Justice for Soli Tentatively Welcomes Ontario’s Updated Training for Corrections OfficersWritten by Justice for Soli
Justice of Soli Campaign is calling on province to release details on consultation process; program changes
Toronto, Ont. – On January 13, the Ministry of the Solicitor General announced the launch of a new curriculum as an update of its training program for corrections officers.
“The province’s announcement of a redesigned curriculum for new correctional officers has come as a surprise to many of the stakeholders seeking greater transparency and reform within our justice system,” said Yusuf Faqiri, founder and lead of the Justice for Soli campaign. “The suddenness with which changes have been announced has us greatly concerned about the consultation process involved.”
The Justice for Soli Campaign is concerned about the Ontario Government’s expediency to issue a new curriculum while a criminal investigation is ongoing into the death of Soleiman Faqiri, who was killed while under government care by correctional staff at the Central East Correctional Centre (CECC) in Lindsay, Ontario. Furthermore, without the conclusion of an inquest into Soleiman’s death, much remains unknown to the public as to how Soleiman was killed. Soleiman’s case has received national attention and helped to bring greater awareness to the crisis of deaths of inmates who suffered from mental illness.
The family and the public have been calling for accountability and transparency not only for justice to be served, but for reform to the correctional system. The development of a new training program — even one that purports to include human rights, mental health, health and safety, and teamwork — is premature until Soleiman’s death is addressed.
“The government has yet to show accountability and responsibility for my brother’s death and these announced changes are not that,” said Mr. Faqiri. “No families we are aware of were asked to participate. Did the government consult on this new program? If so, when and how? And if not, why not? We have called for change and would have gladly shared our insight.”
“Given all we know about the inability of services and prisons to respond appropriately to individuals with mental health issues, it strikes me that it would be for the government to invest in mental health services in the community and focus on decarcerating those with mental health issues, " stated Senator Kim Pate, Independent Senator for Ontario, Territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg.