense look of defiance that marked seven long years of battling the provincial government and corporate America. It's over; Central North Correctional Centre is going back into the public fold. While it looks like she can rest in Canada - for now, at least - she has accepted several invitations to speak throughout the U.S. She admits the last several days since she received the call from Queen's Park that the province would not renew its contract with Utah-based Management and Training Corporation have been emotionally exhausting. "It's elation ... something I just can't explain and at times I'm afraid I'm going to fall when it's done ... Of course you don't do it for the accolades, but I guess it just feels so good and I'm just so pleased that the right decision was made by the Liberal government." Though she admits, sometimes, even family took a backseat to the fight. "My convictions were so strong that I couldn't let anyone away with the nonsense that was happening," she said. The scrappy Metis woman has been called tenacious, a defender of the defenceless, passionate, and some names that aren't exactly flattering by those who oppose her. But by all accounts, she brushes off these labels. She says she is simply a woman who cares about the small community she was born and raised in, and the people who live there. She flashes a wide smile showing off straight, polished teeth surrounded by her trademark pink lips, and is unapologetic when she explains why she continues standing up for what she believes is right. "What I would like to see is money spent on social programs. Getting children in high-risk families help so they don't go through that revolving door. Prison privatization will just enhance that because that's what they want; that's how they make money. I just couldn't stand for our Canadian standards and values to be harmed in that way." She credits her tough childhood for making her survivor. "I guess I've always stood up for myself and I guess that's the one credit I can give to my father; that life made me want to survive. Nothing's been given to me. "So, I go for what I feel I want to have. It's a good thing," she says, adding, "I look at my (past) life as a positive not something negative." Beyond the back gate of her yard is Fuller Avenue, a road that has gotten much busier in the past seven years; a road that leads to Canada's first-ever private prison - a five-year pilot project of the former Conservative government that failed. When the leaves have fallen from her neighbours' trees that shroud her backyard, Dion can see the edge of the prison property from her kitchen window. She has never been against CNCC's location or the jobs it brought to Penetanguishene. Ray is a psychiatric nurse at Oak Ridge, Ontario's only maximum-security forensic program located at the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene, right beside the prison, and she knows having incarcerated people in local facilities can work. The fight against privatization took her to the United States, where she is a member of the Private Corrections Institute, to Queen's Park, where she passed on information she had about private prisons and Management and Training Corporation, and to countless meetings and rallies where she eloquently spoke about prison privatization. "What I love about Sharon is she always comes prepared," Liberal MPP Dave Levac recently told The Mirror. "She's factual. She's not emotional about it. She brings passion to the situation, but I have to tell you that she's probably one of the most prepared people I've ever dealt with and worked with." At times, feeling left out of the evaluation process between Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay and CNCC, she didn't stop calling politicians until she was heard. Towards the end of the process, they even started calling her. The last four-and-a-half years that the jail has been open have been marked by inmate deaths (Jeffrey Elliott and Lorne Thaw), stabbings, beatings of inmates and correctional officers, low staffing levels, and numerous security issues, she says. Although it's acknowledged that these incidents also happen in publicly-run jails throughout Ontario, Dion didn't want to accept it as the status quo. She continually asked the ministry tough questions and worked hard to keep the issues in the public eye. It wasn't always easy, but she admits to only a handful of times when she felt like it was a lost cause. There were even times, she confides, to feeling like she was in over her head, as a woman from small-town Ontario. Those thoughts never lasted long. "Of course I felt that way, but because of the knowledge that I had, I had the courage to do what I'm doing," she says, drawing herself up higher on the sofa. "It's the truth. I don't get paid for this. I'm not making it up because I have documentation and that's the power. It's simple. Anybody else could have done it." But no one else took the lead. Dion was one person amongst dozens at a public meeting in 1996. At the time, the Conservative government hadn't even decided that Penetanguishene would host one of two 'super jails' the province was proposing, but a rumour about privatization was brought up. Dion didn't know anything about prison privatization and began to research the issue. What she discovered she didn't like. It pushed her to dig deeper and talk to more people in the United States that had experience in the private prison system. In 1999, when the government announced Penetanguishene's jail would be run by a private company, she began her crusade against privatization and started Citizens Against Private Prisons. "I have extremely strong convictions, when I know the issue and I've taken the time to educate myself on them. There's no way I would ever let anyone tell me different, because I know the truth," she says, her voice indignant. "Every time I would ask questions of the past government, I would basically know the answer and I'd know I was lied to and that just (gave) me more determination." Although she has often been at the forefront of the cause, she notes that there were always people she could count on to help, specifically her mother and Ray, Midland resident Dawn Marie Horn, friends and colleagues at the Private Corrections Institute, members of OPSEU and Brant MPP Levac. Of course, there were also the employees who had the courage to speak to her. Although she was sometimes a sounding board for inmates and their families, she has never professed to be an inmate advocate. When would she find the time? When she wasn't writing letters, organizing rallies or public forums and publicly speaking against privatization, Dion operated her own used clothing business (she has since retired), volunteers in Aboriginal Services at the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene and is a competitive a capella four-part harmony singer with the Barrie Chorus, where she is also the assistant director. Two years ago, she also completed five university credits towards a degree in Aboriginal Education. Still, she took countless calls from inmates, wives and hysterical mothers with sons inside the walls of CNCC, and helped the father of Jeffery Elliott - the inmate who died in hospital in 2003, after receiving a cut to his left ring finger while at CNCC - throughout the inquest into his horrific death. They will not forget what she has done, nor will some employees at CNCC who disagreed with the way the prison was operated. Her phone has been ringing incessantly since April 27, when the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced the jail would be publicly run as of Nov. 10. Many CNCC employees, politicians, residents and union officials have left messages - among them, a heartfelt message from a former inmate, thanking her for her unwavering determination and for giving a voice to inmates like him. She can't seem to erase this one. As she re-plays the emotional recording, her eyes tear up. Then she smiles. It's a very good day.

May 3, 2006 The Mirror
Opponents of private prisons throughout the world are heralding the provincial Liberal government's decision to bring Central North Correctional Centre into the public fold. "This is a very large victory, not only in Canada, but across the world," said Brian Dawe, executive director of Corrections USA, a non-profit coalition of corrections professionals from Canada and the U.S. "This is the very first time, anywhere in the world, that any governmental agency has undertaken an actual apples-to-apples comparison of the two public and private prisons. No one has ever, anywhere else, designed two identical prisons for the sole purpose of determining whether or not the private industry should be involved in corrections or it should remain a public function." The Liberal government announced its decision to transfer the operation from the Utah-based Management and Training Corporation to the public sector on April 27, after a five-year study compared the privately-run prison with its publicly-run twin in Lindsay, Central East Correctional Centre. During that time, Dawe said a world spotlight has been on Penetanguishene. He noted this precedent-setting move will catch the attention of governments in the rest of Canada, the U.S., and beyond. Dawe gives a lot of credit to Penetanguishene resident Sharon Dion, who has been fighting privatization of the jail since 1999, when the former Conservative government under Mike Harris announced CNCC could be privatized. "She deserves an incredible amount of credit for her dogged perseverance on behalf of all of the people in, not only her neck of the woods, but across Canada and around the world," he said.

April 28, 2006 The Mirror
Canada's only privately-operated jail will return to the public sector in the fall. Although cost was a factor in the decision of whether or not to keep Penetanguishene's prison privately run, in the end, lower costs offered through Management & Training Corporation (MTC) of Utah wasn't enough to maintain its role as the operator of the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister, Monte Kwinter announced yesterday that the jail will be transferred into the public sector when the contract expires Nov. 10, 2006. "Our concern was to make sure we were providing a facility that was adequately looking after the people that we have responsibility for, the inmates, that we make sure their health-care provisions are provided for; that we make sure their recidivism rates (are minimized)," Kwinter said in a telephone interview with The Mirror shortly after the decision was announced. "We want to make sure that there is integration back into the community and there is adequate facilities to do that, and adequate personnel resources to do that," he said. "When we took a look at it, we just found we were getting better results (at Central East Correctional Centre). Mind you, it's going to cost us more money - but everything is a trade off. Overall, we felt the citizens of Ontario would be better served with this facility being back in public hands." Although the decision is disappointing for MTC, public relations director Peter Mount says the private operator will continue to work with the ministry. "We're going to work and continue to work very closely with our partners at the ministry, especially during this transition period," Mount said. "Our responsibility is and always will be the safety of the public, the staff and the inmates. That's going to continue during the transitional period." For local resident Sharon Dion, who has campaigned against the privatization of the prison since it was announced in 1999, the decision came as a welcomed surprise. "It's such a triumphant day for Canada," said Dion, who received a call from Queen's Park shortly after the decision was made. "I'm really praising the Liberal government for making the right decision."

April 28, 2006 Midland Free Press
Canada’s first privately operated adult prison is being turned over to the province. Central North Correctional Centre, which opened in 2001 and has been run by Management and Training Corporation since, will be operated by the provincial government, effective Nov. 10, 2006, when MTC's five-year contract expires. The Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections made the announcement Thursday after completing a report comparing CNCC with its physical twin in Kawartha Lakes, which is publicly run. A decision on the prison's future was needed six months prior to the current contract expiring. "On just a cost basis the (private operation) was more economical," corrections minister Monte Kwinter told Osprey News Thursday afternoon, "but that reflected on the outcome. "Management and Training Corporation was in material compliance with the (existing) contract, but there's no question that health care was delivered better at the Kawartha Lakes facility and that integration was better at the Kawartha Lakes facility," Kwinter said. "We have a responsibility to make sure we provide adequate resources, and while there's no question there were some benefits from this exercise that we could learn from," he said. "The evidence clearly indicates that the public facility produced better results." The province opened CNCC under a private-public partnership after a Conservative overhaul of Ontario's prison system in the 1990s. CECC opened soon after with the idea of comparing the facilities based on cost effectiveness and performance. Price Waterhouse Coopers, a consulting firm, conducted a comparison review on CNCC and CECC for the province over an extended timeframe. Part of that review shows the public prison rated higher than CNCC in eight of 10 performance categories, including security and community impact. CNCC spokesperson Peter Mount said he was surprised by the decision of the government not to renew the company's contract and called it “disappointing." “We will begin the process of talking to staff right away,” said Mount, adding the U.S.-based company intends to continue working with the province until its contract expires. "We have a responsibility and we will continue to live up to that responsibility," he said. "We will work closely with the government to ensure safety is looked after." Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop, who has been a proponent of the private jail and who's also the Conservative corrections critic, wasn’t thrilled by Thursday's announcement. “The Liberals are in power and they have the ability to do this," he said. "I’m going to live with the decision, but I just hope they’ll provide us with the numbers.” In September of 2004, Dunlop estimated that having the jail run by a private operator saved taxpayers more than $20 million annually, according to financial figures he had seen at the time. "I think there was a substantial savings there. I'd like them to show me in black and white, without fudging the numbers, what it actually was," he said. "That should be something that's available. What's to hide?" For Penetanguishene resident Sharon Dion, an opponent of privatized prisons, was pleased by the government's decision to go public. "It's an enormous victory. I couldn't be more pleased. It's a great day for all Canadians," said Dion, of Citizens Against Privatized Prisons. "I was a little concerned at times about this review, but I think the consultation was done in an honest manner on the government's part." Kwinter said details still need to be ironed out, but the province plans to provide 91 additional staff at the Penetanguishene prison when it takes over in November.

April 27, 2006 The Star
Canada's only privately run jail is going public again. Ontario Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter says an analysis of the Penetanguishene prison showed it was saving the province money under private operation. But Kwinter says there was a human cost. He says health-care services weren't as good for prisoners, and offenders were more likely to repeat. Kwinter says it will cost the province $2 million more per year to run the 1,200-bed prison. The jail, north of Toronto, went private under Ontario's previous Conservative government.

April 27, 2006 Government of Ontario
Ontario will transfer the operation of the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene to the public sector, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Monte Kwinter announced today. "After five years, there has been no appreciable benefit from the private operation of the Central North Correctional Centre," said Kwinter. "We carefully studied its overall performance compared with the publicly operated Central East Correctional Centre in Kawartha Lakes, and concluded the CECC performed better in key areas such as security, health care and reducing re-offending rates. As a result, the government will allow the contract with the private operator to expire." Management and Training Corporation Canada (MTCC) was chosen to operate the Central North Correctional Centre in May 2001 as part of a five-year pilot project. During that period, the Central East Correctional Centre - which is identical in design - opened as a publicly operated facility. The pilot project was to determine if there was any advantage to private operations of correctional services in Ontario. "We acknowledge that MTCC was in material compliance with the contract," said Kwinter, "but the evidence clearly indicates that the public facility produced better results in key performance areas." The contract with MTCC ends on November 10, 2006. Over the next six months, the ministry will work with its partners, including MTCC and bargaining agents, to ensure a safe and smooth transition of CNCC's operations to the Ontario Public Service.

April 21, 2006 The Mirror
Once a staunch supporter of the privatization of the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop now says he is not fighting to keep the jail privately operated, but will accept whatever decision the Liberal government makes in May. "I'm the guy in our caucus that wore the jail and I don't intend to go back into that battle again," he told The Mirror. "If the government decides to keep it private, then I will be fully supportive of the operator and will do whatever I can to help them out. If the government decides to go public, I will work with the public system and do my best." Dunlop says he never felt supported by the provincial Conservatives when they were in power, regarding the privatization of CNCC, but instead felt he was left "carrying the full load" of the decision. "... I can't see myself, once again, fighting very very hard to keep it private when I didn't get a lot of support for privatization in the first place, particularly from my party and even from the community, in a lot of ways," he said. "I think that was fairly clear. I don't think that was any kind of a mystery. No one came up and said that to me, but when privatization was talked about, before the decision was made, I knew if there was a privatized jail, I would get it because I'm the new guy down there. I don't know anybody. That's just the way politics is." The MPP fought hard to garner support for it, against the opposition of most of the Penetanguishene council of the day and members of the community. "I guess I do feel, a little bit to this day, a little let down that I didn't get more support for privatization," said Dunlop, who noted that many people supported the idea to him face to face, but would not go public with their support.

March 10, 2006 The Mirror
Central North Correctional Centre employees worried about their fate met secretly Wednesday night with OPSEU officials. "Rumours have been circulating in the institution that if the public service takes over the jail, all of these people are going to be out of work because the public service correctional officers will come in and (take their jobs)," said Don Ford, a spokesperson for the Ontario Public Services Employee Union, who attended the meeting. Between 50 and 70 employees attended the two-hour meeting, organized by members of OPSEU Local 369. Employees are concerned about what will happen to them if the jail is made public, or if the present contract is not renewed. Staffing levels continue to be a concern for correctional officers at CNCC. Pete Wright, president of OPSEU Local 368 at CECC, says the Lindsay prison - Penetanguishene's physical twin except publicly operated - has 245 full-time and 80 part-time (called unclassifieds) COs. According to union representatives at CNCC, Penetanguishene's prison has approximately 210 full-time and 30 part-time correctional officers. "A lot of the questions we got from the members at Central North were operational questions as to how they operate on a daily basis and how we operate," said Wright. "I think they were shocked to hear some of the things that they take for granted that we don't allow at Central East ... I think staffing levels are one of the major concerns." Although Wright says violence is inherent at every jail, it's usually offender on offender. He says Lindsay has not had any murders at its facility (inmate Ming Tu was stabbed to death at CNCC) and no correctional officers have been beaten, unlike the Penetanguishene prison, where a correctional officer was severely beaten in 2003 and another CO was stabbed in the neck by an inmate in 2005.

February 20, 2006 NUPGE
Correctional employees represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) are pressuring Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty to make good on a 2003 election promise to return the Ontario superjail in Penetanguishene to the public sector. A petition, being circulated by the union's ministry employee relations committee (MERC), cites a litany of serious problems within the jail, which has been operated since it opened in 2001 by an American company - Utah-based Management and Training Corporation (MTC). The firm was granted a five-year, $170-million contract to operate the 1,184-bed institution. It is the first privately-run superjail anywhere in Canada. The deal was negotiated, over widespread protests, by the former Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris in 2001. It is due to expire later this year unless renewed by the province. McGuinty pledged when he was elected in October 2003 not to renew the contract. He also declared that "private jails are a failed experiment and have no place in Ontario." OPSEU says problems experienced under MTC management at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene include the following: • a major riot due to lack of food, clothing and medical care, costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs; • the death of a 20-year-old due to lack of proper medical care; • four inmate stabbings, an inmate murder and the beating of correctional officers, over period of months - all caused by insufficient staffing levels; and • the loss of $1.1-million a year in business taxes that the operators have been exempted from paying to the municipality.

