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Superjail inmate’s ear torn off in fight

By Raymond Bowe
Midland Free Press
February 25, 2005

Local News - PENETANGUISHENE — One inmate has his ear ripped off and another was stabbed several times with a three-inch screw nail in separate incidents, Saturday at Central North Correctional Centre, according to prison sources.

Sources said the first altercation was prolonged because of a computer failure in the unit which prevented the doors from opening, forcing the crisis team to take the long way around.

The crisis team is made up of about 10 staff members.

Jail spokesperson Peter Mount would neither confirm nor comment on either assault, saying they were operational issues.

"I will reiterate, the safety of staff, inmates and the community is always our priority," said Mount. "Operational issues are not discussed publicly, so I have no comment on those issues."

The first incident, which happened midday, was an inmate-on-inmate fight, and one of the prisoners "had his ear ripped right off," said a correctional officer who requested anonymity.

The prisoner was taken to Huronia District Hospital for treatment, said the officer.

Computer problems have plagued the prison for months and have led to work refusals by guards, citing their safety was compromised.

The officer said the recent failure was isolated to one unit, adding staff are becoming increasingly frustrated by door and computer malfunctions.

The Free Press recently reported that the ministry had paid for computer upgrades.

"The computers being fixed, that's a crock," said the guard. "They give us all kinds of excuses. It's obvious we've got big-time problems."

However, the ministry did say the computer upgrades weren't related to the work refusals.

The upgrades were undertaken to put all provincial jails on the same system, a ministry spokesperson recently said.

The correctional officer said the health and safety committee has been pushing to have the computer problem fixed for months, but nothing ever materialized. "This is something they have to fix," they said, adding "it's common sense" to keep everyone safe.

The second incident happened Saturday evening when about 32 inmates were being escorted from the chapel back to their unit.

A fight erupted and one of the prisoners used a screw nail as a weapon, said the guard.

One of the inmates sustained "several" puncture wounds to the head, chest and side, said the officer, who estimated the screw nail was about three inches long and about 3/8 of an inch thick.

They said the inmate was treated in the prison medical unit.

The officer was unable to provide details about where the weapon may have came from.

The guard reported there was another computer crash Monday.ID- 99582

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