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Queen's Park eager to make superjail a success

Letter, March 5, 2003
Midland Free Press

After reading letters to the editor in response to the articles on cost-cutting measures at Ontario's superjail in Penetanguishene, I felt compelled to write.

Inmates who are serving a sentence for their crimes are sent to jail as a punishment. They are not in jail to be mistreated, starved or beaten. The inmates at this facility are also not being given their medications as prescribed or are being denied proper medical treatment.

Society cannot just throw these people into jail and throw away the key because society will reap what it allows to be sown. There are people in the remand section of this facility who have not been convicted of any crime, but who are also suffering the same abuses and conditions as sentenced inmates.

You cannot expect people to come out of a correctional institution where they have been degraded and treated as profit producing "units," to be redeemed and ready to conform to our laws.

If you lock people up and treat them inhumanely, then they will be released into society in worse shape than when they were first incarcerated.

The Utah-based Management and Training Corporation Canada charges the Ontario government $75 per day per inmate. When you figure in what MTC has to pay for heat, hydro, laundry and the salaries of office, medical and correctional staff, that does not leave much funding to pay for food, vocational training, anger management, substance and addiction counselling, and all the other programs that are necessary to assist an inmate in their rehabilitation.

MTC is a for-profit corporation and its mandate is to make money. If that means saving money by cost cutting on food or counselling, then that is what it will do. MTC also saves an incredibly large sum of money by not paying business taxes.

The current government of Ontario gave MTC a sweetheart deal to operate this facility, and both the government and MTC are doing everything in their power to make this "experiment" in "cost-savings" appear successful.

After all, an election will have to be called eventually.

Violet Cameron Keith, Midland

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