Inmate population down 20 per cent as Ottawa jail works to improve conditions
11 of 42 recommendations released in June completed so far
Nearly five months after a task force released 42 recommendations to improve conditions at Ottawa's jail, the daily number of inmates has been reduced by about 20 per cent, according to Ontario's corrections ministry.
In February and March of this year, before the recommendations were released in June, the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre had an average daily capacity of 106 per cent.
The jail now stands at about 87 per cent capacity, according to a progress report on the 42 recommendations released Thursday.
However, today the jail was operating at 102 per cent capacity during a media tour.
"There's been substantial improvement in the jail," says Greg Flood, Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services <a href="https://t.co/tQUzX02Sd5">pic.twitter.com/tQUzX02Sd5</a>—@AshleyBurkeCBC
Eleven of the 42 recommendations have been completed and the rest are in progress.
In addition to reduced daily head counts, jail managers also reported fewer fights between inmates and fewer inmate complaints, according to the progress report.
Among the completed recommendations are:
- An inmate request/complaint tracking and processing system, which was put in place at the end of September.
- Reintroducing a provincial inmate transportation co-ordinator position to balance inmate capacity, which happened in May.
- A review of health care services, as well as a review of the mental health training set out in the correctional officers' curriculum. The completion rate of mandatory mental health training for jail staff is about 86 per cent.
- The creation of an orientation brochure for incoming inmates about procedures, rights and operations.The brochure was developed and distributed in July.
Among the recommendations still being worked on are:
- Data collection on a pre-trial custody project, which saw two Crown prosecutors giving advice to police on releases and bail, among other things, in order to resolve matters and reduce time to trial. So far, the attorney general's office reports that inmates who opt for bail hearing are having their cases heard more quickly, and that more inmates are having their cases resolved by pleading guilty within three days of arrest.
- A number of bail and remand recommendations, which hinge on the ongoing development of a bail action plan.
The next progress report will be made available by Jan. 31, and the third report will come out in July.
OCDC Task Force progress report (PDF KB)
OCDC Task Force progress report (Text KB)CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content