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Jail temporarily closed after standoff


The Fort Frances Jail has been closed, with prisoners sent to facilities in Kenora and Thunder Bay, following last week’s standoff after two inmates took several correctional officers hostage.

“They have been transferred to other correctional facilities in the province,” said Ministry of Correctional Services spokesperson Julie Rosenberg.

Two of the 14 inmates in the jail at the time are being blamed for the standoff, which began when they refused to obey orders from jail staff around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The remaining inmates reportedly were in their cells throughout the standoff, which ended around 4 p.m. on Friday.

“The two inmates surrendered to police and the rest of the inmates were locked in their cells,” confirmed Rosenberg.

Throughout Thursday night and for much of the day Friday, the OPP, ministry employees, and members of an Institutional Crisis Intervention Team negotiated with the two inmates until they finally surrendered.

They were brought into the fenced yard behind the jail and one by one, under heavy escort, led into holding cells in the OPP station and later taken to the other facilities.

A Tactical Response Unit (TRU) of more than 40 officers--flown in from London and Barrie--had arrived at the Fort Frances OPP station next to the jail but the situation was resolved before they were called into action.

Little information about the hostage-taking has been released and the jail is still surrounded by yellow tape as the investigation continues. The facility will be closed for at least a week.

Although there were no injuries reported, the ministry has not revealed whether any weapons were used by the two inmates.

“There’s no word yet on whether criminal charges will be laid,” said Rosenberg

Three corrections officers and the jail manager were in the building when the standoff began but the inmates had released two of them by Friday morning.

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