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TORONTO Some jail guards are brutalizing inmates and covering up the abuse by destroying or falsifying records and intimidating colleagues, Ontario's ombudsman warned Tuesday.
Statements from guards, he said, are vetted by their union and read like a template. Another recommendation calls for staff involved in an incident to be separated before they prepare their reports and barred from communicating with one another until after the investigation is completed.
Part of the problem, the report finds, is overcrowding and understaffing in the province's jails that exacerbate tensions. The government, Marin said, had let the "system run amok."
an oversight and investigation unit, and appointing a use of force auditor to enhance oversight and accountability.
The result was discipline against 108 staff, including 31 firings. In addition, four officers face criminal charges, and one has been convicted.
"We have said to the employer for decades: 'You have the tools at your disposal to deal with problem staff and we want you to deal with problem staff'," Thomas said.
of "Colin," an inmate with a brain injury who was acting aggressively toward guards at a facility in Ottawa.
Marin was careful to blame a "rogue minority" of correctional officers who bully inmates and colleagues, but he said the aberrant behaviour has been allowed to metastasize throughout the prison system.
"It exposes corruption and a malignancy within the correctional system that has long been lamented but never eradicated: the code of silence."
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The government, Marin said, must focus on "malignant" peer pressure among some correctional officers.
"We are taking this issue very seriously," Meilleur said. "One incident is too many."
Six officers restrained him with handcuffs and leg restraints, then beat him to a pulp, leaving his head swollen, Nike Tech Fleece Pants Women his face and body battered. Guards initially claimed the prisoner hit his head on the floor.
Filled with disturbing pictures and stories, it outlines a grim reality in Ontario's 29 correctional facilities in which, Marin said, guards can assault inmates, often with complete impunity because their fellow officers don't speak up.
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In a report on jailhouse brutality, Andre Marin called for immediate action to root out the problem and excise the "cancer" of the code of silence around guard violence.
Also needed is wider use of video surveillance, so guards know they are being watched and more rigorous investigations of complaints, the report said.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, welcomed Marin's recommendations.
Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur said the government has already begun taking action and six internal investigations into complaints are ongoing.
The ombudsman, who spent years overseeing the military and police, said the extent of the code of silence among prison guards is unprecedented in his experience.
The report makes 45 recommendations to the provincial government to end the "dysfunctional culture," among them better training, especially in dealing with prisoners with mental health issues or other special needs.
The government, she said, is also implementing a zero tolerance policy for any behaviour that threatens inmate safety or intimidates other guards.
Two summers ago, the Ministry of Correctional Services began a review of more than 3,500 files involving alleged excessive use of force and investigated 55 cases. The probe confirmed brutality in 26 of those cases.
it so entrenched, so pervasive."
'Shocking' stories of jail brutality revealed in report
"This report is not pretty. It reveals some shocking stories not just of violence within the provincial correctional system but of ugly conspiracies to cover up that violence," he said.
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