A look inside the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre
Daily number of OCDC inmates has been reduced by about 20 per cent after some recommendations implemented
For the first time in years, journalists got an inside look at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Thursday morning under strict rules. We were only allowed to bring a pen, paper and a camera to snap still images. Every photo was vetted by jail officials before media could leave the building.
We were told that for privacy and safety reasons, inmates, correctional officers and all staff at the jail were off limits to photograph.
I was one of a dozen members of the media on the tour who had a photo deleted because you could see a reflection of the jail's deputy superintendent in a window. Other reporters had a photo erased that featured an inmate's hand picking up a phone. We were told that any details — a tattoo, a haircut — could possibly give away someone's identity.
Surveillance cameras, locks and any security features were also out of bounds to document. We were moved through the facility at a quick pace with a handful of the building's staff and two ministry spokespeople.
Due to transfers, the jail was over-capacity at 102 per cent. We were told that on average, it's usually 87 to 90 per cent on any given day.
Reporters had been requesting to see inside the maximum-security facility to view what inmates described as deplorable conditions and overcrowding last March.
The tour coincided with the release of a progress report Thursday updating the status of changes being made to improve conditions in the jail.
"I think it was important to let media as well as the general public through you folks to see what's changed, what's new, what's moved forward on," said Greg Flood with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Inmates complained in March that due to overcrowding they were forced to sleep on the ground of this bathroom floor. One man CBC News interviewed said the jail squeezed four men in a room like this and that the ground was wet and bugs crawled on him.
Superintendent Mike Wood walks reporters down a hallway in the maximum-security section of the facility passing by food carts.