Rise in complaints against Ontario jails



LONDON -- The number of complaints to the Ontario ombudsman about the province's jails rose about 8% last year, once again topping the list of cases handled by the provincial office.

Many complaints were about the lack of mental health and medical treatment, but Andre Marin's office said there's no plan yet to launch a system-wide investigation into the issues.

Marin's annual report, released Tuesday, contains a year's worth statistics about complaints to different ministries about different services and institutions.

In 2012/2013, the ombudsman received 4,477 complaints about correctional facilities, up from 4,135 the previous year.

Complaints about London's Elgin-Middlesex Detention centre rose to 249 from 209.

"Due to the consistently high number of complaints received from correctional institutions across the province, the ombudsman's strategy is to focus resources on those involving serious health and safety issues," the report from Andrew Marin said.

"We  . . .  continue to receive a high volume of complaints from inmates about health-related issues, such as a lack of access to medication, medical staff or treatment . . . We also received a large number of complaints from inmates with serious mental illnesses who faced long waits to see a psychiatrist, and about a lack of services for female inmates with mental health issues."

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