Hunger Strike Helps Expose Deficient Conditions and Mistreatment at Central North Correctional Centre
For Immediate Release: Feb 9th, 2013
Issued by the Support Committee for David Cedeño
Penetangueshene ON - David Cedeño, currently imprisoned at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC), ended his 20 day hunger strike on January 28th as a show of good faith to the institution after he met with prison staff. David, a 29 year old father, was on hunger strike to protest the substandard conditions he has been forced to endure while incarcerated at the CNCC, as well as to obtain access to educational programming and adequate health treatment. Since this meeting however, agreements made have not been honoured and David continues to experience harassment and mistreatment from guards.
David, himself in segregation since September 2012, was also motivated to undertake a hunger strike after months of witnessing and experiencing verbal and physical abuse by CNCC staff – some of which has been understood as racially motivated. David Cedeño’s reports of harassment and discrimination are not an isolated incident. In recent months there have been reports from Ontario jails’ where prisoners are being denied access to basic hygiene materials, health care services, books, and letters, as well as suffering verbal and physical abuse by guards.
In 2011, The Office of the Ontario Ombudsman launched a full investigation against provincial prison guards because of the high number of reported physical assaults by Correctional staff concluding “what's even more disturbing are the allegations that the violence has been covered up or ignored by a ‘code of silence’ within the prison.” Also in 2011, The Canadian Immigration Report showed that there had been a 50% increase in black inmates due to “Canada’s ‘racist’ prison system”.
It is clear that there is increased targeting of racialized people and that there is a history of abuse coming from jail staff - the CNCC apparently is no exception. However, some of the conditions that David is speaking out against are the responsibility of the Ministry of Correctional Services. This past year lockup times (the time when inmates are sent back into their cells) have been pushed back nearly 2 hours - which means imprisoned people can no longer call their loved ones after 6pm, when the already very expensive collect-call rates are cheaper, and when family members are more likely home. It is imperative that the CNCC take responsibility for its abuses, and that the Ministry step up to remedy this situation.
The SCDC is a small organization of advocates who seek to provide resources and support to imprisoned people, and who are supporting David during his ongoing battle for equitable treatment under Ontario’s Code of Human Rights. For more information about David check www.facebook.com/SupportDavidCedeno
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