February 3, 2006 The Mirror
A former manager at the Central North Correctional Centre says he has major concerns about the well-being of employees and inmates at the jail. Former CNCC Sgt. Martin Speyer, 29, alleges inmates receives a poor diet and medical care, and staff is bullied by senior management inside Canada's only privately-run adult prison. Speyer was fired by Management & Training Corporation (MTC) on Jan. 11, after being on administrative leave since Dec. 20, 2005. In his dismissal letter, the company alleges he was dishonest, he spoke negatively about the institution in public, he negelected his duty; made misleading statements; and was involved in a criminal act or negative behaviour. Speyer refutes the allegations, saying he was, until October 2005, considered a model employee - one who received numerous letters of commendation and gratitude from prison officials, and was even Correctional Officer of the Year during the first year of operation. Speyer says it wasn't until he filed a complaint against another manager in October 2005, and became more outspoken about employee issues that he fell from grace. "They are bullied, absolutely bullied," he says. "They are scared every day. When the staff come in, they are afraid of losing their jobs. The key phrase that is used all the time there is, "I'm one report away from being fired." Medical care is an issue at the jail that has been highlighted in the media since it opened. (Medication) is not done properly, pure and simple," says Speyer. "These guys are not getting the medication they deserve. As a sergeant, I don't know how many times my staff have been in situations where they have encountered violence from an inmate that's acting out because they don't get proper medication. Special dietary needs not being met is also a concern raised by Speyer. Paula King, executive director of Elizabeth Fry in Simcoe County, says the organization has had to advocate for pregnant women whose dietary needs were not being met. "We have had to go to bat for pregnant women who have not received the proper amounts of milk and fresh fruit (as per ministry guidelines)," says King. Speyer first became disenchanted with the organization during the American Correctional Association accreditation process in September 2004, he says. One of the most frequently cited reasons by correctional facilities to seek accreditation is to demonstrate to interested parties that the organization is operating at professional standards. When MTC sought its accreditation, Speyer says he was in charge of making sure the prison looked the way it was supposed to during the process, organizing crews that worked steadily to make it look like the kitchen and bathrooms had been regularly cleaned. "We had crews going through to extra scrub the toilets (with drills that had scrub brushes on the end) so they looked like they were scrubbed on a daily basis, although they hadn't been touched (for a long time)." He says he and others were asked by senior management to take cleaning chemicals, extra tools and extra medical supplies out of the prison to ensure MTC met with ACA standards. A letter dated Dec. 17, 2004 by then-acting facility administrator Phill Clough, thanked Speyer for his 'above and beyond' commitment to the accreditation, but the process was the biggest letdown Speyer had ever felt in his professional life, he says. "It wasn't something that anyone could say that they're proud of but...I believed from day one what it (the accreditation) was supposed to be for. I believed that once we achieved this certain standard that we weren't going to go back to the old ways," he tells The Mirror. "So, when I was taking this stuff out of the institution, I was thinking this is going to be that much better for the staff. Then, once we had the accreditation on the wall, it went back to how it was." Speyer has joined Citizens Against Private Prisons in its fight to have the provincial government not renew MTC's contract, which comes due in the fall of 2006. The government has to make its decision by May.

February 1, 2006 The Mirror
A petition will soon be delivered to Queen's Park asking that Premier Dalton McGuinty publicly promise to not renew the Management and Training Corporation (MTC) contract at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) in Penetanguishene. Sharon Dion, chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons, has created a petition that cites alleged issues at the jail, including lack of food, clothing and medical care, insufficient staffing levels; and MTC's exemption from paying the Town of Penetanguishene business taxes. She expects about 15,000 signatures once the petition becomes available electronically. She plans to give the petition to Brant Liberal MPP Dave Levac - a vocal opponent of private prisons - in March so he can present it in the Ontario Legislature. McGuinty made promise not to renew jail contract at Penetanguishene Council. When then-Opposition leader McGuinty visited Penetanguishene Council with Levac, before the jail was open, he promised that a Liberal government would not renew the contract with Utah-based MTC. "We are trying to draw the attention of the Liberal government so that they keep their promise," Dion said. "That's the ultimate goal." Dion says she has received calls of support from correctional officers at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay and the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton which are publicly-operated. "Also, what's not included in the per diem rate is all of the hidden costs of prison privatization, like ambulance and hospital costs, escorts, and lawsuits that some inmates and their families have against MTC, First Correctional Medical and the Province of Ontario, in the case of Jeffrey Elliott's death."

December 30, 2005 The Free Press
Three of the four people charged in connection with the killing of an inmate in 2004 at Central North Correctional Centre have pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Minh Tu, 28, died the morning of May 5, 2004 at Huronia District Hospital in Midland, two hours after being admitted following an altercation in one of the living units at C.N.C.C. A post-mortem examination determined Tu died as a result of a stab wound. Tu was being held at the superjail on a warrant for extradition to the United States where he had been facing drug charges. He had been at CNCC for about two months prior to his murder.

December 16, 2005 The Mirror
A local woman has taken her fight to Queen's Park to have Central North Correctional Centre publicly operated. Sharon Dion of Citizens Against Private Prisons met with MPP Liz Sandals, parliamentary assistant to Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, on Monday to discuss her concerns about Management and Training Corporation. She also met with Brant MPP Dave Levac in a separate meeting. Levac was the Liberal Opposition Critic for Corrections when the Tories were in power and was a vocal opponent of the privatization of the super jail in Penetanguishene. "My goal was to remind the Liberal party of their promise to end the private prison culture in Ontario," Dion told The Mirror. "I provided Ms. Sandals with paperwork to enlighten her of the patterns and practices of the documented mismanagement of MTC, both here and in the U.S." There is one year left of the province's current five-year contract with MTC but, as per contract stipulations, the government must decide by May 2006 whether to extend the contract for another year; extend the contract up to five years, based on an agreement of financial terms; re-tender the contract; or return the prison to the public service. During the meeting with Sandals, Dion talked about inmate deaths, violence and staff issues at the privately-run facility. "We talked about the inadequate health care that caused the death of Jeffrey Elliot, the stabbings, the murder, riot, staff safety, low staff levels and high staff turnover, and (correctional officer) Dwight Stoneman's brutal beating," she noted. Levac praised Dion for her preparedness. "Sharon has been tenacious as always. What I love about Sharon is she always comes prepared," he said, noting he's hopeful the jail will become publicly operated. "She's factual. She's not emotional about it. She brings passion to the situation but I have to tell you that she's probably one of the most prepared people I've ever dealt with and worked with."

November 16, 2005 The Mirror
The province will have to decide whether or not Management Training Corporation (MTC) is meeting its service contract responsibilities, and if it wants the Utah-based company to continue to run the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), by May. There is one year left of the current, five-year contract but as per contract stipulations, only six months for the government to decide whether to extend the contract for another year; extend the contract up to five years, based on an agreement of financial terms; re-tender the contract; or return the prison to the public service. According to Brian Low, Executive Lead, Alternative Service Delivery with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the contract decision-making process has begun and will continue into the new year. Consultants from Price Waterhouse Coopers will interview people from key groups to ensure the information the government has is accurate. While members of Council, chamber of commerce, board of monitors at the jail, and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be interviewed, members of community groups, like Citizens Against Private Prisons, will not be included. "It's disappointing they're not coming to speak to me because I have been doing private prison research for five years and it's important that this new government knows the character of the company they're working with," said Sharon Dion, chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons. "I have scathing reports about Management and Training Corporation in the United States. This government needs to know there are major problems with MTC in the United States and First Correctional Medical who (also) runs our medical unit." Low says the government already has information from Dion and others who have made their views clear. Dion has been involved in the debate for five years - even before the decision was made to run the jail privately - and remembers a public promise made in 2001 by then-Opposition leader, Dalton McGuinty, when he paid a visit to Penetanguishene Council. "I want to make sure they uphold their promise, that it's going back into public hands (if the Liberals come into power)," she said, noting that she will soon meet with the parliamentary assistant to Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, to discuss her findings, at Queen's Park. When considering whether to extend the MTC contract, Dion wants the government to take into consideration the deaths, violence, and one instance where the wrong inmate was released, over the past four years. But Low cautions that the incidents must be put in perspective.

August 19, 2005 The Mirror
Property taxes topped the list of issues that members of Penetanguishene Council talked about with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services at the AMO Conference this week. Council members want Management and Training Corporation (MTC), the Utah-based company that operates the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), to pay property taxes, estimated at just over $1 million each year. Currently, the town receives payment in lieu of taxes of $75 a bed - similar to what government-run facilities such as hospitals and publicly-run jails pay. "We don't think that's enough," said Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins from the AMO Conference. "We've laid our cards on the table of pursuing what every other business is doing in the province of Ontario. They're not exempt from paying those property taxes. We'd like to see them thrown into the real world with everybody else." While this may be the first time council has officially talked to Monte Kwinter about the issue, it's been an ongoing concern since the provincial Conservative government announced it would seek a private company to operate the jail. Of the approximate $1 million in property taxes, about $660,000 would come to Penetanguishene while the remainder would go to the County of Simcoe. "We tried to explain that if Fuller Avenue needs to be rebuilt because of the traffic that the facility is generating, we don't have that kind of money," said Robbins. "We would like, if it's the choice of the ministry to go with a contract extension (with MTC), that they pay taxes that we could put into reserve for when those roads need to be rebuilt." The possibility of the contract being extended with MTC was also a hot item on the agenda during the 20-minute meeting on Monday. Robbins, along with councillors Dan LaRose, Debbie Levy, Anne Murphy and Doug Leroux, asked that the municipality have a seat at the table when the province compares CNCC with the publicly-run jail in Lindsay and evaluates MTC's performance.

August 17, 2005 Midland Free Press
Correctional officers at the Central North Correctional Centre are still on the job after voting 84 per cent in favour of a new, four-year collective agreement on Friday. According to OPSEU Local 369 bargaining team chairperson, Sean Wilson, the new contract contains "99 per cent" of what the members wanted. "We have an agreement on making sure we have breaks to maintain our sanity in order to work there. Under the Health and Safety Act, we've launched some processes to increase the staffing levels," said Wilson, who couldn't go into further detail.
"Once they enshrine our breaks and stuff in the collective agreement they have no choice but to increase the staffing levels in order to do that."

August 9, 2005 Newswire
Correctional officers employed at Canada's only private adult jail will vote Aug. 12 on a tentative agreement reached today at 9:30 a.m. The bargaining team is recommending that the staff of Central North Correctional Centre, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 369, ratify the agreement. "This is a good deal for our members and we recommend it unanimously," said Sean Wilson, chair of the union bargaining team. Details of the contract will be available after the ratification vote is held. The previous contract expired on Dec. 31, 2004.

August 5, 2005 The Mirror
If there is a strike at the Central North Correctional Centre, members of Penetanguishene Council are satisfied there is a plan in place to deal with it, says Mayor Anita Dubeau. "Council was relatively satisfied that certainly there is a plan in place," Dubeau told The Mirror. "I can't share the details with you, but it did give council a good opportunity to ask the necessary questions and (Management and Training Corporation) answered as best they could." Most of Wednesday night's special meeting was held in camera because staffing levels and security measures were discussed. Council members and some residents have been concerned about how the prison will continue its day-to-day operations safely if some 200 correctional officers walk off the job on Aug. 12. OPSEU has confirmed that they are going back to the mediation table with MTC on Monday, Aug. 8. "Less than 50 MTC managers are available to replace 200 striking correctional officers," Sean Wilson, chairperson of the union bargaining team, said in a press release.

August 3, 2005 The Mirror
A Penetanguishene resident says she believes members of municipal council should be apprised of the procedures and policies that will be involved in securing the Central North Correctional Facility, in the event of a strike by OPSEU correctional officers on Aug. 11. Sharon Dion, the Canadian liaison for The Private Corrections Institute in Florida and chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons, has expressed her concerns about the safety of the community in a letter to council, dated July 26. "There seems to be many unanswered questions regarding who will be securing the facility in the event of a strike. The ministry's office advised me the issue would be dealt with between (Management and Training Corporation) and the union. On the contrary, union representatives have stated that no public service workers will be utilized during a strike," wrote Dion. Although he expresses similar concerns, Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins said he is not sure what council can do. "Sure, we are (concerned about the possible strike)," Robbins told The Mirror, before he had an opportunity to read the letter. "We've been through a few strikes with OPSEU with the mental health centre and it's always a concern. Not knowing the contingency plan heightens that concern. We'll have to see. It's not as if we can send our people up there. What can we do?" But Dion wants assurances the plan will be implemented properly. "I do understand the importance of not making public staffing numbers for security reasons, but due to the fact that this American company does not have other institutions in Canada to draw upon, (it) could jeopardize the safety of our community."

August 3, 2005 The Mirror
It's difficult for Dwight to remember exactly what happened on Dec. 17, 2003, after he was beaten by an inmate at the Central North Correctional Centre. "I just turned slightly with my body to say (to the inmate), 'There's the door,' and when I did, I don't remember anything else for probably three or four minutes," said the correctional officer, hesitating slightly to gather his thoughts - a side effect from the severe beating he received. "During that time, I was taking all kinds of hits to the body and the head. I was basically blacked out but standing up; I hadn't fallen to the ground. There was a point at which I came to. Part of me, almost a primal instinct type of thing, told me to stay up or you're going to die, and I thought I was having a massive heart attack." According to Dwight, that day he was teamed up with a new female correctional officer on her first day of work in Unit 1, while a third officer was pulled off the unit to work elsewhere. Another officer was stationed inside the control pod. While Dwight went into the unit alone to approach the inmate, who would not go into his cell as directed, his partner stayed outside the locked unit, as is correct procedure. But Dwight says there should have been more officers in the unit. "There shouldn't have been just the two of us. There should have been probably four or five and this is the shortcomings of private prisons," said the 57 year old, who was a police officer for 34 years with Toronto Police Service and the OPP before coming to CNCC as a correctional officer. "They've got to economize some way and there's only so many paper clips you can save. The only other area you can cut back on is either meals or the officers on duty." It's incidents like this - and the stabbing of a correctional officer three times in the neck by an inmate several weeks ago - that union officials say prove higher staff levels and tighter security measures need to be in their new collective agreement. The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2004. Correctional officers voted 95 per cent in favour of rejecting an offer by Management and Training Corporation Canada (MTCC), the Utah-based company that operates the private prison. More than 88 per cent of the correctional officers turned out to vote on July 21. Unlike correctional officers in the Ontario Public Service who cannot strike because they are covered by the Crown Employee Collective Bargaining Act, which requires that a negotiated essential services agreement be in place prior to a labour disruption, CNCC officers can go on strike if they do not reach a collective agreement. MTC and its employees are covered under the Labour Relations Act, which has no legislative requirement for an essential services agreement.

August 3, 2005 OPSEU
Correctional officers employed at Canada’s only private adult jail will walk off the job at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 12 if no agreement is reached for a new collective agreement, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). On July 21, members of OPSEU Local 369 voted 95% to reject the last offer made by Utah-based Management and Training Corporation, the company hired by the former Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris to run the institution. OPSEU President Leah Casselman says wage issues have been mostly agreed upon. However, issues such as staffing levels and time off remain outstanding. “Our members are still looking for parity with their public sector counterparts,” Casselman says. “We will not allow this American company to run the jail at standards that are below jails in the rest of the province.” Unlike publicly-operated jails, there is no law requiring members to provide essential services during a strike or lockout. Sean Wilson, chair of the union bargaining team, says this should be a concern for both the jail and the community.
“Less than 50 MTC managers are available to replace 200 striking correctional officers,” Wilson adds. “There aren’t any trained teams available to deal with riots or other disturbances should they arise.”

July 13, 2005 Canada News Wire
Bargaining representatives for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 369 at the Penetanguishene private superjail have recommended that their members vote to reject the final offer tabled by the employer today, July 13. The contract offer affects over 200 correctional staff at the facility. OPSEU members will vote on the employer offer on July 21. A rejection will give the union a strike mandate, and a strike date is expected to be set for mid-August. The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2004. OPSEU President Leah Casselman said that the contract offer doesn't come anywhere close to what her members need in their next collective agreement: Parity with public sector correctional workers.
  Currently, workers at the facility run by Utah-based Management and Training Corporation earn two per cent less per hour than their public sector counterparts and receive fewer benefits and less time off. Sean Wilson, chair of the union bargaining team, says this is unacceptable.

July 8, 2005
JAIL GUARD STABBED - OPP charged an inmate at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene after an attack in a staircase. Police said, on Monday, June 27, a 22-year-old correctional officer was grabbed by an inmate, and stabbed in the neck with a sharpened object. The officer was able to run away and went into a secured area. Another officer was threatened with death before the inmate calmed down. An 18-year-old Brampton man was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assaulting a peace officer, threatening death and breach of probation.

May 27, 2005 Midland Free Press
As a wrongful death suit slowly makes its way through the courts, Tom Elliott believes the privately operated jail in which his son contracted blood poisoning should become a public institution. Elliott's son, Jeffrey, died from blood poisoning in August 2003, after cutting his hand on a food hatch at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene. The 1,184 bed facility is operated by Management and Training Corporation (MTC) of Canada, and it's parent company based in Centerville, Utah. In September, a coroner's inquest ruled the 20-year-old Beachburg man died accidentally. Elliott and his family are seeking $150,000 in damages in a wrongful death suit launched against the Province of Ontario, MTC and First Correctional Medical. Elliott said he is unwilling to negotiate a settlement with the three parties. "It is not a money issue.  I'm not concerned about money," he said. "I will settle for nothing less than a public apology, to let the public know that this wasn't right." "There is no money to be gained out of this," Elliott added. "I want to make the public understand that it could be their son or daughter."

May 20, 2005 Midland Free Press
Central North Correctional Centre was locked down this week after a bullet was found Saturday in a washroom at the jail. The washroom where staff found the bullet was located in the front administration area of the prison. "It's obviously a strange place to find a bullet," said correctional officer Sean Wilson, president of OPSEU Local 369, which represents more than 200 guards. "The one thought is, if there's a bullet, is there a gun?" Guards issued a work refusal Saturday and a Ministry of Labour inspector was summoned. Ministry spokesperson Bruce Skeaff said the first work refusal was aired Saturday morning. That’s when a bullet and razors were found inside the prison, though he was unable to provide a location for where the razors were discovered. The jail was locked down — and remained so at press time — by the employer as the work refusal unfolded. A ministry inspector determined the workers had no right to issue the work refusal and the situation was downgraded to a complaint. A search was ordered, and the inspector advised that staff be instructed and trained by the employer to do such.

May 18, 2005 The Mirror
A bullet and razors were found at the jail in Penetanguishene, but no gun has yet been located. Inmates at the Central North Correctional Center remained in lockdown yesterday as correctional officers searched for a gun believed to be hidden within the jail. On Saturday May 14, a bullet and razors were found in a washroom at the Penetanguishene jail, and correctional officers believed the bullet wouldn't be there without a pistol. Correctional officers asked for the jail to be locked down until the gun was found, but The Mirror was told management refused. "We were called at 11a.m. with a work refusal by 275 correctional officers at the facility," said Bruce Skeaff, ministry of labour spokesperson. "It was a disagreement between the workers and management in regards to the search of the facility."

May 17, 2005 Midland Free Press
Management and Training Corporation jettisoned the word 'acting' before Phill Clough's title earlier this month as he was named the new administrator at Central North Correctional Centre.
Clough had been acting facility administrator since former jail boss Doug Thomson — who'd run the prison since July 2001, four months before CNCC opened its doors to inmates — resigned last November.

