Ontario hiring more jail staff, including officers, nurses, psychologists

Global News/File

TORONTO – Ontario is hiring more corrections staff, including officers, nurses, psychologists and segregation managers in an attempt to address issues with solitary confinement and inmates with mental-health challenges.

The dedicated segregation managers will work at institutions with higher segregation rates to try to reduce the use of isolation and help inmates who have been in solitary transition back to the general population.

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In total the province is hiring 239 staff for its 26 adult correctional facilities, including 24 correctional officers, which are in addition to a previous commitment to hire 2,000 officers over the next three years.

The hires also include correctional supervisors, nurses, mental-health nurses, psychologists, recreational staff, chaplains, librarians and administrators.

READ MORE: Ontario moves to restrict use of segregation as ‘last resort’ in provincial jails

To support inmates with mental-health issues, the province is also looking to hire release-from-custody workers to help offenders reintegrate into the community and mental-health court support workers.

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Ontario will fund pilot programs in Toronto and Hamilton to provide specialty psychiatric beds for inmates whose mental-health needs are too complex for general hospitals.

With files from Diana Mehta and Liam Casey in Toronto.

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