Staff shortages bring medical care issues at EMDC
A lack of medical care for inmates at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre is raising concerns.
Correctional officers say they are too short staffed to properly perform their jobs, meaning some inmates may be going without basic care.
Several sources tell CTV News that inmates with addictions are finally getting Wednesday's methadone dosage - prescribed medication they should be getting daily - a day late, and some still haven't received it.
Withdrawal symptoms, combined with rotating lockdowns are making inmates more hostile and the situation is becoming increasingly volatile.
Guards are worried for their safety as they deal with dozens of irritated and agitated inmates - not just because they are locked away - but because they may not be getting the medical care they need.
London West MPP Peggy Sattler says "When you have people with substance abuse issues who are unable to get their treatment and experience symptoms of withdrawal it's just going to increase the uncertainty of the situation."
The delayed distribution of the methadone is being blamed on a lack of staff, with correctional officers telling CTV News there wasn't enough staff to safely dispense the medicine.
They say that since management switched their shifts, they've been left understaffed - meaning programs aren't running, and basic things like health care aren't always being delivered.
OPSEU's Rain Loftus says "Simple things like programs and health care slow down if not come to a halt."
EMDC was in what is being described as a 'crisis' situation Wednesday, with guards told they couldn't leave at the end of their shift, and ICIT - the Institutional Crisis Intervention Team - called in to perform searches.
Inmates have also been in either complete or rotating lockdowns since the weekend.
"This just adds to an already tense situation and its creating some havock," Loftus says.
Sattler adds "We're creating, literally, a powder keg. We're just escalating the tensions in an already tense environment."
A spokesperson for MPP Madeleine Meilleur, the minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, says they have reports that methadone was dispensed Wednesday.
It's also important to note that other medical care is being delivered and a a doctor reportedly signed off on the delay.