March 18, 2005 Midland Free Press
Tom Elliott continues to seek justice for his dead son Jeffrey. A pretrial has been scheduled for the end of April for the $150,000 wrongful death suit launched by the Elliott family against the Province of Ontario, Management and Training Corporation (MTC) of Canada, and First Correctional Medical. The purpose of a pretrial is to bring the parties together to discuss the case and the issues to be presented in court. The lawsuit was filed months before the jury in the Ontario coroner’s inquest ruled in September that Jeffery Elliott died accidentally while at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene. The 20-year-old Beachburg man died from blood poisoning in August 2003, after cutting his hand on a food hatch at the jail operated by MTC, a private company based in Centerville, Utah. Jeffery had less than a month remaining on his one-year robbery sentence when he died. “I still stick by the same thing. It’s not a money issue it’ about principle,” said Mr. Elliott, explaining why he launched the lawsuit. “It was obvious in Jeffery’s case it was a lack of treatment (that caused his death).  It was a tragedy.” Elliott said he would agree to withdraw his lawsuit if the jail was placed in public hands.

February 25, 2005 Midland Free Press
One inmate has his ear ripped off and another was stabbed several times with a three-inch screw nail in separate incidents, Saturday at Central North Correctional Centre, according to prison sources. Sources said the first altercation was prolonged because of a computer failure in the unit which prevented the doors from opening, forcing the crisis team to take the long way around. The first incident, which happened midday, was an inmate-on-inmate fight, and one of the prisoners "had his ear ripped right off," said a correctional officer who requested anonymity. Computer problems have plagued the prison for months and have led to work refusals by guards, citing their safety was compromised. The officer said the recent failure was isolated to one unit, adding staff are becoming increasingly frustrated by door and computer malfunctions. The Free Press recently reported that the ministry had paid for computer upgrades. "The computers being fixed, that's a crock," said the guard. "They give us all kinds of excuses. It's obvious we've got big-time problems." The second incident happened Saturday evening when about 32 inmates were being escorted from the chapel back to their unit. A fight erupted and one of the prisoners used a screw nail as a weapon, said the guard. One of the inmates sustained "several" puncture wounds to the head, chest and side, said the officer, who estimated the screw nail was about three inches long and about 3/8 of an inch thick. They said the inmate was treated in the prison medical unit.

February 15, 2005 Midland Free Press
Work refusals by correctional officers last year at Central North Correctional Centre were not the catalyst for the installation of new computer hardware and software, says a ministry official. Julia Noonan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services' corrections branch, confirmed there were computer upgrades at CNCC just before Christmas. The local prison was plagued by computer malfunctions last fall, including a crash that reduced central control to half-capacity and led to a prisonwide lockdown. At the time, guards said this created a dangerous scenario in the admission and discharge area. Other maladies included door and interlock failures, intercom glitches, as well as loss of camera control, audio alarms and duress signal failures.

December 7, 2004 Midland Free Press
An inquest into the death of a Central North Correctional Centre inmate begins Dec. 13 at the Midland courthouse. Joseph Balog, 20, of Barrie, collapsed Sept.29, 2003, within three hours of arriving at the Penetanguishene jail.  He was taken to Huronia District Hospital where he died two hours later.

November 29, 2004 Midland Free Press
A correctional officer at Central North Correctional Centre was arrested Sunday and charged with drug-trafficking and breach of peace for allegedly selling cocaine and marijuana inside the so-called superjail. This is the second guard this year to face drug-related charges. Following a year-long investigation, Southern Georgian Bay OPP arrested the guard Sunday at around noon, said Const. Greg Chinn.
A 37-year-old Oro-Medonte Township man has been charged with trafficking a controlled substance and breach of peace. The arrest marks the second time this year that a guard has been charged with a drug-related offence. In March, a 29-year-old correctional officer from Penetanguishene was arrested on his way to work by the OPP and charged with drug trafficking, breach of trust and threatening after a month-long investigation by the provincial crime unit. However, ministry spokesperson Tony Brown said it's up to Management and Training Corporation — the Utah-based company that has a five-year contract to run the jail — to deal with the situation.

November 19, 2004 Midland Free Press
The Free Press has learned that a recent work refusal issued by a correctional worker cites more computer problems at the superjail, but a Ministry of Labour inspector deemed it did not pose immediate danger to the guards. The work refusal was issued by a correctional officer in the early morning hours of Nov. 4.
Ministry of Labour spokesperson Belinda Sutton said the work refusal was called in after three alleged computer crashes the night before, and correctional officers said it posed a threat to their safety. Sharon Dion, a member of the prison's Community Monitoring Committee and an advocate for the abolishment of private prisons in Canada, said she is at her wit's end regarding continual defects within the jail. "This is absolutely ridiculous," said Dion. "If (Management and Training Corporation) cared about its correctional officers, they'd deal with this promptly."

November 9, 2004 Midland Free Press
The first and only administrator to oversee Central North Correctional Centre has resigned. Effective last Friday, Doug Thomson resigned his post as facility administrator at the so-called superjail. Thomson started his career in 1979, as a correctional officer in Ottawa, moving around the province to other facilities. He was promoted through the ranks until eventually becoming a superintendent. Thomson was hired by Utah-based Management and Training Corporation to head up CNCC, Canada's first privately run adult prison. He began the job in July 2001, and the jail opened in November 2001.

October 29, 2004 Midland Free Press
This is in response  to Management & Training Corporation's diatribe ("MTC defends accreditation," Oct. 22, 2004) about Brian Dawe's Oct 15 "Letter of the Day" questioning the American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation of MTC's Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). MTC's Peter Mount never addressed any of the points Mr. Dawe raised.  Instead, Mr. Mount resorted to a personal assault on Mr. Dawe and his organization, Corrections USA. Not once did Mr. Mount defend the credibility or the significance of ACA's accreditation. Why didn't Mr. Mount just present evidence to counter the claims that: *  ACA has never failed an institution, during an accreditation audit? *  ACA refuses to release the results of its audits? *  ACA ensures that positions on its board and committees are filled with for-profit private prison operators? *  ACA has accredited some facilities in the United States that have later been sites of excessive staff-on-inmate violence? In January 2004, Abt Associates released a report for the U.S. Department of Justice called "Government's Management of Private Prisons."  This report says the following about ACA accreditation: Achieving ACA accreditation is not an outcomes-based performance goal.  Rather, ACA standards primarily prescribe procedures.  (Emphasis in original) The great majority of ACA standards are written in this form:  "The facility shall have written policies and procedures on ..." The standards emphasize the important benefits of procedural regularity and effective administration control that flow from written procedures, and careful documentation of practices and events.  But, for the most part, the standards prescribe neither the goals that ought to be achieved nor the indicators that would let officials know if they are making progress toward those goals over time. I guess now Mr. Mount will be calling the Abt and the U. S. Department of Justice zealots. However, it is nice to know that if there is a riot at the CNCC, MTC may have the paperwork to show it has had a riot. In full disclosure and before Mr. Mount attacks my commitment to the fight against for-profit private prisons, I am the executive director of the Private Corrections Institute, an advocacy group that presents the "other side" of the story on private prisons. Don't take my word about the horrors associated with profiteering of the incarceration of human beings. PCI backs up its claims with documentation, without resorting to character assassination. Ken Kopczynski, Private Corrections Institute

October 22, 2004 Midland Free Press
A jackknife was discovered in Unit 2 at Central North Correctional Centre, Sunday afternoon, according to a prison employee. Prison spokesperson Peter Mount could not confirm whether a weapon had been found. A union representative and correctional officer inside CNCC, who requested anonymity, said the discovery of weapons is growing tiresome and dangerous. “Obviously we have a problem,” said the correctional officer. “They (management) are finally admitting there is a problem, which has taken about three years.”
A few weeks ago, correctional officers found a pocketknife after two inmates were stabbed last month. Another inmate was stabbed to death in May. Fear of weapons in Unit 6 ultimately led to a work refusal. Due to the possible dangers, correctional officers issued their second work refusal in two weeks. On Oct. 7, correctional officers issued a work refusal after the central control computer was reduced to half-capacity; guards also had concerns that duress signals in some of the living units may not have worked properly had there been an emergency while the main computer was down. With the recent concerns over possible weapons in Unit 6, union representatives and management could not come to an agreement about how to solve the problem, so a Ministry of Labour health and safety inspector was called in. The Ministry of Labour inspector ordered that Unit 6 be searched thoroughly. A ministry memo states, “The employer should take every reasonable precaution to protect the (health and safety) of a worker. The employer’s operating procedures require a mandatory once-every-two-weeks search of the inmate living areas. This order applies to Unit 6.” Correctional officers have repeatedly told management there needs to be regular searches every two weeks, not monthly, as has been happening. Belinda Sutton, a Ministry of Labour spokesperson, said the memo essentially reinforced the jail’s existing policy. “The employer already had the search policy of once every two weeks in place,” said Sutton. “The Ontario Ministry of Labour issued an order for the employer to follow its own internal procedure.” The prison’s biweekly search policy is “adequate,” said Mount, though he would not comment further on how often searches are actually conducted, citing potential security risks.

October 15, 2004 Daily Observer
The family of a 20-year-old Beachburg man who died after sustaining a cut to his hand while serving time in Canada's only private jail is suing the company that operates the institution and the province for $150,000.
Jeffrey Elliott's estate, his father Tom Elliott and his grandmother Elizabeth Elliott, are each seeking $50,000 in general damages from Management and Training Corporation Canada and the provincial government.

October 15, 2004 Midland Free Press
Central North Correctional Centre underwent a prisonwide lockdown last Thursday after the jail’s main computer was reduced to half-capacity. A malfunction to the prison’s central control computer system — believed to be caused by faulty hard drives — led to a work refusal by correctional officers.
The failure made for an unsafe environment in the admission and discharge area where about 40 prisoners were waiting entrance to the prison. According to sources representing union interests inside the jail, only two of central control’s four computers were operational. The malfunction meant opening and closing of doors inside the prison would be slowed substantially, said the correctional officer. The crash also put added stress on officers in central control area. At that point a work refusal was issued, they said. “They fix things fairly quickly when there’s a work refusal,” said the correctional officer. This is not a new problem, however. Both mechanical and technical glitches have been ongoing for about six months, said the correctional officer. Six work refusals have been issued in the past at the so-called superjail. Other work refusals were issued due to inadequate searches and sub-par staffing levels.

October 13, 2004 Midland Mirror
Another inmate has been stabbed at the Central North Correctional Centre.
On Oct.9, a 21-year-old man was sent to the Huronia District Hospital after he was stabbed several times in his upper body, at approximately 8:30 a.m. This is the third stabbing at the jail this year.  An incident in May resulted in death, and a stabbing occurred last month.    Peter Mount, communications director at the Central North Correctional Centre, said jail isn't releasing any details and is completing its own investigation. When asked by The Mirror if the super jail is a safe place, Mount said there is no way to measure that. "There's no qualitative measure of what's safe." While Mount said administration has a good relationship with correctional officers, he did confirm there was a 'refusal-to-work' situation last week.

October 10, 2004 VRLand News
The O.P.P. are investigating another stabbing at Canada's only privately operated prison.  At the C.N.C.C. facility in Penetanguishene, a  21-year old inmate was stabbed several times.

September 29, 2004 The Mirror
At Monday night's council meeting, Midland Police Chief Paul Hamelin told council the prevalence of crack cocaine in the community is on the rise, and he attributed it to the Penetanguishene jail. "Our intelligence officer reports that we are beginning to see a correlation between criminal activity in our community, and the Central North Correctional Centre," said Hamelin. Through investigating cases of crack cocaine and other drugs in the community, Hamelin has been in contact with officers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and said they have been able to trace some of those cases back to the jail. Hamelin said he never guessed crime within Midland would be on the increase as a result of the jail, which opened in 2001. "This is not something we anticipated with the jail. In the beginning, there were more concerns of (inmates) moving to this area, much like you see in the federal system."

September 25, 2004 Toronto Sun
AFTER 24 hours of deliberations, a coroner's jury decided that the death of inmate Jeffrey Elliott was accidental, but the young man's father says he does not agree with the verdict. The decision, along with 11 recommendations, came after a two-week inquest that explored the details behind the death of the 20-year-old Beachburg man.
Elliott died a painful death last year from blood poisoning after a small cut on his finger became horribly infected. Most of the recommendations were directed at Canada's only privately run prison, the Central North Correction Centre (CNCC) in Penetanguishene, where Elliott was serving a one-year sentence. The jury asked for more stringent hygiene methods, better medical record keeping and better education and treatment of hand infections.

September 21, 2004 The Star
By the time an inmate at Canada's first privately run jail was sent to a hospital, a tiny cut on his finger had become so seriously infected a lot of the fat and tissue had been destroyed, an inquest has heard. "The long tendons to the finger had also been eaten away by the pus,'' Dr. James Lacey, a plastic surgeon who operated on Jeffrey Elliott, told the inquest in Midland yesterday. Elliott, 20, cut his finger on the food hatch in the door of a fellow inmate's cell at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene on Aug. 1, 2003. He died Aug. 29, 2003, of an acute gastrointestinal hemorrhage resulting from septic complications of a hand injury. By Aug. 9, Elliott's wound was seeping pus, indicating it was "in an advanced stage" of tenosynovitus, a serious infection of the tendons. But a doctor didn't see him until two days later, the jury heard.

September 16, 2004 Toronto Sun

Three days after a deadly infection began to spread its way through inmate Jeffrey Elliott's body, he needed emergency care. Instead, an inquest heard yesterday, prison medical staff pumped a multitude of antibiotics into him for three weeks, which may have contributed to his slow, ugly death last year. "They missed the boat ... he needed urgent emergency care and he didn't get it," Dr. Paul Binhammer, a hand surgeon at Sunnybrook hospital, told a coroner's inquest in Midland yesterday. He said medical staff at Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, Canada's only privately run prison, didn't heed obvious signs of the deadly infection that killed Elliott.
Three days after the prison doctor put two stitches in his finger on Aug. 1, 2003, he stuck his swollen hand out of his cell hatch to show a passing nurse. He complained again a few days later. Both times he was given Tylenol and ice.

September 14, 2004 Ottawa Citizen
After Day 1 of an inquest into the death of Jeffrey Elliott, it remains unclear just how the 20-year-old acquired a cut on his finger that ended in his blood poisoning death. Mr. Elliott, an inmate at Canada's first privately run corrections facility, died in Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Aug. 29, 2003, four weeks after sustaining the cut on the inside of his right-hand ring finger.
Mr. Elliott had only 23 days left on a robbery sentence in the controversial Central North Correctional Centre in Pentetanguishene, called the "super-jail." The outcome of the inquest may have a bearing on the future of Canada's first and only privately run corrections centre. U.S.-based Management Training Company (MTC) is contracted by the Ontario government to run the facility. Dr. Moran, a Barrie doctor who visits the facility on Fridays, was at the correctional centre on the day Mr. Elliott sustained the cut. Crown attorney David Russell questioned the doctor's report, which states silk sutures were used for the wound, a series of questions that went on for about an hour. "The jail has never had silk sutures," Dr. Moran told the inquest, unable to provide an explanation for the mixup.

September 10, 2004 Midland Free Press
Following a pair of stabbings at Central North Correctional Centre, an anonymous correctional officer at the superjail said a lockdown and subsequent search yielded a pocketknife, the same week a report was leaked to the media about modicum staffing levels. Because of staff shortages, searches aren't performed as regularly as they should be, said the correctional officer.
At least one anti-privatization supporter says the memo should open the public's eyes once and for all about staffing levels inside the jail. "The words come straight from one of their administrators," said Sharon Dion, head of Citizens Against Private Prisons Penetanguishene, and a member of the prison's community advisory committee. "If it's a concern to them it should be a community concern. The OPP is investigating a pair of stabbings that happened last Saturday at CNCC. A 21-year-old Toronto man received a puncture wound to his leg, and a 20-year-old man, also from Toronto, sustained a puncture wound to his chest and a cut on his thumb.

