Government: The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MSCS) is responsible for correctional institutions that house men, women and youth who are detained (on remand) awaiting trial, those sentenced to less than 2 years, as well as immigration detainees. The MCSCS is also responsible for parole, including supervision of people released into the community on conditions, and for police services crime reduction.
MOMS Advocacy Focus: Action & collaboration to improve conditions at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC); to reduce numbers of men & women in detention; to increase diversion of vulnerable people who do not belong in jail into treatment in the community; and to ensure a new Corrections Act is passed and results in meaningful reform of Ontario corrections.
The Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) is responsible for the provincial justice system including courts and bail.
RECENT ISSUES & ACTIVITIES
Proposed new jail for Ottawa
- MOMS is in favour of a new jail for Ottawa, but NOT a larger one.
- In our view the OCDC should be replaced, particularly in the context of proposed new legislation for Ontario Corrections which we expect to define principles and standards of care and treatment of prisoners that the current facility simply cannot provide. The building has been very poorly maintained over time, and by design it is an unhealthy, inhumane facility.
- A number of bail, court and police system changes that were initiated in 2017 (see details under 2017 activities), or are now in the works, should gradually but significantly reduce the number of people being detained at OCDC, and the length of their time in detention.
- A reduction in numbers at OCDC has been achieved by transferring prisoners to other institutions, farther away from their families, and is only a temporary solution to the overcrowding that has plagued this jail.
- MOMS and others will continue to work vigorously for additional action needed to divert many vulnerable individuals, who do not belong in jail, into mental health and addictions treatment in the community.
- These changes can and should result in the need for a smaller detention centre in Ottawa. We urge the MCSCS to adjust its’ planning accordingly.
Reform of Ontario Corrections
MOMS fully supports Howard Sapers’ recommendations, see “Directions for Reform” September 2017. https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/IndependentReviewOntarioCorrections/IndependentReviewOntarioCorrectionsDirectionsReform.html
- On-going: discussions with MCSCS and other stakeholders on details of new Corrections Act to be tabled in provincial legislature in February 2018.
- Ongoing: CAJN (Community Adult Justice Network); Ontario Correctional Health Care Coalition; Segregation Coalition; OCDC Community Advisory Board; Canadian Somali Mothers Association; Canadian Families Corrections Network; and T.O.D.D.
Reform of Ontario Corrections
- Written submission to MCSCS on details of proposed legislation: Dec. 17, 2017
- MCSCS consultations on proposed new legislation, Toronto, Nov. 17, 2017
- Written submission on additional areas for reform, July 29, 2017
- MCSCS consultations on segregation reform, Toronto, July 19, 2017
- MCSCS announces new jail for Ottawa. See MOMS op ed: http://ottawasun.com/2017/05/04/mathias-bigger-jail-no-cure-all/wcm/98560c8f-d777-48ba-ae02-0435d6478333
- Release of Howard Sapers’ recommendations, see “Segregation in Ontario” March 2017. https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/IndependentReviewOntarioCorrections/IndependentReviewOntarioCorrectionsSegregationOntario.html
- Input to IROC team review of corrections, spring/summer 2017
- Update briefing by Minister & MCSCS officials, Ottawa, October 27, 2017
- Canadian Somali Mothers Association fundraising dinner
- Meeting with Minister Marie-France Lalonde, Orleans, DATE
- MCSCS briefing & tour of jail, OCDC Progress Report #3 June 30, 2017. https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/OttawaCarletonDetentionCentreTaskForce/OCDCTaskForceProgressReport3.html
- MCSCS briefing, OCDC Progress Report #2 January 30, 2017. https://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Corrections/OttawaCarletonDetentionCentreTaskForce/OCDCTaskForceProgressReport2.html
- MOMS joined the Correctional Health Care Coalition, led by The John Howard Society of Ontario, and the Segregation……
- Various meetings/discussions: CAJN, CSMA, OCDC CAB, CFCN, CPEP.
Bail and courts
Deaths in Custody