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CNCC fixes glitches
Problems not reason for work refusals: ministry official

By Raymond Bowe
Midland Free Press
February 15, 2005

PENETANGUISHENE Work refusals by correctional officers last year at Central North Correctional Centre were not the catalyst for the installation of new computer hardware and software, says a ministry official.

Julia Noonan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services' corrections branch, confirmed there were computer upgrades at CNCC just before Christmas.

"In terms of required upgrades hardware or software if it happens in other facilities, it will also happen at CNCC," said Noonan, which is done to ensure compatibility within all provincial jails.

The local prison was plagued by computer malfunctions last fall, including a crash that reduced central control to half-capacity and led to a prisonwide lockdown.

At the time, guards said this created a dangerous scenario in the admission and discharge area.

Other maladies included door and interlock failures, intercom glitches, as well as loss of camera control, audio alarms and duress signal failures.

In the fall, ministry officials said those issues should be addressed by Management and Training Corporation, the Utah-based company that has a five-year contract to run the jail.

Essentially, the ministry said the government was responsible for anything relating to the physical plant, while everything else fell to MTC.

The day-to-day maintenance of the prison remains the responsibility of MTC, Noonan said.

Although CNCC is privately operated, "they are still part of the justice system, and the facility is owned by the government," said Noonan, who added that means the computers are also the possession of the province.

Noonan said the province requires all jails public or private to operate on an identical computer system, so various aspects of corrections such as personal records are streamlined.

Noonan was unable to provide a monetary amount for the upgrades, or the specifics about what they entailed, though she did say the new equipment had nothing to do with staff work refusals.

The CNCC upgrades weren't anomalous to the superjail, said Noonan, as other facilities were in need of similar system improvements.

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