September 3, 2004
A draft internal memo says staffing issues makes scheduling a nightmare and that the Central North Correctional Centre is not in compliance with its contract with the province. The internal draft memo from deputy of operations Phil Clough to superintendent Doug Thomson said staffing issues mean shift scheduling "doesn't meet the needs community escorts, particularly when they are admitted to hospital." A guard and union spokesman from the publically-run Superjail near Lindsay compared the Superjail to the Titanic. Barry Scanlon, a guard at the publicly run superjail in Maplehurst, and representative of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said the institution was "ripe for disaster." Chronic understaffing at Ontario's privately run superjail has led to inadequate supervision of the maximum-security institution and of inmates escorted into the community, the internal document suggests. Clough also wrote that trying to schedule shifts properly was "an exercise in futility," raising concerns over public safety. "The present shift schedule...doesn't meet the needs of community escorts, particularly when they are admitted to hospital." Critics seized on the confidential review of staffing levels as proof that Utah-based Management and Training Corporation which operates the 1,200-bed Central North Correctional Centre was putting profits before public safety. When the former Tory government announced the new jail would be privately operated, it assuaged community fears by promising tough standards a private operator would have to meet. Those standards - including minimum staffing levels - were enshrined in a contract between the company and the province that runs to 2006. However, the memo obtained by the union two weeks ago and apparently written at the end of May or in early June, indicates the company had failed to live up to its end of the deal. "On a regular basis, we are not in compliance with the contract," it says bluntly. Dan Gregoire, a former guard at the jail, accused the company of failing to come clean with the government and public. "Please, for the safety of the community, the inmates and for the's time to remove this private operator," said Gregoire. Four people have died during their custody period at CNCC since May of 2003. A recent trail into the attack on an inmate in the prison yielded no convictions, despite the attack taking place in the facility during a snack period for the inmates. The victim was yanked out of the food lineup with a pillowcase over his head and dragged to a cell, where he was stabbed more than 30 times with the sharpened end of a pink toothbrush. He was also kicked, choked and beaten.  His legs were placed over the bunk and jumped on by two or three other inmates, leaving him with broken ribs and ankles, a concussion and multiple stab wounds. (Midland Free Press)

September 1, 2004
Understaffing at Ontario's only privately run jail means the facility's U.S. operators are routinely violating their contract with the province, a confidential company document says.  The internal memo, prepared by company officials at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, highlights serious problems resulting from understaffing and concludes: "We are in a situation where on a regular basis we are not in compliance with the contract."  The memo says the prison, which opened in 2001 and is run by Management Training Corp. of Utah, has too few staff to protect the public properly when prisoners leave the prison.  It states the "present shift schedule ... is not meeting needs, is inefficient, has staff on shift where they are not needed and insufficient staff where they are, doesn't meet the needs of community escorts particularly when (inmates) are admitted to hospital."  The memo also says there was not even enough staff to provide proper searches to keep drugs and weapons out of the maximum-security jail.  (The Star)

August 31, 2004
Chronic understaffing at Ontario's privately run superjail has led to inadequate supervision of the maximum-security institution and of inmates escorted into the community, an internal document suggests.  Critics seized on the confidential review of staffing levels as proof that Utah-based Management and Training Corp., which operates the 1,200-bed Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, was putting profits before public safety.  The memo, written by the jail's deputy of operations Phill Clough to its superintendent Doug Thomson, outlines numerous problems at the three-year-old facility.  "Searches are not being done in a systemic manner," the memo states.  Clough also wrote that trying to schedule shifts properly was "an exercise in futility," raising concerns over public safety.  "The present shift schedule doesn't meet the needs of community escorts, particularly when they are admitted to hospital."  Barry Scanlon, a guard at the publicly run superjail in Maplehurst, Ont., and representative of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said the institution was "ripe for disaster."  "We don't want (guards) coming out in bodybags," said Scanlon.  "Central North Correctional Centre Titanic is what it is. It's just waiting for that iceberg to come up."  When the former Tory government announced the new jail north of Toronto would be privately operated, it assuaged community fears by promising tough standards a private operator would have to meet.  Those standards — including minimum staffing levels — were enshrined in a contract between the company and the province that runs to 2006. However, the memo obtained by the union two weeks ago and apparently written at the end of May or in early June, indicates the company had failed to live up to its end of the deal.  "On a regular basis, we are not in compliance with the contract," it says bluntly.  "We have everything in place to address any compliance issues as they emerge," said Adrian Dafoe.  Still, New Democrat Peter Kormos accused management of the facility of "recklessly and consciously risking public safety," and called on the province to take over the prison immediately.  While no inmates have managed to flee the facility, in August 2002, rioting erupted at the institution and almost 100 inmates almost escaped using a battering ram.  There have been about four or five deaths, including one who was knifed and another who died from medical problems caused by a cut on his hand. Kormos accused management of the facility of "recklessly and consciously risking public safety" and called on the province to take over the prison immediately.  "It's become obvious that the private prison experience has been a total failure," Kormos said.  Dan Gregoire, a former guard at the jail, accused the company of failing to come clean with the government and public. "Please, for the safety of the community, the inmates and for the staff it's time to remove this private operator," said Gregoire.  (The Star)

July 9, 2004
Three men charged with severely beating a fellow inmate at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene were found not guilty Thursday.  The jury at the trial got a glimpse of life behind the high-wire fence of the so-called superjail.  During the four-day trial, which started June 30 in the Superior Court of Justice in Barrie, the nine-woman, three-man jury was told that the victim Thomas Smuck, was savagely beaten while serving time in the superjail for sexual assault and forcible confinement.   His attackers grabbed him while he lined up for the evening snack - called jug-up - on April 27, 2002. They covered his head with a pillow case and as he passed in and out of consciousness dragged him into a cell where they stabbed him 47 times with a filed-down toothbrush.  Smuck told the court he didn't know who his assailants were, but one sat on his chest while another punched him in the face.  Then, with his feet hanging over the edge of the bed, another jumped repeatedly on his legs and broke both of his ankles.  (

May 20, 2004
Four inmates at the Central North Correctional Centre were charged Wednesday in connection with the death of another inmate earlier this month.  Minh Tu, 28, died from a stab wound on May 5.  Police continue to investigate the death of Tu, the fourth inmate to die at the prison, commonly referred to as the superjail, in the last year.  Inquests have yet to be held to examine the deaths of two other inmates.  (The Barrier Examiner)

May 11, 2004
Minh Tu has been identified by police as the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) inmate who died last Wednesday in hospital following an altercation with another prisoner. A post-mortem examination determined Tu, 28, died as a result of a stab wound. Tu is the fourth CNCC inmate to die in the last year, and a coroner's inquests will be held into the death. (Midland Free Press)

May 10, 2004
Dr. Karen J. Acheson, Regional Supervising Coroner for Central West Ontario, today announced that an inquest will be held in the death of Jeffrey Elliott.  Mr. Elliott died August 29, 2003, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto following complications of infection to a hand wound he sustained while he was in custody at Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.  (News Wire)

May 7, 2004
A male inmate wounded in an altercation yesterday at the Central North Correctional Centre died two hours later in a Midland hospital.  He is the fourth inmate to die in the last year.  Police from the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment cordoned off the living unit at the privately-run prison where the incident occurred to conduct an investigation.  (

May 6, 2004
An inmate has been stabbed to death at Ontario's only privately run provincial prison, officials confirmed yesterday.  "There was a stabbing, the inmate was taken to hospital and he died and there is currently an investigation into the incident," said Adrian Dafoe, a spokesperson for Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter.  Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene has been dogged by controversy, including health and safety issues, since the maximum-security jail opened in November, 2001. It is the first murder at the jail.  (Toronto Star)

February 19, 2004
Only two recommendations were made last week by a jury after an inquest ended in the death of an inmate at the super jail, and clocks are the focus of both.  After two days of listening to witnesses, the five-member jury said the Central North Correctional Centre should keep better track of time.  The recommendations are that the jail should synchronize all of the clocks inside the facility, including on their computers, and, when a correctional officer checks in on the inmates, the proper time should be marked down using the synchronized clocks  The controversy comes after statements from a medical manager, who tried to recall what time he looked in on Lorne Thaw the morning of his death.  (Simcoe)

February 17, 2004
For the second time in three weeks, correctional officers at Canada’s first privatized adult correctional facility have voted to reject an offer from their American employer for a first contract. The vote was 95% against with 94% casting ballots.  Sean Wilson, a bargaining team member for Local 369 of the Ontario Public Service Employess Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), says his members are determined to win parity with correctional officers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS).  “This employer doesn’t seem to get it,” Wilson said. “Over the years, correctional officers in the OPS have set the standards for compensation and safe workplaces. Our members will not accept sub-standard conditions so that an American firm can rake in profits. That is an insult to our members, and should be an insult to every citizen in this area. We are not second-class workers, and this is not a second-class town. We do the exact same work as every other correctional officer in every other Ontario jail.”  The rejected offer would not provide parity until mid-November. Vacation improvements included in the offer would have been delayed until 2006. Meanwhile, the employer continues to refuse to negotiate shift premiums, pregnancy and parental top-up allowances, or improvements to statutory holiday pay, all of which OPS correctional officers receive.  The facility is run by the Management and Training Corp. (MTC) of Utah.  (NUPGE)

February 12, 2004
The medical problems of an inmate, who died while incarcerated at the super jail last year, were the main focus during the first day of an inquest into his death.  Lorne Thaw, 50, was found dead in his cell on May 8, 2003. An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death. Thaw was the first of three inmates who died while in custody at the jail.  Coroner Dr. Peter Savage will preside over the inquest, which started at the Midland courthouse on Monday. He told the five-member jury to listen to all of the evidence, but to use common sense to reach a conclusion about why and how he died.  "No one is on trial here, and there will be no findings of guilt," Savage told the jury.  The jury heard Thaw was brought to the jail while he waited to make court appearances for various charges, including sexual assault and forcible confinement. After being admitted to the Central North Correctional Centre on Dec. 28, 2002, he was immediately sent to the medical ward to be treated for health complaints.  "He was seen by Dr. (James) Bolton, who ordered that Thaw remain in the medical unit until he had a handle on his medical condition," said Crown attorney Bob Gattrell.  Thaw complained about bronchitis, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but it was the doctor who noticed he had high blood pressure.  Gattrell said it wasn't until Jan. 15, 2003, that Thaw was given clearance to leave the medical ward, but he asked to stay, where he worked as a cleaner for the unit.  "He did some housekeeping duties, and it gave him some freedom."  Gattrell said Thaw got along well with his cellmate, who was the one who noticed Thaw didn't wake up at his usual time on May 8.  (Simcoe)

February 5, 2004
Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop hopes the company that runs the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene can come to a fair contract settlement with its correctional officers.  "The next few weeks should be interesting, because OPSEU's correctional officers are not the easiest to negotiate with," said Dunlop. "They are the most militant group to deal with."  He said Management and Training Corporation Canada, the company running the jail, has done a good job at the facility, and he expects it would want to be fair to its employees.  "I hope there's not a strike disruption, because it's costly."  Dunlop, the Progressive Conservative critic for community safety and correctional services, said if a strike was announced, Management and Training Corporation Canada officials would have to step in and look after the facility, but he hopes the government steps in before it gets to that point.  "The Ministry of Correctional Services should help these people, the same way these people helped it out before."  When correctional officers that worked for government-run jails went on strike last year, Dunlop said the Central North Correctional Centre held many inmates from other areas, to try and alleviate any problems.  Since local correctional officers helped out the government during that time, Dunlop said it's only fair to return the favour.  "This is an ongoing saga, and the ministry of correctional services is not my favourite ministry," said Dunlop.  He said as the critic to the Liberal government, he is waiting for more background information on the jail, so he can do his own comparison between the private and public institutions.  "I expect the answers to be truthful, and I want to do a fair comparison (between the facilities). Sure, there have been deaths, and assaults on the guards, but how safe are they?  "Dalton McGuinty promised he'd turn it over to the public, but I wonder if he'll change his mind, just as he's done with other issues."  Dunlop added he is mainly concerned about keeping the jail jobs in the hands of local people.  "I'm more concerned about having these jobs stay in the area. I don't want to lose them, the stability is important."  There are 204 correctional officers at the jail, who rejected their first contract offer last week.  Management Training Corporation Canada was scheduled to be back at the bargaining table with OPSEU today (Feb. 4) and tomorrow.  The main issues up for negotiation are salary, statutory holidays, pregnancy and parental leave, and vacation.  (The Mirror)

February 2, 2004
Central North Correctional Centre guards voted 99 per cent against the parent corporation's first contract offer, Thursday, also leaving the possibility open to go on strike to back their demands.  "There is no reason that the men and women working at Central North Correctional Centre should be treated as second-class citizens just so an American firm can rake in profits," said Sean Wilson, a correctional officer at the superjail since 2001, and member of OPSEU Local 369's bargaining team.  OPSEU spokesperson Don Ford has a rationale for why the Utah-based parent company, Management and Training Corporation (MTC), won't budge.  "There's a reason why (the guards) make less money," said Ford. "It's simply profit for MTC." What infuriates Ford more is that MTC uses far less staff at the superjail than other provincial facilities use, which in turn makes the Penetang facility more dangerous for the guards.  Midland Free Press)

January 25, 2004
Correctional officers at Canada’s first privatized adult correctional facility have voted overwhelmingly to reject the employer’s offer for a first contract. Union members have also voted over 90 per cent in favour of going on strike to back their contract demands. 97 per cent of the members turned out for the vote.  Sean Wilson, a correctional officer and bargaining team member for OPSEU Local 369, says that this should send a strong signal to Utah-based Management and Training Corporation.  “Our members have made it crystal clear that they will accept no less than parity with correctional officers working in public service facilities,” Wilson said. “We do the same work as public service correctional officers. We work with the same inmates. We face the same dangers, stresses and risks. There is no reason that the men and women working at Central North Correctional Centre should be treated as second-class citizens, just so that an American firm can rake in profits.”  The Union bargaining team will return to the bargaining table as soon as Management and Training Corporation agrees to meeting dates.  “We hope that we will be able to negotiate a collective agreement without resorting to a strike,” Wilson said. “However, the members are adamant that we address their concerns about safety and the inequity with the Ontario Public Service.”  (OPSEU)

January 5, 2004
Dwight Stoneman is recovering at home after an inmate assaulted him at the Penetanguishene jail. Stoneman is a correctional officer at the Central North Correctional Centre, and he was beaten up on Dec. 17.  "One inmate refused his directions, and the offender and he were involved in an altercation," said Doug Thomson, facility administrator.  (Simcoe)

January 5, 2004
Lorne Thaw, 50, was a Barrie resident who passed away on May 8, while in custody at the Central North Correctional Centre.  He was found in his cell, after he didn't respond to a roll call.  Under the Coroner's Act, an inquest must be held for the death of anyone who dies in custody.  The inquest, which begins on Monday, Feb. 9, is expected to last for four days.  Approximately 13 witnesses will be called during the inquest, which starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Midland Court House.  OPP said earlier, it appears as though Thaw died from natural causes, but a toxicology test was done. The results have yet to be released.  Dr. P. Savage will preside as inquest coroner.  (Simcoe)

December 15, 2003
Tom Elliott knew it was his boy by the leg shackles. His face, swollen to the size of a pumpkin, was no longer recognizable. His hands, once so adept at mechanics and steering that shiny new bicycle as a kid, now lay cold and limp at his sides.  His torso taped tightly, perhaps to control the bloating of his abdomen as he bled inside, barely registered his final breaths. Unconscious, intubated and just hours from death, Jeffrey Elliott was only days from ending a one-year jail sentence he was determined to serve.  And his lifeless legs, blackened by lesions from infection, were still shackled by chains.  It was two days after Jeffrey was rushed from his cell at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC) in Penetanguishene to a Midland hospital and eventually to Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto before Tom was notified that his son's condition had become so critical.  The last time the two had spoken, a cut on Jeffrey's finger had already become secondary. Instead, Jeffrey was focused on Sept. 26, the day he was to be freed after serving time for robbing the Pembroke McDonald's the previous October.  'DAD, I DID WRONG' "I said to him, 'You know, Jeff, when you get out, you should really think about going to college,' " Tom recalls. "He was excited about that. He was originally sentenced to house arrest but he said, 'Dad, I did wrong and I have to do my time.' He said he'd go to jail and serve the time, and at least it would be acknowledgment on his part that he was guilty."  Jeffrey arrived at CNCC on July 25 -- transferred, Tom says, from the overcrowded Ottawa jail. His cellmate in Penetanguishene tells the family that on Aug. 1, Jeffrey approached an agitated inmate's food hatch to try to calm him down during a verbal altercation. The prisoner kicked the hatch shut, causing a 1-cm gash on Jeffrey's left ring finger. It was an innocuous -- and fatal -- cut.  The Elliotts contend Jeffrey sought and was refused treatment for 2-3 days at the jail. On Aug. 12, he was sent to a specialist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, where he was treated with antibiotics and then sent back to CNCC. Five days later, the infection had not improved and he returned to hospital for a three-day stay.  On Aug. 25, Jeffrey was found unconscious in his cell.  Shortly after 3 p.m. on Aug. 29, only four weeks after Jeffrey was cut and just days before he was to be released, Tom watched his son die in a Toronto hospital room.  (Ottawa Sun)

September 25, 2003
Barrie resident Sharon Storring-Skillen wants things to change at the jail in Penetanguishene, but she can't do it alone.  She wants to get her message across by talking to local citizens about how privatization has affected society.  "Water testing in Walkerton, Hydro deregulation, and the 407 toll road have all been privatized. These issues relate to everybody," said Storring-Skillen.  They are also issues with which the general public is familiar. When it comes to the jail, many of the inmates' concerns are left behind closed doors, or only heard by family members.  Storring-Skillen wants to change that.  "My main focus is the privatization of the Central North Correctional Centre. People there are unsympathetic to health conditions of the inmates."  She is having a gathering on Saturday to talk about various areas where the government has privatized, sometimes resulting in death.  Storring-Skillen spoke about Jeffrey Elliott, a 20-year-old-inmate who died after an injury to his hand this summer.  "The cost-cutting measures used at the jail are costing people their lives. If (Elliott) was at the Lindsay jail, that man would be alive today."  Although her main focus is the jail, Storring-Skillen will listen to anyone with comments about privatization.  Storring-Skillen is director of Families Against Private Prisons' Abuse (FAPPA), and since she started the group last year, she has spoken to hundreds of inmates at the jail.  "In less than one year we have had a riot, which the jail is calling a mild disturbance, and two deaths.  "The first death was Lorne Thaw, and (Elliott) died less than four months later."  Storring-Skillen's own son was at the jail in Penetanguishene when she first started FAPPA, and he had many complaints about how his health problems were addressed.  "He is now at the Ontario Correctional Institution in Brampton, which is a treatment centre. He is much happier now."  All Storring-Skillen hopes to achieve is to have inmates treated properly. "They are criminals, but they deserve to be treated as human beings."  The meeting on privatization is on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 11 a.m., in front of Garfield Dunlop's constituency office in Midland, on King Street. From there, the group will go to Penetanguishene, where it will meet again in front of Garfield Dunlop's office. After that, the group will meet in front of the jail.  If you need information about FAPPA, call Storring-Skillen at 728-5961.  (

September 5, 2003
According to a fellow inmate, the cut on Jeffrey Elliott's hand wasn't that big originally. It just wouldn't stop bleeding. How this cut, sustained at Canada's first privately run jail, led to the 20-year-old's death from blood poisoning weeks later is being investigated by the coroner's office and provincial police. Bruce Glenn was in the cell next to Elliott at the Central North Correctional Centre. Glenn, who's awaiting trial, said the cut on Elliott's ring finger of his left hand was one-centimetre long and not very deep." He came to me and asked for some tissue because it kept bleeding," said Glenn in a telephone interview from the jail. "It bled constantly, he kept asking to go up to medical but they didn't bother to take him for maybe two or three days and by the time they did, an infection had got into his hand, it was all swollen up," said Glenn. The inmates were on lockdown Aug. 1, but Elliott was allowed out to go for a shower and stopped to complain to his other neighbour who was "going buggy and yelling because he was locked up," said Glenn. "Jeffrey put his hand on the food hatch and the other inmate tried to kick it away and he got cut on the sharp metal edge of the hatch," said Glenn. Dr. Paul Humphries, the senior medical consultant to the Public Safety and Security Ministry, confirmed Elliott cut his hand on a food hatch on Aug. 1 and was treated. Humphries didn't specify when Elliott first received medical attention, but said that when the hand didn't heal, he was seen by a specialist in Barrie on Aug. 12. He went back to the specialist on Aug. 18 and was admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie for three days before being returned to jail. Overnight on Aug. 25, he was sent to a Midland hospital before being airlifted to Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died on Aug. 29.Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease expert at Toronto General Hospital, said it's "very rare" for a healthy, young person to die from a cut hand if it's properly treated. A deep cut needs immediate washing and if there is any chance that dirt got into the wound, a course of antibiotics is usually ordered by a doctor "right away," said Gardam. However, even if all the proper medical procedures are followed, blood poisoning and even death can occur if virulent bacteria enter the wound, said Gardam. Elliott's death occurred just months after the then-head of the emergency department at the nearby hospital told the Star inmates at the prison arrive writhing in agony because they haven't received proper medication at the jail. These comments echo others made previously by judges, lawyers and activists, who claimed that the for-profit institution guaranteed its bottom-line results by minimizing inmate care. The institution denied those accusations and stated that its medical care, which was contracted out, was found adequate in two separate audits and met the standards of its contract with the province. Doug Thomson, who runs the jail for U.S.-based Management Training Company, sent his condolences to the Elliott family, but said he couldn't comment further due to the ongoing investigations. Elliot had 23 days of his one-year sentence for robbery left to serve. His funeral was held yesterday in Pembroke.  (Toronto Star)

September 4, 2003
The father of a 20-year-old man who died from blood poisoning while serving time at Canada's first privately run jail is demanding to know how his son's cut hand led to his death. "We're all devastated here. How could such a thing happen?" said Tom Elliott of Beachburg, a small town near Pembroke. Jeffrey Elliott, 20, who was transferred to the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene from an Ottawa-area jail on July 25, died of blood poisoning at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto on Friday. Elliott said his son, who was serving a one-year sentence for robbery, called his family from the Penetanguishene jail in early August and said that another inmate attacked him with a meat cleaver and that his hand was cut very badly. "What we want to know is how an inmate got hold of a meat cleaver in the first place," said Elliott who will be one of 10 pall bearers carrying his son's coffin at a funeral to be held today at the Holy City Anglican church in Pembroke. The province said the cut on the hand came from the food hatch on his jail cell on Aug. 1.Further, Elliott said that the family was not notified that his son had become gravely ill until he was airlifted to Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital on Aug. 26, weeks after the incident. Doug Thomson, who runs the so-called superjail for U.S.-based Management Training Company, sent his condolences to the family, but said he couldn't comment further because the coroner's office and the local Ontario Provincial Police are investigating Elliott's death. The OPP and the coroner's office confirmed an investigation is under way but said that was standard procedure in an inmate's death. Liberal MPP David Levac (Brant) said he will demand "a total review of the circumstances" surrounding Elliott's death." This is not the Middle Ages when people died of a simple cut," said Levac.  (Toronto Star)

June 25, 2003
With contract negotiations looming ahead for employees at Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), OPSEU and Management and Training Corporation (MTC) administration are wrapped up in a “communications” conflict.  According to OPSEU officials, in a letter dated June 5, 2003 facility administrator Doug Thomson threatened local union president Dwight Stoneman with “discipline up to and including dismissal” if he did not cease and desist distributing union-related information at CNCC.  Don Ford , OPSEU communications said the ban of newsletter inside the facility “reeks of intimidation”. He said someone needs to remind the company that business is not done this way in Ontario.  “It’s pretty unreasonable. It leads us to believe they don’t want the Union in there,” said Ford.  (Midland Free Press)

June 19, 2003
An employee at the Penetanguishene jail has been told to stop handing out union material at work and was threatened with possible dismissal.  Don Ford, communications at OPSEU head office, said the jail's union president was given a letter on June 5 which said he could be fired after handing out union newsletters.  "Doug Thomson, facility administrator (at the Central North Correctional Centre) threatened Dwight Stoneman with discipline, up to and including dismissal, if he did not cease and desist distributing union-related information at the jail," said Ford.  The letter said employees need management approval before distributing or posting materials at work, and the Bargaining Bites newsletter from OPSEU is included in that.  "We are finding this hard to understand, because this was union information for people in the union at the jail."  (

May 14, 2003
The Ontario Provincial Police in Midland is assisting the Coroners Office in investigating the death of an inmate at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.  According to Midland OPP, on Thursday May 8, 50 year-old Lorne Thaw, an inmate at the CNCC was found non-responsive in his cell. Thaw was a Barrie native.  (Midland Free Press)

May 12, 2003
A press release issued on Thursday afternoon said the death was reported on May 8, and results from the post mortem would be known today.  "From what I know, he just passed away, it doesn't appear to be a suicide," said OPP Const. Greg Chinn.  An OPP Forensic Sciences van stood out in the parking lot of the jail all afternoon. Under ministry guidelines, a Coroner's Inquest will be held to investigate the circumstances of the man's death, to see if anything could have prevented it.  Doug Thomson, facility administrator at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), said he is taking the matter seriously.  "Local emergency personnel were notified immediately, and there are investigations being conducted by the police, by CNCC, and by the ministry of security and public safety," said Thomson.  The sentenced inmate, who is approximately 50 years of age, is the first inmate to die at the jail.  He was found in his cell early Thursday morning, and was taken to Huronia District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 8 a.m.  Thomson said he could not release the name of the man until next of kin was notified.  "We express our deepest regrets to his relatives."  Foul play is not suspected, but Thomson would not say if the man was alone in his cell at the time.  Thomson said staff responded professionally, and will receive crisis debriefing to deal with the issue.  (The Mirror)

April 16, 2003
Two Midland men appeared in bail court yesterday facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in an incident that involved the stabbing of an alleged sex offender with a toothbrush at the Pentanguishene Superjail.  The pair were serving time at the jail when they allegedly attacked the sex offender.  The victim was beaten and stabbed dozens of times with the end of a toothbrush, leaving him with superficial stab wounds and broken ribs on April 26, 2002.  (Midland Free Press)

March 5, 2003
Penetanguishene resident Sharon Dion isn't surprised with the recent media coverage of the health problems at the jail.  After years of research, Dion, who is chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons, said she had a feeling this would happen.  "I would like to say the problem here is mirroring the problems in the United States," said Dion.  She is excited to see that Dr. Martin McNamara, chief of the emergency department at Huronia District Hospital, has come forward to talk about the problems he sees on a daily basis.  "It's not just me talking about it."  McNamara said some inmates arrive at the hospital writhing in agony because they haven't received proper pain medication, or with physical conditions that have worsened through neglect.  One of McNamara's own patients, who broke his jaw before he was sent to the jail more than three weeks ago, is still waiting to see a dentist. "As of two days ago, he was still wandering around in pain with a broken jaw," he said in an earlier interview.  The Central North Correctional Centre is run by an American-based company, called Management and Training Corporation Canada. MTC Canada charges the province $74 a day per inmate, which is much cheaper than the $140 it costs the government for an inmate in a public jail.  Dion believes the government should be accountable for the medical problems at the jail, and she also hopes there will be a public inquiry about the situation.  Brant MPP Dave Levac, public safety and security critic with the Liberals, has said the public should want more answers about the way inmates at the jail are treated. Hearing McNamara speak about the health conditions of the inmates has confirmed Levac's concerns.  (

March 5, 2003
When the highwater alarm went off in the basement of 304 Church Street in Penetang on Saturday afternoon, Ken and Laurie Playne knew they were in for a stinking mess. The sewer was backing up again - for the fourth time in two years only this time there was no stopping it. Two pumps and six inches of feces, condoms, plastic debris and garbage later, the flood ended but the nightmare didn’t. The Playnes spent the afternoon and evening pumping the mess out. By 11 p.m. the slimy liquid was gone, all that remained was the stench and ruined belongings. The furnace will have to be replaced, just like the furniture, pieces of Ken’s band’s musical equipment, carpets, flooring and two pages of other personal items on a list that has gone to the couple’s insurance company.  They are not alone, other residents in the immediate vicinity have been experiencing similar damages each time there is a blockage in the sewer line.  The Playnes are blaming it on the Central North Correctional Centre Ken Playne said he heard it was caused from the inmates flushing their toilets all at once, along with the kitchen and other disposals blocking the lines. He said Saturday CNCC was shut down from the water system all night so the town could get rid of the blockage in the main trunk.  “Now there are 1,200 inmates flushing their toilets and we’ve had our furniture replaced three times. The house is disinfected after each incident, but each time the sewage is just pumped from the basement out to the side of our house and on our sidewalk and left there. No one has come to clean it up yet, we have to do it. I am worried about diseases health wise - the smell, the condoms, plastic gloves and other garbage. We don’t know if we are dealing with AIDS. We found one condom with a white substance in it that has been sent away for testing. It’s a nightmare. At this point we don’t know where we stand.”  Mayor Anita Dubeau, the deputy mayor Randy Robbins and CAO George Vadeboncoeur, were all on the scene Saturday immediately after being called.  Dubeau says there is “no doubt” CNCC is to blame for what is happening.  “It’s being caused by someone at the facility flushing things into the system. I saw it myself, a large mass of cloth - sheets that were ripped and braided, toweling and other materials - a great big blob of stuff flushed down and coming through the system. It was frozen solid and caused the blockage,” she said. But the answer to the problem lies in the delayed installation of a monster auger at CNCC valued between $250,000-$500,000. The giant grinder will collect plastic waste or inorganics, cut them up and separate them for disposal to landfill.  (The Free Press)

March 3, 2003
Murray Robinson has seen the inside of a jail cell on more than one occasion, but it's the time he spent in Ontario's first and only privately run jail that's the stuff of his nightmares.  "People treat their dogs better than that," said Robinson, 47, of Barrie, who was released from Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene on Jan. 16 after serving seven months of an 11-month sentence for impaired driving.  But when he arrived at the seven-month-old provincial incarceration centre last June 16, he said he realized that things in a jail run for profit would be very different.  "I'm a big man. I like to eat. But the food was no good and the portions were minuscule, I went to bed hungry every night I was there," said Robinson who worked for Molson Breweries in Barrie for 20 years until it closed down four years ago.  "They call three leaves of wilted lettuce a salad. They're cutting corners to make money at the inmate's expense," he said, comparing the food to what he has eaten in publicly run jails where it is plain but plentiful and well prepared.   During the strike last year by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, John Kolakowski, 33, of Toronto was transferred to the superjail from the jail in Windsor, Ont., where he was serving a 90-day sentence for assault.  He said staffing levels at the superjail put his life at risk.  Kolakowski did get medical attention within 90 minutes after another inmate bit off the lobe of Kolakowski's left ear in a fight over who should control the volume of the television in the common area.  But the fight went on for 15 minutes before jail guards intervened, Kolakowski said.  "I'm left mutilated because they've cut back to the bare minimum to cut costs.  There's not enough staff to keep people in there safe," said Kolakowski who launched a $150,000 lawsuit against the superjail and its management in October. His suit claims the private operator risks the security of inmates.  Thomson repeatedly has refused to discuss staffing levels of guards at the jail, citing security reasons.  The union, which won certification by a 70 per cent vote of jail guards, raised safety concerns when the number of guards on duty overnight was cut in September.  Previously, there had been three guards on duty overnight in each of the six pods accommodating about 180 prisoners per pod. The number of guards was cut to two as a cost-cutting measure, the union claimed at the time. One week later frustrated inmates rioted. They were objecting to what they called poor medical care, bad food, strip searches of inmates on kitchen duty and lack of access to facilities such as the library.  (Toronto Star)

March 2, 2003
It's still too early to tell if having private prisons in Ontario is going to work, said Brant MPP Dave Levac.  But he already has a good idea that the one in Penetanguishene isn't working, based on what he has seen and heard about the jail.  "We can say they don't work in the rest of the world. (Private prison operators) are just like locusts eating grain. They move on when the grain is gone. In this case, the grain is money."  Levac said he stopped by to check on the health conditions of the inmates, along with the physical state of the building itself.  He had questions about the medical treatment of inmates, and about the riot that happened in September.  "I haven't been given any answer about the riot, we are still waiting for a report. I want to know how much it has cost, and if the ministry will be getting the bill."  He warned that if the situation doesn't improve, there will be an even bigger riot.  "Two of the pods are still in a lockdown, and sooner or later that idea doesn't work. You have to make sure the correctional officers run the facility, not the inmates.  (Simcoe County Online)

February 28, 2003
The health of ailing inmates at Canada's first and only privately run jail is often at risk due to inappropriate medical care, says the head of the emergency department at a nearby hospital.  Dr. Martin McNamara, of the Huronia District Hospital in Midland, whose department sees about two inmates from the Central North Correctional Centre daily, says some arrive writhing in agony because they haven't received proper pain medication, or with physical conditions that have worsened through neglect.  Delays in medical care in some cases have been so serious that "yes, the health of the inmate has been put at risk," said McNamara, who added that he wasn't blaming the doctors or nurses employed there.  McNamara's voice is the latest in a growing chorus of judges, lawyers and activists critical of the for-profit institution guaranteeing, they say, its bottom-line results by minimizing inmate care.  The institution has denied the accusations.  McNamara said his department has treated inmates with wounds that have become seriously infected due to neglect and fractured bones that haven't been X-rayed and set.  As well, he said more serious illnesses have been ignored because it was thought the inmate "was faking it or making it up," he said.  One of McNamara's own patients, who broke his jaw before he was incarcerated at the jail more than three weeks ago, is still waiting to see a dentist.  "As of two days ago, he was still wandering around in pain with a broken jaw," he said.  Doug Thomson, who has been running the jail for U.S.-based Management Training Company (MTC) since it opened just over one year ago, disputes McNamara's claims.  "We meet the standards laid out in our contract," he said.  That's not how Dr. Paul Humphries, the senior medical consultant to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, saw it when he visited the jail last December.  Humphries, in an interview yesterday, said that when he visited the jail, he pulled medical charts of a number of inmates at random and found a number of instances where the "institution was not compliant with ministry policies."  "There were a few things we didn't like ... it's not the way our other (public) institutions are run," he said.  McNamara has high praise for the doctors and nurse practitioners who struggle to run the jail's recently opened infirmary.  "They're doing a really good job, but one doctor for (1,100 inmates at a time) is woefully inadequate," said McNamara.  Last week, Justice Elizabeth Earle-Renton spoke out at the trial of Ryan Skillen, 24, a suicidal man who blew off part of his hand while placing a homemade bomb on a path used by Barrie high school students.  "The court is not blind to what is happening and what is not happening at the Central North Correctional Centre," said Earle-Renton.  She said judges, crown attorneys and defence lawyers have been expressing in court, and "certainly in private for some time," that based on the "information we receive, the situation at the correctional centre is not particularly good and not helpful to inmates."  Noting Skillen's fragile mental state, Earle-Renton said that she would recommend he serve his 18-month sentence in the Ontario Correctional Institute in Guelph, where mental health assessments are carried out.  Skillen's lawyer Mitch Eisen told Earle-Renton that a jail run for profit has little incentive to transfer inmates to another facility.  "They want to collect the head tax," said Eisen.  Defence lawyer Ben Fedchuk told a Barrie court in December that the jail's lack of concern for the medical well being of inmates was "scandalous."  Requests for medical attention for one of his clients, who was in the jail awaiting trial, were ignored even after a judge recommended the man get medical attention, said Fedchuk in an interview yesterday.  Complaints about the jail's medical practices are the latest in list of issues at Ontario's experimental facility.  Last month, the jail ended the practice of having the race of inmates on their photo ID tags following complaints that it was a violation of human rights.  Last September, more than 100 inmates rioted and tried to escape using a battering ram.  Since then, a third of the inmate population has remained in lockdown and are in their cells 19 hours a day unless they are attending school or special training.  A day before the riot, 187 guards voted to unionize.  McNamara said it took sending a letter to the local medical officer of health before a hepatitis B vaccination program was initiated for the jail guards.  "They were coming in with bites and scratches so they were at serious risk," he said.  Public-run institutions vaccinate each of their staff against Hepatitis B for about $100 each.  "But in a private-run enterprise, profit comes at the expense of the workers and that's abhorrent," said McNamara.  In discussions with the Ministry of Public Safety and Security and jail management before the facility opened, the local hospital was told to expect to see about one inmate a week in the emergency department.  "Instead of that we're seeing on average two a day. I saw three myself this morning (Wednesday)," said McNamara.  "I'm hearing too much of this," said Justice Gary Palmer in court on Dec. 23, 2002, after learning that a man brought before him on drunk driving charges was not getting his prescription medication at the jail.  MPP David Levac (Brant), the Liberal prisons critic who visited the jail on Tuesday, said he's been hearing a lot about it.  "A lot of the complaints centre around inmates not getting their medication," said Levac.  He described the atmosphere at the jail as "volatile."  "They've had one riot about conditions at the jail and I can tell you that conditions are ripe for another," said Levac.  (Toronto Star)

February 19, 2003
For the second time in three weeks, correctional officers at Canada's first privatized adult correctional facility have voted to reject the employer's offer for a first contract.  Union members voted over 95 per cent to reject the offer. More than 94 per cent of the members turned out for the vote.  Sean Wilson, a correctional officer and bargaining team member for OPSEU Local 369, says that his members are adamant that they receive parity with the Ontario Public Service (OPS).  "This employer doesn't seem to get it," Wilson said.  "Over the years, correctional officers in the OPS have set the standards for compensation and safe workplaces. Our members will not accept sub-standard conditions so that an American firm can rake in profits. That is an insult to our members, and should be an insult to every citizen in this area. We are not second-class workers, and this is not a second-class town. We do the exact same work as every other correctional officer in every other Ontario jail."  The employer's latest offer improved wages to equal those of OPS correctional officers, but do not reach that level until Nov. 15, 2004.  The offer also included a slight improvement to vacation time, but that improvement would not come into effect until the year 2006. The employer still refuses to negotiate shift premiums, pregnancy and parental top-up allowances or improvements to statutory holiday pay, all of which OPS correctional officers receive.  When contacted by The Mirror on Tuesday, a spokesman for Management and Training Corporation Canada (MTCC), the operators of the Penetanguishene correctional facility, expressed disappointment that the union had rejected the latest offer made by the company.  (Simcoe)

