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Lockdown continues for half jail's inmates

Roberta Avery Special To The Star
Dec. 24, 2002. 01:00 AM

BARRIE—It will be a grim holiday season for nearly half the inmates at Ontario's first privately run jail who remain on a partial lockdown three months after an attempted escape by more than 100 inmates.

The partial lockdown is "not going to change any time soon," said Vicky Robertson, a spokesperson at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.

An Ontario court judge yesterday expressed concern about the treatment of some of the prisoners at the facility.

"I'm hearing too much of this," said Justice Gary Palmer after learning that a man brought before him on drunk driving charges was not getting his prescription medication at the jail because of the lockdown.

Palmer issued an order for the man to get his medication.

Michael Sigua, one of 11 inmates charged in connection with the Sept. 19 riot at the jail, was to appear before Palmer in Barrie, but the jail sent Sigua to court in Midland by mistake.

An Ontario Provincial Police officer had to drive to Midland to collect him.

Sigua, who is alleged to have used bed sheets to cover the windows in the prisoners' bay at the jail during the riot and to have covered his face with a mask, is charged with participating in a riot and disguising himself with intent.

Palmer ordered Sigua to return to court in Barrie on Jan. 6.

Robertson said the partial lockdown doesn't mean that inmates won't be getting visits from friends and family during the holidays.

"We let four cells out at a time; during that time they can take showers and have visits," she said.

Mike Mously, deputy of operations at the correctional centre, said earlier that about half of the jail's 1,100 prisoners are on partial lockdown, meaning they are in their cells for 19 hours a day unless they are attending school or special training.

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