‘Effective Immediately’: Jail Memo Tells Staff it’s Curtains for Shower Cells
A memo has been posted at the Ottawa jail telling staff to stop putting inmates into shower cells, not long after Postmedia revealed the controversial practice was continuing despite a direct order from the minister that it should stop.
“Effective immediately and under no circumstances will inmates be housed in any shower areas of the institution. This practice will cease immediately. Shower cells will only be used for shower purposes,” wrote Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre Supt. Maureen Harvey in the memo, which was dated March 30.
The memo was posted after Postmedia inquired about staff reports that shower cells were continuing to be used, even though Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi ordered an end to the “completely unacceptable” and “appalling” practice this past weekend.
An inmate was placed in a shower cell in the jail’s A pod on Tuesday after a fight, a source told Postmedia. The inmate was served dinner in the cell, which doesn’t have a sink or a toilet. It isn’t known exactly how long the inmate remained in the cell. The practice allegedly continued Wednesday, when two more inmates were placed in segregation shower cells until the jail’s deputy superintendent abruptly ordered them removed in the afternoon after Postmedia contacted both Naqvi’s office and the ministry to inquire about whether they were still being used.
A source within the institution said it appeared the jail’s managers had interpreted the minister’s orders to mean that inmates shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in the cells, but could still be placed in them otherwise.
Naqvi said Wednesday the ministry had launched an investigation to determine if his directive was being ignored.