February 13, 2003
The provincial super jail in Penetanguishene is no place to celebrate a birthday, says ex-convict Bill Peters. “I didn’t get a cake. I got tear-gassed.” Peters turned 54 on Sept. 19, 2002 , while serving a six-month sentence for driving with a suspended licence and failing to appear in court. There were no paper hats and noise-makers on his big day. No birthday cake or presents either. But there was an after-dinner riot to mark the occasion. Upset about minuscule portions of food, cramped exercise space, a smoking prohibition, lack of prompt medical and dental care and the suffocating atmosphere of the institution, prisoners predictably revolted, said Peters. “Everything builds up, then blows.” Instead of blowing out birthday candles, inmates shattered the overhead lights by whipping food trays at the ceiling. By the time the riot squad appeared in their Darth Vader costumes to hog-tie the rioters and drag them into another section of the prison, three cell blocks holding about 100 inmates were in shambles, said Peters. “Everything was smashed all over the floor. The place was just destroyed.” During the mayhem, inmates broke blocks of concrete off shower walls, wrapped the blocks in bed sheets to make wrecking balls and smashed through steel doors separating cell blocks, said Peters. “They didn’t think prisoners were so resourceful.” When the riot squad in their helmets and breathing apparatus barged into his cell, Peters was on his bunk reading a book. But he got the same treatment as everyone else, spending the balance of his sentence in a 24-hour lock-down with no clothes, soap or towel for the first week and no mattress on the steel bed. It was three days before he got any pain medication, said Peters. “With my back I was in agony. But all the screaming and yelling isn’t going to do any good. Nobody listens.”  “It’s brutal,” says Peters. a resident of Orillia since 1989. “You’ll never get me back in there. I’ll go to the penitentiary first.” Peters said a friend of his, recently sentenced to 18 months, asked for two years so he could go to a federal penitentiary rather than the super jail. “There’s nothing to do, just walk  around in a circle,” said Peters. “It’s like Medieval times. The system’s going backwards.” The prohibition on smoking has created a lucrative black market in the super jail with cigarettes costing $10 apiece, twice the price of a marijuana joint. The explosion of anger in the September riot was inevitable, said Peters, who says the super jail is the most inhumane institution he’s ever been locked inside. (The Packet and Times)

February 12, 2003
Guards at the Central North Correctional (CNCC) will no longer be wearing ID tags with personal information on them.  The issue arose when guards expressed concern that lost or misplaced ID tags could end up in the hands of prisoners. They feared not only for their personal and family safety, but that the information including date of birth and personal descriptions, could be used for fraud.  (The Free Press)

February 7, 2003
A year after Penetanguishene's Super Jail opened to it's first inmate, the argument over privatization continues to fester. The community initially embraced the prospect of having another public institution next to the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre, expanding upon its long history with the civil service. And then the province announced it would become Canada 's first privately-run jail. A litany of problems have since plagued the Central North Correctional Centre. Several lawsuits and complaints insinuate abuse and disregard for the inmate's health and welfare. Food, health and the security of inmates are compromised, say critics. They argue that the flow of information is minimal because the operators can hide behind the veil of privacy. "Halfway through the construction the game changed," said Penetanguishene's Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins. 'We still have some outstanding issues." And now there are concerns that a faulty waste disposal system at the jail is clogging the town's sewer system with food waste, latex gloves and toothbrushes. The bacteria level believed to be coming from the jail was measured 1,000 per cent above the legal limit. Robbins argues that the public service is responsible for maintaining order and arresting criminals. It is also responsible for the ultimate judgment of the individual. Leaving issues of jailing and rehabilitation to the public sector doesn't make sense, he argues. "It's not working out," he said. "I believe the pendulum is going the other way in the United States . "Ultra conservatism demanded it be tried. But it didn't work." Harvey Briggs, a Laurentian University professor teaching at Georgian College in Barrie , comes to the same conclusion. Briggs' area of concentration has been on the war on drugs in the United States . He concludes it's been a real boom for the private jail industry. And now immigrant detainees are feeding the country's private jail system. "The big argument in the U.S. was massive savings, but they never did materialize," he adds. (Midland Free Press)

February 7, 2003
The name tag controversy at the Central North Correctional Centre will be settled by Feb. 6. The facility’s next meeting of the Health and Safety Committee is scheduled for that day, and CNCC administrator Doug Thomson said he wants a solution finalized then. Thomson said all MTC identification tags follow the same format, however the CNCC tags are generated in Canada and provided to the staff. (The Free Press)

February 4, 2003
The lobe of John Kolakowski's left ear lay in a freezer at Penetanguishene's new Super Jail for three months before it was finally thrown away. The ear, severed during a struggle with another inmate, has become the subject of a lawsuit against the year-old Central North Correctional Centre. Kolakowski charges that jail officials did nothing to prevent a scuffle from escalating into a fight, ultimately ending with Kolakowski's assailant biting off one-third of his ear. Kolakowski's complaint is one of a growing list. A great many focus on the lack of attention to health concerns.  There are charges that inmates are left to suffer such serious consequences from ill health, their treatment is tantamount to inhumane. There have been complaints to the Ontario College of Nurses over treatment there, as well as the Ombudsman's office.  A Barrie lawyer says it's not acceptable. The absence of medical attention in the jail violates basic rights.  "I'm investigating potential breaches of Section 7 of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms due to the treatment, or lack of medical treatment, in the Super Jail," said Bernard Keating.  He has issued five notices of intent to sue the provincial government and Management Training Corporation, three dealing with concerns over health.  The jail managers, Management Training Corporation, sub-contracts health services, education and food services to other organizations. First Correctional Medical takes care of the medical issues in the jail.  Jail officials won't say specifically what medical services are provided, the number of medical staff working at the jail or the hours they are there. Superintendent Doug Thompson said the coverage is considered adequate. Two Barrie moms beg to differ. Sharon Storring and Debbie Abbott have both launched a volley of complaints against the jail. They say the health of their sons, who are both in the jail awaiting trial, has been compromised. On Ryan Skillen's sixth day in Penetanguishene's Super Jail, a nurse removed bandages from his hand to reveal a swollen and infected wound.  Because of his frail medical condition Skillen was lodged in the jail's medical unit for his entire month stay. Yet requests for daily bandage replacements on his recently-operated hand fell on deaf ears.  When he finally got fresh bandages, puss was seeping out from under some of the 78 stitches and parts were red and swollen. The lack of attention to Skillen's wounds, ignored requests to tend to his bipolar disorder, or manic depression which worsened in jail, and a missed follow-up appointment have prompted complaints to the Ontario College of Nurses and the Ontario ombudsman.  When the provincial government announced the new jail would be privatized Sharon Dion let her voice be heard. Now she heads Citizens Against Private Prisons.  She argues that people should care about what goes on in the jail because it could ultimately affect the community. And she points to September's uprising. Officials have revealed little about Sept. 19 because it remains under investigation, although charges are expected. "The riot is an indication that something is wrong," said Dion, who has been trying to keep track of the concerns.  (Midland Free Press)  

January 22, 2003
Guards at Penetanguishene's Super Jail want to know why the province appears to be more concerned about the privacy of inmates than they are over the security and privacy of the people who guard them.  Identification tags worn by prisoners were recently changed after concerns were raised the tags violated prisoner civil rights because of personal information contained on the tag.  Guards say similar tags they must wear could provide information to inmates that could allow them to get pieces of identification and credit cards in the name of the guards.  Guards spoke to the Free Press on the condition of anonymity. They said they were afraid of reprisals from the operators of the institution and the prisoners.  The front of the tags include a photo of the guard, the guard's first and last name and initial and signature. The back of the tags also have the guard's height, weight, eye colour, hair colour and date of birth.  Guards claim their families have been called at home by inmates as a result of information culled from the tags.  The privately-run institution's policy is radically different and according to the Penetanguishene facility guards', more dangerous than that of the publicly run institutions.  (The Free Press)

January 11, 2003
Our country, our rules.  If you want to do business here, you better get a copy of our rulebook.  That means if you are an American corporation hired to run Ontario's first privatized jail, you should understand the rules and sensibilities in this providence.  And that means you do not make people, even if they are inmates in a jail, wear badges around their necks listing whether they are black, white, Hispanic or any other race.  The company decided to end the practice after it was brought to light by a report in the Star.  But the jail has been open 14 months.  Why did it take so long for someone to notice and object?  Private jails are terrible ideas.  In the U.S., they have not proven to be cheaper or safer or more efficient.  When the Ontario jail opened, the Corrections Ministry promised it would keep a close eye on things.  But is it?  Last September, 100 inmates tried to escape.  The attempt came one week after safety concerns were raised about a 50-percent cut in overnight guards at the facility.  Even now, months later, nearly half of the jail's prisoners remain on partial lockdown.  (Toronto Star)

January 11, 2003
Canada's only privately run superjail has ended the practice of noting the race of inmates on their photo ID tags following complaints it was a violation of human rights and consistent with racial profiling.  The decision came within hours of a report in the Star on the measure used at the Central North Correction Centre in Penetanguishene, Ont., said Doug Thomson, the jail's administrator.  (Toronto Star)

January 10, 2003
Ontario's only privately run jail is being accused of racial profiling by requiring inmates to wear detailed photo identification tags that include their race.  The Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene, run by a U.S.-based private corrections company, is the only facility in the Ontario corrections system that does it.  "This is a perfect example of systemic racism ... and I have no doubt it is a breach of the Ontario Human Rights Act and I have absolutely no doubt that it is unconstitutional," Toronto lawyer Julian Falconer said yesterday.  The practice was revealed by Liberal critic MPP David Levac (Brant) and confirmed by a spokesperson for Public Safety and Security Minister Bob Runciman and by an official with the jail.  Runciman spokesperson Jamie Wallace said a senior ministry official will look into the appropriateness of the card, even though the information has been gathered since the maximum-security jail opened in November 2001.  "We will have a talk with MTC (Management and Training Corporation-Canada) and with the superintendent and find out why they are using this particular information and make sure it is consistent with ministry policy," Wallace said.  (Toronto Star)

January 8, 2003
Two Simcoe County moms, with sons in jail, have formed an organization to protect prisoners at the Penetanguishene jail.  Sharon Storring-Skillen is ready to listen to inmates at the Central North Correction Centre in Penetanguishene to see how they are being treated.  Storring-Skillen is the director of FAPPA (Families Against Private Prisons Abuse), a group she started to make sure inmates aren't neglected.  Her interest revolves around her son Ryan Skillen, who has been jailed for months.  Her son is in custody for creating a pipebomb and setting it off in a field in Barrie this summer.  doctor requested his bandages be changed daily, to prevent infection.  But Storring-Skillen said that didn't happen. "There was one time he wore the same dressing for six days. There was swelling and he had to go on antibiotics. Ryan also had a checkup with Dr. Ross, and the jail cancelled that medical appointment, because I believe they didn't want to drive to London."  And she found a friend in Debbie Abbott, deputy director of FAPPA.  "My son Mike Abbott is in the jail after a fight in Barrie on April 6. He was hit with a billy club and had a mild concussion," said Abbott.  He was not sent to the hospital, but instead went directly to Penetanguishene, and approximately two months later, he had a seizure and hit his head on the cement, she said.  "He was finally taken to the hospital, but because it was time for the guards to change shifts, he had no CAT scan."  Abbott called Penetanguishene resident Sharon Dion, chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons, to complain, and she was put in touch with Storring-Skillen. "As a parent, it's hard to imagine not being able to give your child basic medical care," said Abbott. She said the riot at the jail in September was over lack of medical treatment, and she predicts there will be more problems if the situation is not changed.  (Simcoe County online)

December 24, 2002
It will be a grim for nearly half the inmates at Ontario's first privately run jail who remain on a partial lockdown three months after an attempted escape by more than 100 inmates.  The partial lockdown is "not going to change any time soon," said Vicky Robertson, a spokesperson at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.  An Ontario court judge yesterday expressed concern about the treatment of some of the prisoners at the facility.  "I'm hearing too much of this," said Justice Gary Palmer after learning that a man brought before him on drunk driving charges was not getting his prescription at the jail because of the lockdown.  Palmer issued an order for the man to get his medication.  (Toronto Star)

December 6, 2002
Doug Thomson is pleased to have received a gold reward for service delivery at the jail in Penetanguishene.  Thomson, facility administrator, was surprised by the award, which was handed out by the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships.  "It's a cross-Canada award to the government or municipality for initiative," said Thomson.  But Dave Levac, MPP for Brant, and Liberal critic for the public safety and security, said he is appalled by the award.  "I have been contacted by former and current employees at the Central North Correctional Centre and have heard about numerous incidents on breaches of security.  I have heard about staff not being given meal breaks during their shifts.  I am appalled by these actions and it does not end there," said Levac in a letter.  He questions whether there is enough staff on duty to minimize criminal incidents, and he hopes the government will put an end to privately-run jail facilities in Canada.  (The Mirror)

December 1, 2002
OPSEU representative Dan Marshall says he can understand why the Pentanguishene jail has been in a lock-down situation since a riot in September.  But he worries the jail may be asking for another riot by keeping inmates in their cells for most of the days and nights.  "It's been a rather long lock down.  In the public jail system, we would have them for maybe one day or two, " said Marshall, who used to work as a correctional officer in Barrie.  "But we never had a riot of that size.  I can understand it happening with that amount of damage."  Marshall said it is easier for Management and Training Corporation-Canada to maintain security by keeping inmates under lock and key.  (The Mirror)

November 26, 2002
I am writing in response to a statement made by Garfield Dunlop. MPP Simcoe North in the Ontario Legislature in November 26, 2002 regarding the Central North Correctional Centre located in Pentanguishene.  I was appalled as I listened to Mr. Dunlop praise Management and Training Corp. Canada for operating a "correctional center (that ) has represented a win-win situation for everyone involved, including the inmates."  Obviously Mr. Dunlop is quite ill-informed when it comes to actual occurrences at CNCC where, over the past year, there have been countless problems with many areas at the super jail.  I have been contacted by former and current employees at CNCC and have heard about numerous incidents on breached of security such as garbage cans holding open doors to secure areas, leaving an entire section unsecured.  I have heard about staff not being given meal breaks during their shifts.  I have even witnessed the wrath of the CNCC management when they find out an employee has contacted my office to discuss activities at the super jail.  I am appalled by these actions and it does not end there.  My office has been flooded with calls over the past year from family members of inmates at CNCC that have been refused access to medical care.  A diabetic inmate's friend called my office because the inmate was unable to control his diabetes through diet alone and needed medical treatment.  He had been requesting for weeks to see a doctor or nurse and had always been refused and never did see a doctor before his release when his health was in decline due to the inaction of CNCC.  I was outraged this past week when it came to my attention that a male inmate had been sodomized while in custody at the jail last weekend.  I am also aware that he was beaten by another inmate while in a video-monitored common room and received severe injuries before a guards arrived.  I would not classify these incidents as a "positive experience with the correctional center" as Garfield Dunlop described.  It is my hope that the government will soon realize that allowing private (U.S. -based) corporations to run our correctional centres while making a profit is not the way to safely incarcerate those that break our laws nor do I believe that our community's safety and security is served Dunlop's arrogance at proclaiming the complete success of this experiment before it is even finished is, at best, ill-advised and, at worst, deceptive. Respectfully, Dave Levac, MPP Liberal Public Safety and Securtiy Critic

November 17, 2002
The Superjail has until Monday Nov. 18 to employ a new waste disposal system and stop clogging the town’s sewer system with food waste, Penetanguishene council charged at its working committee of council meeting last week. And by Nov. 28, councillors commanded, there should be no more latex gloves, toothbrushes and food containers flowing inside the pipes enroute to the Fox Street sewage plant. That’s the bottom line, said town chief administrative officer George Vadeboncoeur “If they don’t comply, we’ll issue another letter with the same tight deadline, and if they don’t comply, then we’ll go to court,” said Vadeboncoeur. Council was especially alarmed when it learned that the bacteria level suspected to be coming from the Central North Correctional Centre measured 1,000 per cent above the legal level. Meanwhile, the town has submitted the bill of the cleaning effort to the province for a reimbursement, he said, while adding that expense excludes an additional $38,000 the town spent on hauling out sludge from CNCC.

