Solicitor General Responds to Mayor Bill Mauro

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Thunder Bay District Jail shot at night. January 23 2020
Thunder Bay District Jail shot at night. January 23 2020

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro’s letter to the Solicitor General has received a response.

Mayor Mauro was seeking answers from the Solicitor General, and spoke to NetNewsledger this afternoon.

Stephen Warner, a spokesperson for Solicitor General Jones, in responding to an inquiry from NetNewsLedger provided this response to the Mayor’s letter:

“Protecting the health and safety of correctional services staff and those in provincial custody is the ministry’s top priority. Over the last number of months, the ministry has made important operational changes across all provincial correctional facilities including:

o         Screening and testing all newly admitted inmates, with their consent

o         Housing all newly admitted inmates in a separate area from the general population for 14 days

o         Masks provided to inmates, if required

o         Providing personal protective equipment for all staff

o         Requiring all staff to wear a mask and appropriate eye protection at all times while at the facility

o         Requiring visitors to wear masks at all times while at the facility

o         Requiring temperature checks for staff and visitors

o         Working with local public health units to test inmates and staff as appropriate.

o         Increased cleaning measures

“As required, a copy of the public health order has been posted in the discharge area where it can be viewed by inmates prior to their release.  Each inmate being discharged is also provided a copy of the order and are asked by staff to acknowledge that they understand what is expected of them.  All inmates being discharged are also provided with information and resources on COVID-19 symptoms, self-isolation, physical distancing, hand hygiene and when and how to wear a mask.

“Inmates are encouraged to work with corrections staff to plan for their release from provincial custody however, participation in discharge planning is not mandatory. Inmates can choose not to participate, and their consent is required when sharing personal information with community agencies and/or Indigenous organizations. The ministry has strong local and provincial partnerships with social services agencies as well as Indigenous organizations, which provide valuable supports and services to inmates while they are in custody and following their release.

“Ministry staff is working with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to safely transport discharged inmates, irrespective of COVID status, to safe, stable and appropriate settings identified by the health unit to self-isolate, for an appropriate period, before integrating into the community.

“However, the ministry has no legal grounds to hold anyone in custody beyond the date specified in a court order or to monitor and oversee an individual who has been directed to self-isolate upon release from custody.”