SIOUX LOOKOUT – Sol Mamakwa, NDP Official Opposition Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic, and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP, Judith Monteith-Farrell, released the following statement after Ontario’s Ombudsman raised deep, disturbing concerns about conditions in the province's correctional facilities and observed disturbing conditions at the Thunder Bay and Kenora jails:
“When it comes to the Thunder Bay District Jail and the Kenora jail, inaction is violence.
Too many inmates have already died for this government to leave things as they are one day longer. The Ford government must act now to prevent future tragedies. And the systemic racism that sees the continued incarceration of Indigenous young people must end.
The Ford government must provide the funding and resources now to ensure the safety of inmates and staff. This includes reducing overcrowding with an intermittent facility, providing supports for inmates and training for staff working with vulnerable prison populations.
The conditions of the Thunder Bay and Kenora jails are nothing less than inhumane.
Dangerous overcrowding, excessive use of solitary confinement, and lack of life-saving mental health and addiction supports are just a few of the major issues that inmates and staff face every day.
There is no more time to waste.”