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Inmate lockdowns should be 'few and far between'

In spite of ongoing labour relations between the government and corrections officers, the number of lockdowns taking place at a Toronto correctional facility is “astounding,” Toronto criminal lawyer Breese Davies tells the Toronto Star.

As the article reports, there have been at least 300 inmate lockdowns in the last two years at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in west Toronto, with lockdowns on the rise across Ontario “due to staff shortages.”

The Star says that Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has hired more officers across the province and continues to work to ensure the safe and secure operation of its facilities. A province-wide strike for Ontario corrections workers was also recently averted, the Star reports.

“Lockdowns should be very few and far between in a properly run institution,” Davies, vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers Association, says in the article.

“If they occur on an almost daily basis, then something is wrong with the management of the institution,” she adds.

As Davies explains, chronic underfunding of the criminal justice system is one source of the issue. However, she warns that a strike by corrections staff will only exacerbate the problem.

“Presumably, the jail will be [in] lockdown every single day,” she says. “It’s a fight (the inmates) ought not to be in the middle of.”

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