Letter to the Editor – Correctional Facility

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Dear Editor,

I would agree with the many writers that have submitted their concerns regarding the proposed new Kemptville Jail. However, I do have reservations on the Colin Creasey “letter to the editor” in the NGT Sept 30 edition. Mr. Creasey could be interpreted to claim that Kemptville receiving a jail is our own fault, as this riding historically votes Conservative and by being a “safe seat” the Conservatives feel they can “do as they will”. Perhaps Mr. Creasey should be reminded that this riding includes Leeds, Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes? Any of those places could have been chosen and Kemptville spared. Would it be “their own fault” as well, if the facility was located in their community? Or perhaps, when the Toronto South jail was built in 2014 in a Liberal riding with a Liberal Premier? Mr. Creasey asserts that building new jails is an admission of failure in controlling the system. What control is he speaking about? Since 2000, the provincial Liberals have closed 12 jails and the Conservatives 13. New jails built since 2000 are Liberals 2, Conservatives 4. These facilities are located all across Ontario in various party ridings.

Mr. Creasey chides the Mike Harris Conservatives for down loading provincial responsibilities on municipalities. He forgets to include that the Harris Conservatives inherited an unprecedented provincial debt from the Bob Rae NDP (1990-1995) by almost doubling the debt during his time in office. The NDP increased Ontario debt by $52.5 billion in 5 years for an average of $10.46 billion per year. No previous premier had matched that record! The Conservatives (1995-2003) increased the debt by $46.9 billion over 8 years or $5.9 billion per year. The Liberals (2003-2018) increased the debt $175 billion over 15 years for $11.7 billion annual average. What does Mr. Creasey desire? More or less fiscal responsibility?

Mr. Creasey indicates the deplorable conditions in the Toronto South Detention Centre, the newest facility in Ontario, opened in 2014. Overcrowding is a major issue there, as most jails. Perhaps because 25 jails have been closed since 2000 and 6 opened. Perhaps because most inmates are not model citizens and cause a lot of trouble outside and inside the jail. The very reason Kemptville does not desire a jail here!

Mr. Creasey claims Ford does not care about basic humane treatment inside our institutions, safe communities, financial stewardship, and no jail should be built in anyone’s back yard. I investigated the location of many Ontario jails, and most are located in urban areas or on the edge of urban areas and near residential areas. So it seems the Provincial policy for all parties is to build near services (police, Ontario Courthouse, hospital, medical treatment). As far as “humane treatment”, would Mr. Creasey prefer prisons in far Northern Ontario, where no family or lawyer can visit? Would it be financially prudent to have the police/ guards transport inmates several hours away to courts or medical requirements? How would those inmates that serve “weekend” time transport themselves? How could the corrections services attract workers to isolated areas to live and then work every day in the “hell hole” as is described of the new Toronto South Jail?

Willem Van Dam

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