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A prison officer who lifted the lid on the treatment of a mentally ill inmate placed in solitary confinement has been threatened with dismissal.
Chris Jackel, a guard at the maximum-security correctional centre in Ontario, posted about the inmate’s conditions in a series of tweets in May 2017.
The long-serving officer described an inmate’s mental health plight and alleged managerial flaws.
“What are we going to do with this [segregation inmate] who has been covered in faeces for 8 days, and has been seen eating it?” the officer posted on May 4.
The tweets, directed to the Ontario Ombudsman – a watchdog that regulates correctional services – contains graphic photos of the inmate’s faeces smeared across the window with blood splattered over the bed.
But four days later he said there was no change to the situation. “Still in urine/feces soaked cell. Still eating his own feces,” he posted on May 8.
The officer alleges managerial staff at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene shrugged and gave “don’t know” answers when asked for advice from other employees.
On May 10, Mr Jackel tweeted a photo of a different cell covered in faeces and other detritus and wrote: “Hostile mentally-ill [inmate] lived here for 2 + weeks. [Correctional Officers] asked 2 remove him…Mgt said no.”
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services later sent Mr Jackel a letter asking him to attend a meeting to discuss “his inappropriate use of social media” after discovering his tweets online.
The letter, tweeted by Mr Jackel on July 24 , called the tweets a violation of three different employer policies, specifically those on ethical principles and conduct, social media use and the ministry’s professionalism policy.
Mr Jackel has been a correctional officer for over 22 years. He launched a blog to highlight the issues relating to the practices at correctional facilities.
He wrote in a post: “I find myself increasingly frustrated with either the lack of direction or the lack of foresight by our Employer.”
“Equally frustrating are commentaries from various stakeholders calling for an absolute abolishment of segregation … Therefore I’ve started this blog.”
He now reportedly faces disciplinary action for blowing the whistle on jail conditions in Canada.
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