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Canada: Gov to review MTC contract. You get what you pay for.
Government reviewing MTC's superjail contract
Kim Goggins
The Mirror
Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

The province will have to decide whether or not Management Training Corporation (MTC) is meeting its service contract responsibilities, and if it wants the Utah-based company to continue to run the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), by May.

There is one year left of the current, five-year contract but as per contract stipulations, only six months for the government to decide whether to extend the contract for another year; extend the contract up to five years, based on an agreement of financial terms; re-tender the contract; or return the prison to the public service.

According to Brian Low, Executive Lead, Alternative Service Delivery with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the contract decision-making process has begun and will continue into the new year.

MTC will be rated in four key areas: effectiveness; efficiency; sustainability and viability into the future; and relevance to the community.

Consultants from Price Waterhouse Coopers will interview people from key groups to ensure the information the government has is accurate.

"Part of the consultants' role is to ensure that information they have is represented adequately," Low told Penetanguishene Council at a recent meeting.

"They won't go out and conduct an intensive study on their own."

While members of Council, chamber of commerce, board of monitors at the jail, and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be interviewed, members of community groups, like Citizens Against Private Prisons, will not be included.

"It's disappointing they're not coming to speak to me because I have been doing private prison research for five years and it's important that this new government knows the character of the company they're working with," said Sharon Dion, chairperson of Citizens Against Private Prisons.

"I have scathing reports about Management and Training Corporation in the United States. This government needs to know there are major problems with MTC in the United States and First Correctional Medical who (also) runs our medical unit."

Low says the government already has information from Dion and others who have made their views clear.

Dion has been involved in the debate for five years - even before the decision was made to run the jail privately - and remembers a public promise made in 2001 by then-Opposition leader, Dalton McGuinty, when he paid a visit to Penetanguishene Council.

"I want to make sure they uphold their promise, that it's going back into public hands (if the Liberals come into power)," she said, noting that she will soon meet with the parliamentary assistant to Monte Kwinter, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, to discuss her findings, at Queen's Park.

When considering whether to extend the MTC contract, Dion wants the government to take into consideration the deaths, violence, and one instance where the wrong inmate was released, over the past four years.

But Low cautions that the incidents must be put in perspective.

"What happens in correctional services, broadly across the province, also involves some things that are both unfortunate and things that we would like not to reoccur," he pointed out.

"So, we have to look at the experience both in the context of what the expectations were for the contract and in the context of correctional services overall."

Currently, a comparison study is taking place between the publicly-run Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay and CNCC.

These results will also be included in the input to the ministry.

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