I'm writing this letter in response to our town getting a new OPP detachment as a concerned citizen, but also as an employee (correctional officer) at the Fort Frances Jail.
However. before I go any further, let me say I am extremely please the OPP are getting this new detachment; it's needed and well-deserved.
As a member of the justice workforce, with a close working relationship with the OPP, I recognize the need for modern and up to date infrastructure. It's absolutely vital.
If I may though, I would like to bring some attention to our town's aging correctional facility.
The Fort Frances Jail first opened in 1907. Over the last 112 years (yes, that's right, 112), there have been virtually no significant structural/infrastructural changes to the building. Cosmetic fixes and “Band-aid” solutions are the inly things that have been done to the jail over the years.
When I read statements about the current OPP detachment and how our provincial government recognizes how “out of date the Fort Frances detachment building was," and it "having reached its useful lifespan,” I say that these comment could absolutely be applied to our local jail.
If Mayor Caul would like to see the paint coming off the walls (amongst other things), I'd be happy to take her on a tour of the facility myself to show her just that.
Fact of the matter is this: We have a fully-functioning correctional facility in our town that runs 24/7/365.
There is approximately 40 staff employed that earn a decent wage, and that money goes directly back into our local economy.
The jail is at, or near, capacity all the time. It has been repeatedly ignored at the provincial level when it comes to get any significant upgrades to its infrastructure for reasons that are, for the most part, unknown.
Our local courthouse hasn't had a full-time judge since 2012, yet for the last several summers, we've watched major windows projects happen, new roofing be put on, and new exterior brickwork be done on the building—and that's just what we can see from the outside.
Again, all these fixes are well deserved I'm sure, but why does our local correctional facility continue to be ignored?
Thus, this is where I call on Mayor Caul and our town council to become actively involved locally, and at the provincial level, in getting our local jail the improvements it needs.
It's absolutely deserved and overdue.
Finally, I'd like to invite Mayor Caul , as well as any town councillors, to make themselves available for a tour of the facility, to truly see a building that has reached its useful lifespan.
Thank you for your time.
OPSEU Local 718,
Fort Frances Jail