November 10, 2002
Toothbrushes, rubber gloves, packets of ketchup, syringes, and creamers are all being found at the Penetanguishene sewage plant, just downstream from the jail.  But that's just one of the problems that council has been facing over the past few months at the Fox Street Sewage System.  The Town of Penetanguishene has seen two major problems at the sewage plant, one dealing with plastic products being put into the system, and another with the amount of food going down the drain.  Councillors at Wednesday night's meeting discussed whether to press charges against Management and Training Corporation-Canada, the company running the jail, for throwing garbage down the drain.  It takes staff two weeks to clean out the bacteria using chlorine, and it is costing the town big dollars.  "Normally, our maximum measurement of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) we are able to have is 300," said chief executive officer George Vadeboncoeur.  "We've had readings at the super jail that are close to 3,000 in the last few months."  Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins threatened to turn off the taps until the problem is solved.  "We've been strung along before, like when we asked the minister if the jail would pay taxes, and they are not.  I'm tired of hearing the MTC would like to do something, but they don't own the building.  Maybe we should reduce their inflow until they solve this," said Robbins.  (The Mirror)

November 4, 2002
One of Ontario's most exceptional reforms involved the establishment of the province's first privately run jail, the Central North Correctional Centre, situated about 95 miles north of Toronto in Penetanguishene.  The "super jail" is owned by U.S. -- based Management and Training Corporation - Canada.  Questions about the facility arose after a September 19 uprising of 100 prisoners who used a battering ram to try to escape.  The "mini-riot" broke out one week after overnight staffing levels were reduced by 50%.  The administrator Doug Thompson, who confirmed there had been other incidents since the jail opened almost one year ago, played down the September escape attempt, calling it an "intimate disturbance." But Dan Marshall, a former prison guard and now an organizing representative with the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union maintains the jail is unsafe.  "Part of the reason the riot occurred is that the jail is privately run," argues Mr. Marshall, who recently succeeded in organizing 187 Central North prison guards. "It's all about the money. If the company had hired another 10 or 15 staff, that would cost almost $40,000 a year each, which eats into the business' $35-milllion-a-year contract."  (Report Newsmagazine)

September 30, 2002
Early on Sept.20, there was a disturbance at the Central North Correctional Facility in Penetanguishene.  From my vantage point in the front of the super jail, I was observing the amazing and colorful traffic flow into the facility.  Countless OPP cruisers and officers were in attendance, along with all available canine units, a ambulance, mobile command units, and the tactical squad.  Why is responsible for the costs involved in paying for the massive police presence at the super jail during such a situation?  Who is responsible for the costs involved in paying for any damages caused to the buildings during such a situation, since the buildings and the land they stand on are government property?  Is the Ontario taxpayer responsible, or is it private operators of the jail?  The people of Penetanguishene and surrounding area were told that the jail would be a government-operated facility.  But since the government changed the game plan, it's now a for-profit correctional facility.  Will the taxpayer be saved the amount of money that the government envisioned from a privately-run jail?  Dawn Marie Horn, Midland.  (

September 25, 2002
The investigation continues at the jail, after inmates revolted early Friday. "The institution remains in a lockdown while we are doing security reviews," said Doug Thomson, facility administrator. Tear gas had to be used to help get the 187 inmates under control, after they refused to return to their cells for the night, just after midnight. Dan Marshall, organizing representative from OPSEU, said inmates in pod 4 had makeshift weapons. Marshall said pod 4 will be in a lockdown for some time. The disturbance took place the day after correctional officers voted in favour of joining OPSEU. (The Mirror)

September 25, 2002 
Staff at the Penetanguishene super jail Ontario Public Service Employee Union. "They told us this was coming," said Dan Marshall. For this reason, 70 per cent of the 187 correctional officers at the Central North Correctional Centre voted in favour of unionizing with OPSEU, the only union representing correctional officers in Ontario, Marshall said. "Although the union can't prevent riots at CNCC, it will help improve health and safety issues there. Incidents like riots will get filtered out more quickly as soon as the union executive takes office there," Marshall said. Between 60-100 sentenced inmates attempted to escape the jail by breaking through several security areas with makeshift weapons. Chair of Citizens Against Private Prisons (CAPP) group, Sharon Dion said she had spoken with some of CNCC's correctional officers, and she was told "it was inevitable something was going to blow up." "They had concerns about working with untrained staff, officers who lacked experience in working in a jail," Dion said Friday morning. Dion said she was told there man-made weapons used in the riot, and wondered how they became accessible to inmates. Dion said she was glad the union was voted in just a day earlier. "It's very disturbing when you see 60 police cars speeding by your house. Something is wrong. I'm just glad no one was hurt and that the union is now in to help with these issues." The riot squad used tear gas to suppress those inmates and they were contained within their living areas, said jail administrator Doug Thomson. CNCC is the first privately-run jail in the province. It has 1,184 beds, including 32 for female offenders. Midland resident Dawn Marie Horn who drove out with her 19-year-old son said she was still shaken by the incident late Friday morning. "It looked like a Hollywood production of a prison movie," she said. "As I was driving in my car, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw a chain of cruisers with flashing lights. They were pouring in from all sides of the street." (The Free Press)

September 24, 2002
Correctional officers at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene have voted 70 percent in favour of unionizing through the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. The certification vote was held on Wednesday, and OPSEU organizer Dan Marshall was very pleased with the results. “They were working brutal eight hour schedules, seven days on, two days off and a lot of double shifts,” said Marshall. “Health and safety is a big concern. That’s is a big thing with us in corrections, with this environment.” Marshall said that reception from MTC has “not been good”. He said correctional facilities in the United States “don’t particularly like unions”. OPSEU hosted several information sessions for CNCC workers at the Best Western in Midland, which he says were well attended. Marshall said workers were scared about what would happen with management and wanted to know how the bargaining would work. Workers also had concerns about reprisals by management. The main points of contention include 12 hour work schedules, with a compressed work week most likely involving three days on and two days off. He said OPSEU would push for one week off every six weeks which is common with correctional job scheduling. They will also try to get a wage increase for workers of about $2 per hour. “Right now their top rate is $22.32 and we are already making two dollars more than that,” said Marshall. “They deserve more. They are doing the same job as us with less people. Part of the plan is to get more employees. Currently they are understaffed.” (The Free Press)

September 24, 2002
Correctional officers at the Central North Correctional Centre in Pentanguishene have voted 70 percent in favour of unionizing through the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.  The certification vote was held on Wednesday, and OPSEU organizer Dan Marshall was very pleased with the results.  "They were working brutal eight 8 schedules, seven days on, two days off and a lot of double shifts," said Marshall.  "Health and safety is a big concern.  That's is a big thing with us in corrections, with this environment."  Marshall said that reception from MTC has "not been good".  He said correctional facilities in the United States "don't particularly like unions."  Marshall said workers were scared about what would happen with management and wanted to know how the bargaining would work.  Workers also had concerns about reprisals by management.  The main points of contention include 12 hour work schedules, with a compressed work week most likely involving three days on and two days off.  He said OPSEU would push for one week off every six weeks which is common with  correctional job scheduling.  They will also try to get a wage increase for workers of about $2 per hour.  "Right now their top rate is $22.32 and we are already making two dollars more than that," said Marshall.  "They deserve more.  They are doing the same job as us with less people.  Part of the plan is to get more employees.  Currently they are understaffed.  (The Free Press)

September 22, 2002
Jail officials say the public was never at risk following a mini-riot at a new "super jail" in this city about 150 kilometers north of Toronto.  Jail administrator Doug Thomson would not confirm reports that more than 100 inmates used a battering ram in an unsuccessful attempt to break out.  Reports from the scene said the prisoners were armed with makeshift weapons and breached several security areas.  More than 60 provincial police officers circled the jail during the disturbances to ensure that no-one escaped.  The massive jail, with its 1,200 beds, has a number of high-tech security measures.  But during its construction, unionized Ontario jail guards and area residents expressed concerns about public safety.  (The

September 20, 2002 
More than 100 inmates used a battering ram to attempt an escape from the Penetanguishene superjail after a riot broke out early today. Ontario Provincial Police were called in from surrounding detachments to block the prisoners' escape from the Central North Correctional Centre. The inmates broke through several areas of security and were attempting to break down a fire door in their final bid for freedom. The OPP said the inmates were also armed with makeshift weapons and crude gas masks as they attempted to storm the facility located about 50 kilometres north of Barrie. "We've got a major incident on the go at the Penetanguishene jail," said a senior OPP officer at the general headquarters in Orillia. "We're trying to muster as many forces as we can at this point but I'm not sure how many officers are involved." OPP police dispatchers summoned all available officers in the Barrie, Midland and Orillia areas to the scene at the outskirts of a residential area in the Georgian Bay community. Heavily armed police, including the tactical rescue unit and the canine unit, set up positions around the jail. OPP officers expressed concerns the fence surrounding the facility is not electrified. The privately run Penetanguishene facility, which opened last year, is one of three superjails planned for the province. (The

July 16, 2002
Ontario taxpayers paid thousands of dollars for dinners, booze, snacks, lunches, dry cleaning and travel for former corrections minister Rob Sampson and his staff, according to government documents. When Sampson was corrections minister — a post he lost in the April cabinet shuffle — he was livid when he discovered a plan to buy $80 basketballs and a $1,200 CD player for the women's jail at Milton's Maplehurst Correctional Centre. At the time, Sampson said: "We want to make sure that taxpayers' money is spent wisely and effectively . During the 15-month period, Sampson and his 11 ministerial staff spent a total of $20,338.72. Of that amount, $6,778.69 went to food and booze and another $5,427.32 for hotels. Sampson said when the government was looking at private prisons he talked to many people from around the globe and would "pay them back by entertaining them. ... I don't think that is anything unusual." For example, he said, when he was in Tampa, Fla., learning more about electronic monitoring he took officials there out for dinner. Liberal MPP Dave Levac (Brant) called Sampson's expenses further proof "that these guys are living high on the hog and I'm offended by it and I know all reasonable people are offended by it." New Democratic Party MPP Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) said this kind of "wining and dining" was "repugnant" on several levels. "These are the people who cut welfare rates by almost 22 per cent, haven't given disability pensions one penny in increase over the lasts seven years, yet he eats at the poshest restaurants," Kormos said.

March 26, 2002
An Ontario-wide warrant has been issued for a man unlawfully at large after the province's first privately run super jail let him out by accident. He was at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to another breach of probation. Brenton Lorne Weston was sentenced to an additional 45 days to be served on weekends but when he was returned to the jail that night, he was set free. (

November 16, 2001
Problems at Penetanguishene’s new privately-operated ‘superjail’ are multiplying only days after the facility accepted its first inmates, leaving critics calling for increased government monitoring.  On Tuesday, staff at the state-of-the-art $85 million jail said the facility could not take messages for inmates, severing communications from the outside world.  "We are not set up to take messages for prisoners. This is not a government jail now. Things have changed," said an unnamed employee at the Central North Correctional Centre.  "There are going to be 1,200 inmates in here and we can’t take messages for 1,200 inmates," he said, before hanging up on an "urgent, personal" message for one of the 25 inmates who arrived in the maximum-security facility on Saturday.  Repeated calls from the Examiner went unanswered earlier in the day - no one at the jail picked up the phone.  These complications come in the wake of inmates’ complaints about the new jail, which include being forced to stay indoors because winter jackets were unavailable.  That issue was later resolved after inmates threatened a hunger strike.  (The Barrie Examiner)

November 12, 2001
Canada's first privately run super-jail quietly opened this weekend.  "Our community is part of the experiment, but as usual we didn't get to hear anything," Sharon Dion, who lives across the road from the Central North Correctional Centre on the outskirts of Penetanguishene, said yesterday.  Residents got wind something was happening though the rumour mill at local coffee shops, but the provincial corrections ministry insisted the 1,184-bed facility wouldn't open until the end of the month, said Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins.  So news the first 18 inmates had arrived from Parry Sound on Saturday came as quite a shock.  "What did they think we were going to do, lay in the road to stop them coming through?" said Robbins.  A message from provincial Corrections Minister Rob Sampson's office arrived by fax at the town hall Friday at 4:20 p.m., advising the nine-member council of this town of 8,500 that the jail operated by a private U.S. corrections company was opening.  That was 20 minutes after the employee who distributes mail left for the weekend, said Robbins.  "Is this the way we are going to find out about everything that happens there?" asked Robbins, who found the fax on the town clerk's desk after he heard the news from a reporter.  Penetanguishene had been a willing host to the $85 million facility until the Conservative government told the town it would be privately run.  "We feel we were misled then and now we feel we're being kept in the dark," said Dion.  (The Star)

Greater Sudbury, Ontario
Jun 23, 2018
Suspect shot by Sudbury police to plead out
The man shot by Greater Sudbury Police officers at the downtown bus terminal in the spring will resolve his charges next month. In video bail remand court at the Sudbury Courthouse, Alexander Stavropoulos, 24, of no fixed address, made a brief appearance. His lawyer, Glenn Sandberg, informed the court that Stavropoulos would resolve his matters on July 4. At that time, Stavropoulos is headed to courtroom "C" -- a plea court that is held every Wednesday. Stavropoulos, 24, who spent time in hospital, is facing four counts of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, and five counts each of assault with a weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon. Officers confronted a man inside the terminal during the evening hours on April 1 after he tried to access the transit security office while armed with two knives, according to the city. One officer fired shots, wounding he suspect, who was taken to hospital. A transit employee was also hurt during the disruption, but not severely. The city said at the time the injuries were minor and the employee was in stable condition. The Sudbury Star has learned the employee - Phil Kingsbury - and Andrian Santos, a guard with G4S Secure Solutions, had sought refuge in a locked room in the station during the incident. An errant bullet punctured a metal panel in the wall and a piece of shrapnel ended up embedded in Kingsbury's leg. The province's Special Investigations Unit is investigating the case. The SIU, which investigates any instance where an individual is injured during a police response, did confirm an officer discharged a firearm and the 24-year-old suspect was hospitalized. The Ministry of Labour also investigated and issued one order to the employer to reassess the risks of workplace violence. At the time of the incident, only one guard was scheduled to work at the terminal. The city has added a second guard on an interim basis for seven hours a day. A video shot by a witness captured the moment when police fired on the man, who collapsed in pain, with blood pooling on the floor. The voice heard in the video yelling off-screen was that of the suspect, indicating he had been shot. Police described the man as "aggressive" and said officers "applied force that resulted in injuries." At one time, Stavropoulos was himself an employee of G4S, a reliable source told The Sudbury Star. The source said Stavropoulos had worked with the company in southern Ontario and arrived in Greater Sudbury with a girlfriend to take on another assignment as a security officer. Stavropoulos, however, quit about a month prior to the transit station incident, after working a shift at the Out of the Cold shelter operated by the city. The source said he didn't believe Stavropoulos was acting out of any kind of work-related grudge when he appeared at the transit terminal on April 1, but was wrestling with personal issues, possibly a break-up.

McGill University

Montreal, Canada

November 26, 2007 The McGill Daily
At Macdonald campus’s Centennial Centre cafeteria, students can purchase a classic two-egg breakfast all day for just $4.20, taxes included. Though the cafeteria is a relatively small operation, it is run by Sodexho Inc., a massive multinational food services company that also operates private, for-profit prisons and detention centres. Sodexho’s presence at McGill is minimal compared to that of well-known food-service giant Chartwells, but with revenues exceeding $17.6-billion in 2005-2006, Sodexho is one of the largest food-provision companies in the world. Last year, “Correctional Services” accounted for two per cent of its total revenue. In an interview with Vancouver-based Stark Raven radio last month, Alex Friedmann, Associate Editor of the magazine Prison Legal News, explained that the nature of for-profit detention centres facilitates poor-quality meals and services for inmates. “[Companies’ that run private prisons] sole interest is to bolster their bottom line and to make profit for their shareholders,” Friedmann said. “If you have to do that by cutting corners, or by reducing benefits and wages paid to your staff…or by skimping on food portions or quality, then that’s what you do.” Sodexho has faced student boycotts since 2000, and recent reports reveal overcrowding and hunger strikes at its Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre in London, England. Friedmann said that professional corrections officials, like guards and wardens, understand the importance of food in prisons and the consequences it has on prison life, but that food-service companies like Sodexho – which make huge profits from corrections facilities – are not interested in the public good. “Their interest is not in the welfare or benefit of the public, the prisoners, or even their employees, really,” he said. Incidentally, the 2006 Corporate Responsibility Report from Sodexho’s U.K. and Ireland faction stated that just 54 per cent of its employees actually enjoy going to work. Similar reports from the last two years are filled with idyllic pictures, quotes from various executives championing Sodexho’s efforts toward sustainability and a greater diversity of employees, including affirmative actions plans. In April of 2005, however, Sodexho paid out an $80-million settlement after thousands of its African-American employees sued the company on charges of racial discrimination, citing the company’s utter lack of African Americans in high-ranking management positions. Boycott Sodexho -- Two years ago, students at Laval University started a “Boycott Sodexho” campaign in protest of the school’s decision to award a large food contract to the company instead of accepting the student union’s offer. Boycott Sodexho is still active, although according to member Fadi Maalouf, it now focuses on encouraging students to frequent the 14 student-run coffee shops as opposed to one of the eight larger Sodexho-run cafeterias. Maalouf explained that students were against the multinational corporation for reasons ranging from its high prices for mediocre food to its involvement in the U.S. military. “When the campaign was on campus, we were just giving information about Sodexho’s involvement in the [Iraq] warzone, and that was frustrating for students to learn,” Maalouf said. “They make millions of dollars and they cannot offer a good service to students?” In 2000-2002, students from 60 campuses across the United States and Canada formed the “Not With Our Money” campaign. They succeeded in prompting Sodexho to divest its eight per cent stock holdings from Correctional Corporations of America, which runs private prisons in the U.S. But Sodexho still owns private for-profit prisons, primarily in the U.K. – recent announcements on its web site boasts 20 and 25-year contracts to run prisons in Chile and Scotland, respectively – and it provides food and ancillary services for prisons around the world, including more than 450 in the United States alone, according to Friedmann. Prison atmosphere -- Rebecca Godderis, a PhD student at the University of Calgary who interviewed 16 prisoners as part of her research on food in prisons, echoed Friedmann’s comment about the significance of food, which can calm or excite inmates. She explained that food has a large impact on a prison’s atmosphere. “Food is a constant reminder of the lack of control that these prisoners have over their lives,” Godderis said, adding that one participant told her simply, “If the guys are well-fed, they’re more manageable.” Godderis did not comment about any specific corporations who run private prisons, but she maintained that because prisoners have very little recourse to take on mechanisms that control them, the general public should be concerned about what goes on inside the institutions. “[Prisoners] are very marginalized, very controlled, and that means we should be more attentive to them,” Godderis said. Representatives from Sodexho Inc. declined to comment for this piece.

