September 14, 2018 7:36 pm

Officers voice safety concerns as inmate population triples at Quinte Detention Centre

Quinte Detention Centre usually houses 98 inmates but that number has increased to 240, a concern for correction officers.

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Correction officers at Quinte Detention Centre are voicing their displeasure after the inmate population grew three times in size.

The union president for correction officers, Tom O’Neil, said the officers have been forced to create makeshift cells out of interview rooms and other common areas to accommodate the inmates.

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The detention centre usually holds around 98 inmates but the current total is over 240, said O’Neil.

“The inmates don’t have toilet facilities and they are sleeping on the floor. They’re triple-bunked in maximum security, triple-bunked in segregation area and our female unit is bursting at the seams,” said O’Neil.

READ MORE: Body recovered from Trent Severn Waterway in Quinte West

Global News reached out to Progressive Conservative MPP Todd Smith who was unavailable for an interview.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services did provide a statement that blames the previous Liberal government for the problem saying, “The new PC government is going to undertake the work that is required to resolve this crisis and improve our systems.”

The ministry continued by saying that they are currently engaged in on-the-ground research and policy development to identify and address harmful gaps.

The officers inside Quinte Detention Centre are fearing their life on a daily basis and it has been a challenge that they never imagined, said O’Neil. He voiced his concern about the use of fentanyl as a deadly weapon, saying inmates have threatened that they are going to blow fentanyl in the officers’ faces.

READ MORE: Millhaven correctional officers to battle PTSD by paddling Kingston to Ottawa

After many sleepless nights, trying to develop a plan to resolve this issue, O’Neil believes law enforcement must properly determine someone’s mental state the moment they are arrested and charged.

“If you cut mental health and addictions from the jail system, you’d cut the percentage of people in half,” said O’Neil.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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