Charter Rights
Story Archives
Sign Our Guestbook
View Guestbook
Contact Capp @   or   Post Comments  CAPP Message Board   and  Any Upcoming Events

Editorial - Letter of the Day
Midland Free Press
RE: In Reply to "People as guinea pigs at Super Jail"

By Violet Cameron Keith
Friday, February 14, 2003

In the February 7th edition of the Midland Free Press, regarding the Super Jail, your editorial pointed out that your paper had received many unsigned letters from persons "unknown" who suggested the paper "lay off picking on the facility" because of some of the articles in which your paper notified the public of some of the issues and abuses that have occurred at the Central North Correctional Centre which is operated by Management Training Corporation of Utah.

The C.N.C.C. is operated by a for-profit, multi-national corporation. It is not performing its' duties for generous and altruistic reasons.

Her interest revolves around her son Ryan Skillen, who has been jailed for months.

"My son is bipolar, and he is in a fragile state," said Storring-Skillen.

Her son is in custody for creating a pipebomb and setting it off in a field in Barrie last summer.

During the accident, Ryan lost most of the fingers and thumb on his left hand.

"He went to specialist Dr. Ross in St. Joseph's Hospital in London, where he had 78 stitches. His thumb, baby finger and ring finger were saved, but his index and middle finger had to be amputated."

Ryan was sent to the Central North Correctional Centre to await his trial, and the doctor requested his bandages be changed daily, to prevent infection.

But Storring-Skillen said that didn't happen.

"There was one time he wore the same dressing for six days. There was swelling and he had to go on antibiotics. Ryan also had a check-up with Dr. Ross, and the jail cancelled that medical appointment, because I believe they didn't want to drive to London."

Although Storring-Skillen doesn't condone any of the crimes committed by those in jail, she wants inmates to have rights too.

"He (her son) could've developed gangrene, which could've sent poison to his heart or brain."

Recently, Ryan was sent to the Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre for a psychiatric evaluation, and Storring-Skillen said he was given the proper medical and nutritional attention there.

He had physiotherapy for his left hand, and his needs were looked after.

Once Ryan was sent back to the jail, Storring-Skillen decided it was time to speak up.

And she found a friend in Debbie Abbott, deputy director of FAPPA.

"My son Mike Abbott is in the jail after a fight in Barrie on April 6. He was hit with a billy club and had a mild concussion," said Abbott. He was not sent to the hospital, but instead went directly to Penetanguishene, and approximately two months later, he had a seizure and hit his head on the cement.

"He was finally taken to the hospital, but because it was time for the guards to change shifts, he had no CAT scan."

Abbott called Penetanguishene resident Sharon Dion, chair of Citizens Against Private Prisons, to complain, and she was put in touch with Storring-Skillen.

"As a parent, it's hard to imagine not being able to give your child basic medical care," said Abbott.

She said the riot at the jail in September was over lack of medical treatment, and she predicts there will be more problems if the situation is not changed.

"The remand inmates have less rights than the rest of the population. They don't get to go to any of the classes, like anger management. They are supposed to sit in their cells day after day."

Although both of their sons' cases are still before the courts, they want to create fair and proper treatment for all inmates, whether they are sentenced or awaiting trial.

Storring-Skillen has scheduled meetings with facility administrator Doug Thomson, and has already met with him for more than an hour, to inform him about the FAPPA task force.

"We want to let people know we are out there, to give people some education. Yes, the people in jail have made a mistake, but it's only two years less a day. They are still human, and deserve to be treated fairly."

Storring-Skillen wants to make FAPPA a provincewide group, which will work with the John Howard Society.

She also plans to have an information night in Barrie to talk to other parents, spouses, or families who have someone staying at the jail sometime in the next few months.

If you have concerns about an inmate's health at the jail, contact Abbott at 721-9730, or e-mail her at

| Post Any Upcoming Events | Top of Page | Home Page | Post Comments on Message Board |