Ministry of Solicitor-General

Sep 29, 2021

OPSEU/SEFPO urges government to backtrack on 'dangerous' Corrections privatization scheme

TORONTO, ON, Sept. 28, 2021 OPSEU/SEFPO is warning the provincial government that it will be making a dangerous mistake if it goes ahead with plans to privatize the Corrections service that monitors offenders wearing electronic bracelets. "In Ontario and in the U.S., private corporations have shown time and time again that they can't be trusted to put community safety over profits," said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "Selling off the service that keeps track of offenders when they're not in jail is just going to put our communities at risk. "Public service workers have done this job admirably for decades," said Thomas. "There's simply no good reason to sell off this service, or to sell out the front-line Corrections workers who provide it."  Janet Laverty, the Vice Chair of OPSEU/SEFPO Corrections, said Ontario has already run failed experiment on private Corrections. "We've already been down the road of privatizing correctional services in Ontario when a for-profit company operated a correctional facility in Penetanguishene," said Laverty. "That experiment failed miserably, and the jail was brought back into the public fold. So why does the current government want to head down this reckless path again?" Offender monitoring is currently done by Ministry of Solicitor-General employees at the Ontario Monitoring Centre in Mississauga. But the ministry has now announced plans to close the facility and privatize that work to a company that will monitor offenders with GPS technology.  As a result, offenders that would normally serve weekend sentences will no longer serve jail time and the Intermittent Centres in Toronto and London will be closed. "Privatization has a terrible track-record when it comes to saving money. And it has an even worse record when it comes to providing services that keep our communities safe," said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, who is himself a Correctional Officer. "From Walkerton to the high pandemic death toll in for-profit long-term care, there is plenty of evidence that private companies can't be trusted to keep us safe. Ontarians must ask if they really want a for-profit company monitoring offenders in the community." Thomas said he's surprised at the government's privatization plan. "I know this government appreciates the work done by front-line Corrections workers because of the recent investments they've made in new jails and in new positions," said Thomas. "Privatizing this service will undo a lot of that good work. It's not too late for the Premier and the Solicitor General to stop us from blundering into this costly privatization mistake that will leave our communities at risk.

Ontario Government
March 1, 2005 OPSEU
In a stunning divisional court decision issued today, the Ontario government must pay a total of $1.2 million in damages to 50 employees who were stripped of their rights during the process of privatizing young offender facilities. The court upheld an earlier decision by the Grievance Settlement Board that each of the affected employees should be paid damages equal to two weeks salary for each year of service. “This is a monumental decision for our union,” said OPSEU President Leah Casselman. “This makes a mockery of government claims that privatization saves money.” At the heart of the matter was a provision in OPSEU’s collective agreement that guaranteed seniority rights for employees who continued to work at facilities that were sold to private operators. For employees of the Maurice H. Genest Detention Centre in London, Syl Apps Youth Centre in Oakville and Project Dare in South River, those seniority rights were stripped away. In fact, the government forced employees to make career choices without the protections that had been negotiated in good faith by their union. Casselman said this decision sends a strong message that terms of a collective agreement cannot be breached without penalty. “We are very pleased that the divisional court has recognized the importance of contract provisions,” Casselman said. “Even more importantly, the court has affirmed that an employee’s seniority has monetary value. Every day, unions rely on seniority to ensure fairness in the workplace. Now, employers will realize how much value we place on that.”

Operations Springboard
December 7, 2000
Another alleged breach of federal law, the Ontario Corrections Ministry has been handing over confidential information on young offenders to an outside agency, say corrections sources. Probation officers provided background on youth criminals to non-profit Operations Springboard as part of a controversial alternative sentencing program. The association says the exchange was approved by ministry supervisors. The information release seems to beach strict rules in the Young Offenders Act on shielding the privacy of teenage offenders, says Nick Bala, a leading expert on the act. "I don't think the legislation as now written contemplates youth court records being shared with Operation Springboard," said Mr. Bala, a law professor a Queens University. "I'm concerned about both the violation of the act and that the role of this agency has not been properly worked out... We have an agency here that has a somewhat anomalous and problematic role in the justice system. Springboard assesses offenders, then submits pre-sentence reports to judges, often urging the accused get a non-jail sentence, such as time as an open-custody home or in some rehabilitation program. Police. prosecutors and probation officers all have raised objections about the program. In pre-sentence reports, Springboard recommends offenders receive the type of services in the outside community that the organization itself offers. If there was any leak, it certainly was not authorized by management. "That's B.S.," said a member of the Probation Officers Association of Ontario, who alleged she was instructed by her manager to cooperate with Springboard. Det.-Const. Al Dion, a Toronto police officer assigned the city's youth court, said he repeatedly told Springboard at meetings that it could receive offender information from the ministry, or it might face possible charges. (Ottawa Citizen's Group)

Partnering and Procurement (PPI)
Ontario and Nova Scotia
February 10, 2003
Two U.S experts hired by Ontario and Nova Scotia to give supposedly independent advice on controversial jail privatization plans were later convicted of moonlighting for private prison firms and of other ethics violations, the National Post has learned. Critics say the revelations raise new questions about the basis for Canada 's tentative foray into for-profit corrections. But company and government officials say the pair had a minimal role here and deny there was even a hint of impropriety. Charles Thomas, a retired University of Florida professor, and Mark Hodges, former head of the state's private prisons commission, both had links to Management and Training Corp. (MTC), the Utah-based business that eventually won the right to run Ontario 's so-cal led super jail. MTC was also a key part of the consortium chosen in 1996 by the Nova Scotia government to build and operate a jail there, although that project was later abandoned. The Florida Commission on Ethics took both men to task for a variety of conflict of interest breaches and fined them thousands of dollars each. "This angers me to think these two characters have links to our provincial government and with MTC, the operator of the super jail," said Sharon Dion, a community activist who is opposed to the private operation of the super jail in her hometown of Penetanguishene, Ont. "How can we have an open and honest comparison of private versus public if some researchers and consultants have their hands so deep into privateers' pockets?" Partnering and Procurement (PPI) hired Mr. Hodges and Mr. Thomas because they were two of North America 's leading experts on private corrections, said Howard Grant, the Ottawa firm's president. Like the pair's other public-sector clients and employers, PPI had no idea they also did work for private companies, Mr. Grant said. "We were horrified when we first got the call [about their Florida troubles]," he said. "They were the experts and they were speaking everywhere.... Our assumption was that they had no conflict issues." Mr. Thomas ran a respected research project on prison privatization and did work for the commission that also regulated Florida 's private jails. He and Mr. Hodges, who was executive director of the private prisons commission, sold their expertise to several states and provinces. At the same time, though, Mr. Thomas was receiving millions of dollars from the corrections companies in consulting fees and donations to his research project. The ethics commission fined him US$20,000. It fined Mr. Hodges US$10,000. Among other transgressions, he was chastised for the way he reported a trip he and his wife took to an MTC board meeting in Hawaii in May, 1997. Just a month before that Hawaiian voyage, he and Mr. Thomas had completed their contract with the Ontario government. In Hawaii , weeks later, Mr. Hodges would talk about strategies MTC could follow in bidding on such contracts. Ken Kopczynski of the Florida Police Benevolent Society, the union that uncovered the freelance work, said jurisdictions that hired the men at that time cannot be blamed for not knowing about their sideline work for the industry itself. But Mr. Kopcynski, whose union represents public sector guards and fiercely opposes privatization, questioned the appropriateness of their playing both sides of the fence in the industry. According to an investigation report, Mr. Hodges told the ethics commission he attended the week-long MTC meeting in Maui to educate the company about mistakes it had made in bidding for Florida contracts. Mr. Hodges told the ethics watchdog he believed larger companies were dominating the market and if he could help MTC become more successful, that would drive down costs for the state. (National Post)  

Project Turnaround
November 30, 2003
Sharon Dion believes the provincial government is right in its decision to close the privately-run young offender camp south of Midland.  "The government has made the right decision to take the profit-motive out of youth facilities," said Dion, a Penetanguishene resident who is chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons.  The Liberals announced Wednesday that Project Turnaround, a privately-run youth correctional facility in Hillsdale, will be shut down when the contract expires next year.  "Before, that jail used to be self-sufficient, and the youth would take care of gardens and animals. I don't know what the government will do with the building because I don't know the shape it's in," she said.  Premier Dalton McGuinty said his decision is based on several practical reasons.  "I understand it has been less than half-full for quite some time now. It's become an expensive proposition, and we're convinced that we can do the job more effectively and efficiently through existing institutions," said McGuinty.  Project Turnaround opened in 1997 as a private facility for boys who were 16 or 17 when they committed a crime, although they may have been 18 by the time they actually entered the facility.  The concept is based on military-style living, and the youth wake up at 6 a.m. each day. There are no TVs or Walkmans for the youth, who spend four hours a day in the classroom.  The rest of the time is spent in treatment programs, physical education, or military drills.  One report said two boys staged a breakout the night the facility opened. They were captured after a three-hour chase through the bush.  The private company that runs the facility is Encourage Youth Corporation, and its contract with the government is worth approximately $2.5 million a year. McGuinty said this week there's no reason to renew it.  (The Mirror)

February 7, 2003
A mould problem is closing — at least temporarily — Ontario 's only privately run boot camp for high-risk young offenders. Jamie Wallace told the Star that until experts determine the extent of the mould problem, it won't be known how long Project Turnaround, originally a camp for hydro workers, will remain closed. Project Turnaround, which has been operating since 1997, was the brainchild of former premier Mike Harris. He touted it as part of his get-tough-on-crime agenda during the 1995 provincial election campaign. The pilot project got off to an inauspicious start when two inmates escaped on the morning the Conservative government had planned a high-profile opening ceremony, earning it the nickname "Camp Run-amok." Sally Walker, the owner and boss of Project Turnaround, gets $2.4 million a year to run the facility that once served as a minimum-security jail for adult offenders. (Toronto Star)

December 30, 2002
On the pillow is a Bible and on the floor, at the foot of the bed, is a freshly shined pair of boots. It's all part of the drill at Project Turnaround, the controversial, privately run jail that's home to 32 high-risk young offenders. The camp boasts a better than average success rate for taking in punks and turning out young men with skills to make their way in the world, say the people who run it. Project Turnaround celebrated its fifth anniversary this year and is not without its critics, but Public Security Minister Bob Runciman is a big fan of what the Conservative government labelled "strict discipline facilities" and is pushing for more programs just like it elsewhere in the province's young offender system. Sally Walker, who is the owner and boss of Project Turnaround, asks that visitors not call her operation a boot camp, a term used by former premier Mike Harris in the 1995 election campaign when he campaigned on the idea. The pilot project got off to an inauspicious start when two inmates escaped on the morning the Conservative government had planned a high-profile opening ceremony. Runciman, then solicitor-general, was on his way out the door for the event when word of the escapes reached Queen's Park, leading to cancelled plans and red faces round. That incident, back in August 1997, earned the detention centre the nickname Camp Runamok — but Walker said there has not been an escape since or even an attempt. Walker, who worked in the private prison system in Florida, gets $2.4 million a year to run the rather dingy facility that once served as a minimum-security jail for adults. It is now ringed with a six-metre-high fence and is located about 20 kilometres north of Barrie in a rolling rural area just outside the hamlet of Hillsdale. One of the criticisms leveled at Project Turnaround is that it doesn't get the worst of the young offenders, which Walker hotly denies. "It is generally felt in the ministry it was set up so it couldn't fail," said a government source. "If you want to see the really tough kids, you go to the other facilities. It does not get these kids." Professor Anthony Doob, of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto, said the minister's conclusion that the privately run facility is a success "is wrong." "The ministry's own evaluation shows that the boot camp `graduates' are not significantly less likely to commit new offences than  are youths in standard institutions," Doob said in a review.  Doob told the Star "any social scientist would realize that the evidence isn't there." (Toronto Star)  

Ryerson University
February 14, 2013

Ryerson University faculty are outraged with the school’s decision to pony up more than $5.6 million to cover the losses of a food services company it employs — and they’re determined to hold the administration accountable. Anver Saloojee, president of the Ryerson Faculty Association, said members were upset to read in the Star Wednesday that Ryerson has incurred losses for Aramark Canada Ltd., which runs the cafeterias and catering operation. “Faculty are not happy with what has been revealed,” the professor of politics and public administration said Thursday. “We have every right to hold the administration to account for a $5.6 million shortfall that they had to pay Aramark for the last five years.” The association represents more than 800 members including faculty, professional librarians and professional counselors. The executive will meet Feb. 26, where it will discuss next steps. As the Star reported Thursday, students are also unsatisfied. Among Saloojee’s concerns are where the funds came from, why the university amended its contract with Aramark in 2006 agreeing to take on the risk, and why an audit wasn’t done looking into the quality and value of Aramark’s goods and services. Particularly perplexing is that all departments were asked to identify 3 per cent in potential cuts from their operating budgets — yet the university found millions to give to a private company. “I have been hearing over the last day or two from faculty who say simply, ‘We’re being asked to cut and we’re paying Aramark . . . something doesn’t feel right and sound right.’” Ryerson officials have said the university, with a small base of students resident on the campus and competition from hundreds of downtown restaurants, does not expect to make money from foodservice operations. Saloojee said he was assured by the administration that the funds covering the losses didn’t come from the university’s general operating budget, a response that “can be seen as smoke and mirrors,” he said. The university is paying the losses from its business services fund — money it earns, in part, off meal plan students who buy food at the campus’s only two student-run eateries. “Wherever the money comes from, it’s coming out of Ryerson’s overall pool of money,” Saloojee said, noting universities are chronically underfunded. “I have a lot of problems with that . . . because that money could be put to use somewhere else.”

Security Guards
September 25, 2010 The Windsor Star
Security guards in Windsor and across Ontario are worried about the future of their jobs -- thanks to new provincial rules for security guards involving costly training and a test to obtain their licences. "We're only making minimum wage," said Michael Lock, 40, who works as a security guard at a downtown Windsor bank. "I believe we do need training ... I don't have no problem with that. But to throw this course at somebody who's making $10 an hour? It's going to affect a lot of people. You're going to see a lot of people jobless." The new basic training and testing regulations for security guards came into effect on April 15. According to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the move is meant to strengthen the professional requirements for security guards and to enhance public safety. It's the most significant change in Ontario's private security industry in more than 40 years. A security guard licence costs $80 annually. To qualify for a licence, candidates must now pass a test based on a specific curriculum. They only have to pass the test once, but every attempt at it costs $60. Those with existing licences can choose to take the test without going through the 40-hour course. But if they fail the test, they must complete the curriculum as if they were new licence applicants. The course is offered by private career colleges and can cost upward of $400 to complete. Lock said he knows of other security guards who've been in the business for years, but flunked the test and can't afford to take the course. "These are not just single people. These are people that have families," Lock said. "These are guards that have been doing this for quite some time." Tara Brown, another Windsor security guard, said she's also heard of many people failing the test. She'll have to pass the test next summer, when her own licence is due for renewal. "I'm very skittish," she admitted. "I'm lucky my husband has a good job, because I could be out of a job by next June."

June 8,  2010 The Globe and Mail
The company awarded a government contract to provide private security for the G8 and G20 summits is not licensed in Ontario. Contemporary Security Canada, which also provided private security for the Vancouver Olympic Games, was selected by the RCMP to provide approximately 1,100 private security guards to screen pedestrians throughout the summits in Huntsville and Toronto. But security guards and the companies they work for are required by provincial law to be licensed, and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services said Contemporary Security Canada is not currently approved. “No they’re not,” said Laura Blondeau, spokeswoman for Minister Rick Bartolucci. “We are scrambling to do that due diligence with the aim of getting them licensed so they can proceed. So we’re kind of behind the eight-ball on this.” Ms. Blondeau said the ministry is working to do background checks on the company and the security guards they have hired for the high-profile international event. But she said they found out about the issue only after the company was hired. “My understanding is that the RCMP has a long-standing relationship with this company,” she said. “So they secured them and we found out about it after the fact. It’s an inconvenience.” The company must pay a fee and go through a rigorous process to become a licensed agency, and Ms. Blondeau said they will be able to work at the summits only if they are approved. “If they are an agency that is approved to do business in Ontario, then they can proceed,” she said. A federal “letter of interest” posted in March announced the federal government’s intention to secure a contractor to provide airport-style security at various checkpoints. “The contractor will be required to provide approximately 1,030 security screening personnel to perform pedestrian screening in designated areas,” the letter read. The tender doesn't say where the guards will be stationed, but said they would be outfitted with “Magnetometers,” “walk-through metal detectors,” “X-Ray belt driven scanners” and “hand-held metal detectors.” The letter of interest stipulates that bidders invited to compete in the tender must “submit proof that they can provide the security equipment and minimum required number of security screening personnel that are licensed (Ontario Security Guard License).” The cost of the summit has been estimated at close to $1-billion. The RCMP has said about $321 million is being spent on venue security, intelligence gathering and the expenses associated with bringing in police officers and private security guards for the event.

December 9, 2004 The Star
Ontario’s nearly 30,000 private security guards and investigators will soon be subject to stringent new provincial standards and regulations to keep them on their side of the thin blue line. The rules governing private guards haven’t been updated in Ontario for nearly 40 years, Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter said today as he announced plans for new legislation at a downtown Toronto shopping mall. The proposed legislation, if passed, would require mandatory licensing for all security personnel and implement standards for training, uniforms, equipment and vehicles used by private security ``practitioners.”  Those standards would prevent private guards from wearing uniforms or driving vehicles that too closely resemble those of police officers, Kwinter said. Thursday’s announcement comes less than a year after pointed questions about standards for guards were raised by the death of Patrick Shand, 31, who died after an altercation with security guards at a Toronto supermarket.  An inquest into the death of Shand, 31, who was held face down by two Loblaws employees and handcuffed by a security guard, made 22 recommendations on training, licensing and standards for security practitioners.

York Detention Centre
Toronto, Canada
Casatta Group

October 14, 2009 The Whig Standard
A spokesman for the private company that operated the York Detention Centre for youth says it's being shut down by the Ontario government, even though it's daily rates are almost half that of larger provincially-run facilities. Some of the youth are being moved to the newly-opened Roy McMurtry Youth Centre (RMYC) in Brampton, a secure facility for young offenders which cost $93 million to build, or just over $484,000 per bed. Don Adam, staff and program manager with the Casatta Group, which operated the York Detention Centre, said he's concerned that the larger facility will not be able to provide the staff contact and security needed by the youth. There are also concerns that families of the detained youth will have difficulty getting to the RMYC in Brampton, or alternative facilities in Oakville and Cobourg, he said. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services notified York staff on Sept. 1 that it was closing the facility because the number of young people requiring secure custody is dropping and the ministry needs to use public funding efficiently.