No changes coming to EMDC despite issues: Solicitor general
Despite ongoing concerns about inmate and staff safety at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre, Ontario's solicitor general says no significant changes are being planned for the jail.
Sylvia Jones was in St. Thomas Friday morning to make an announcement on mental health supports and faced questions about the jail.
"Correction facilities by their very nature are at a higher risk. It is our job as a government, our job as a community to mitigate that risk as much as we possibly can. Through staff training, through facilities that keep our staff and inmates safe. But it cannot be one change [that] will make the difference."
She did touch on some of the measures taken since the Ford government assumed control almost a year ago, she gave no indication that further steps will be taken.
Jones points to changes such as the introduction of a K-9 unit, ion body scanners and three new social workers in recent months.
Still, she says, "I'm never proud when people have loved ones who are at risk."
Fourteen inmates have died inside the facility in the last 10 years, some as the result of violence, many others as the result of an overdose.
There have been other steps taken to limit drugs entering the EMDC.
The previous Liberal government built what is called a Regional Intermittent Centre to keep people serving weekend sentences – often used to smuggle in drugs - separate from the general population.
But even with all the changes, problems persist.
The solicitor general says the issues inside the jail reflect larger issues in society like mental health and addictions.
But the union representing corrections staff and those advocating on behalf of prisoners say what isn't being addressed is overcrowding in the jail.