Following the conclusion of her tour, Deb Matthews made mention that the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre, in her opinion, is not overcrowded.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of OPSEU, invited the Deputy Premier and President of the Treasury Board, to tour the facility with the hopes of providing the government with some motivation to address the problems seen in Ontario detention facilities. Looking for a sizeable chunk of money and a promise from the government to improve labour relations, Thomas was able to get one of the two.
Matthews said she’s happy with the improvements to the facility and community advisory board that was put in place. Saying “I have tremendous respect for everyone who works here, its a tough job, but they do a very good job” she was impressed with the work the officers were doing in the London facility. Matthews is insistent that work will continue to be done on the intermittent centre that will house weekend sentences, in attempts to reduce the number of inmates housed at the EMDC.
Thomas said that the facility being at 83% capacity is taking a toll on the quality of care that is provided. His main concerns are the labour relations between the correctional officers and the superintendent. According to Thomas, Matthews made a promise to work at rebuilding the relationships between workers at Ontario facilities, which he sees as genuine. He was disappointed in not being offered the money he says he needs to address the immediate problems being faced, which include overcrowding, understaffing, and structural issues.