February 23, 2015
Corrections Division Chair,
Ontario Public Service Employees Union,
100 Lesmill Road,
Toronto, ON M3B 3P8
Re: Prison guards say province must prevent drug-smuggling.
Increased violence, overdoses a result of ongoing problem
Toronto Star, Thursday, February 19, 2015
Dear Mr. Vieselmeyer:
What’s been left unsaid here is a Catch 22 you’ve hesitated to identify but which threatens your membership with unwelcome difficulties.
I’m a federal prisons’ specialist, and although I’m less familiar with Ontario’s provincial jails, I can speak to the drug problem you addressed for the Toronto Star.
There’s no doubt that if every prisoner was turned inside-out upon admission to provincial institutions, the price of drugs would increase beyond their already inflated values. But, they would still be available. I was only a little surprised to learn a number of years ago how easily a clean-as-a-whistle and enterprising inmate could arrange for whatever he wanted to be put into his hands.
I take no pleasure in the quandary, but you should be careful for what you wish until all involved are prepared to cope with what lies beyond more stringent prohibition practices.
Charles H. Klassen
This has come up….again….because two inmates died from overdoses in two southern Ontario jails in mid-February, and there was at least another two overdoses where the inmates survived. I’ve become more than a little cynical on the subject of drugs in provincial institutions. While I don’t doubt the sincerity of the concern for the safely of staff and inmates, this is also an on-going political football in which sides are chosen, points are scored, games are won and lost, and the battle continues.