One week after a riot broke out in the North Bay jail, the investigation into what lead up to the disturbance continues.
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesperson, Andrew Morrison says the ministry will be conducting a thorough investigation.
"It's difficult to get a time on it, so we just let it unfold as it needs to be. We want to make sure that policies and procedures were followed, and just generally find out what happened so that should such a matter arise again at some time, we would be able to take those lessons learned and respond."
President of Ontario Public Services Union Local 616, Steve White, says last weekend's violent incident broke out around six o'clock Saturday night, lasting until 3:00 Sunday morning.One unit of the facility suffered damage and a Correctional Officer was treated and released from hospital.
"I'm hoping they'll see we need more help from Corrections. Jails across the province are aging, some are dealing with issues related to overcrowding. We were on the list of four jails, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and North Bay. And the top two got jails for this year. Nobody knows right now when or if we're getting a new jail," said White.
"The jail was built for 125 prisoners.We need a better facility, better programming. We do a very good job with what we have. Keeping staff levels up is paramount. Our social workers and nurses are very well trained but we don't have the resources to better handle some of the situations. There is a lack of attention to inmates with mental health problems. They should be receiving separate treatment, but we have only four segregation cells because the building is so old."
The Ministry is currently undertaking a review of all its correctional infrastructure.
"They've committed to building new jails in Thunder Bay and Ottawa at this point. So those two are projects that are under development now. The rest of the infrastructure review is on-going, so it's yet to be determined if there will be other projects down the road," explained the Ministry spokesperson.
"There are 26 provincial correctional facilities. So it takes some time as you can appreciate, plus over a large geography, to make those assessments and then take all that analysis back and put it into a plan. All 26 institutions are on that list including the one in North Bay. They're having a look at each of them to determine what kind of infrastructure would work best. So its a work in progress."
Morrison says the criteria for building new is based on need and funding availability.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli toured the North Bay jail last year.
"There's definitely a crisis in corrections, there's no question about that. I toured the North Bay jail last year, the facility is outdated and it will be tough to modernize. You can tell the government has its priorities all wrong, they're just obviously not paying attention to the corrections system in Ontario, said Fedeli.
"Whether its mental health, I saw the solitary conditions as well, it definitely does not meet the standards of a building in 2017 and the demands of society in 2017, including mental health."