Immigration detainees stage hunger strike at Lindsay super jail

Some detainees at Central East Correctional Centre held a hunger strike this week protesting national immigration policies. File

Immigration detainees are on a hunger strike at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., according to a grassroots organization.

No One is Illegal, a migrant justice organization, claims 15 men at the superjail are protesting a lack of communication from the Canada Border Services Agency over a recently released policy framework.

The institution, however, says there is no ongoing hunger strike at the jail.

READ MORE: Canada’s immigration detention system unfairly penalizes detainees: report

According to No One is Illegal, the men are demanding a meeting with the CSBA to discuss the National Immigration Detention Framework, which was published in July.

No One Is Illegal representative Maya Menezes says inmates across Canada facing indefinite detention are unsure what the new framework means for them.

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The policy aims to “create a better, fairer immigration detention system that supports the humane and dignified treatment of individuals while protecting public safety.”

“We echo the detainees’ demands calling on Minister (of Public Safety) Ralph Goodale to send a senior officer or director to Lindsay to meet with them to explain the reality of these alternatives and answer their questions,”  Menezes said.

READ MORE: Hundreds of inmates go on hunger strike at Edmonton Remand Centre

Menezes in the Thursday press release stated the hunger strike continues.

However, in an email to Global News Peterborough last Thursday afternoon, Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said that 15 inmates began refusing meals on Oct. 8, but that 14 of them began taking meals on Wednesday evening.

He did not state if they were immigration detainees.

“To be clear, there is no hunger strike at this time,” Ross wrote.

“Some of the inmates are in fact were still eating their canteen items while refusing meals, which they had stored in their cells.”

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Menezes claims one inmate was taken to hospital and that some others were placed in segregation in an attempt to disrupt their strike.

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But Ross said inmates who refused meals were screened by healthcare staff. He denies Menezes’s claims.

“If an inmate had required healthcare treatment, it would have been provided,” he said. “It would be inappropriate to speak to the health condition of any inmate.

“At no time was an inmate disciplined for refusing a meal.”

No One Is Illegal claims since 2000, at least 17 people have died in immigration detention.

At 5 p.m. Ross emailed to note the last inmate.

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