Ottawa jail serves 'soggy, spoiled' food to inmates, report finds
Overcrowding of inmates, staff shortages also detailed in report
Kitchen staff at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre regularly receive shipments of spoiled food and meals served to inmates are "far from acceptable by any standard," a report by a community advisory committee has found.
"Food quality is very bad, with food that is often soggy, spoiled or unpalatable," the report found.
- Ottawa jail guard shortage causing 'burn out': union
- OCDC cuts security corners due to staff shortage: union
The report also confirms several concerns previously raised by the union that represents jail staff, including overcrowding of inmates and staff shortages, which both lead to overuse of inmate lockdowns and reduction in yard time.
"This has caused other issues to surface within the inmate population such as stress, anger, frustration, health issues, mental health and other complaints," the report details.
It makes 22 recommendations, including an immediate review of its food program "to ensure that inmates are served at minimum, palatable, unspoiled and nutritious meals that they will generally consume on a regular basis."
It found that 65 to 90 per cent of the food served is uneaten, leaving most inmates "constantly hungry, which affects sleep, discipline and mood."
The report is dated March 31, 2015 but it was just released online on Friday by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
The ministry included its Oct. 27, 2015 response to the report and its recommendations online. The ministry said it is reviewing its food service and how to proceed once its seven-year contract with Compass Group Canada expires in April 2017.
The ministry also said it has been "actively recruiting correctional officers" for more than two years to address staff shortages and is reviewing ways to address overcrowding, which it said is most typical on weekends.