Ombudsman Ontario

Ombudsman Ontario

August 16, 2011 14:47 ET

Ombudsman to Investigate Handling of Excessive Force in Ontario Jails

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 16, 2011) -

ATTENTION NEWS EDITORS

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced a systemic investigation into how the province deals with the use of excessive force against inmates by Ontario jail guards, sparked by numerous complaints that such incidents are being covered up or ignored.

The investigation will look at the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services' response to inmate complaints, including how it conducts investigations and enforces policies on the use of force.

"We had more than 100 complaints in the last year from inmates who say correctional officers assaulted them, and more than 25 since this April alone," said Mr. Marin, who earlier raised concerns about this issue in his Annual Report, released in June. "Even more disturbing are the allegations that violence has been covered up – and that they come from several different institutions. There is a concern that a 'code of silence' has taken hold among some guards."

The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team. Anyone who has relevant information that could be useful to the investigation is asked to call 1-800-263-1830 during office hours or submit a complaint form at www.ombudsman.on.ca.

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