Jail guards want help against prison gangs

Union demands special units, training to help control gangs behind bars

Ontario jail guards are calling for the creation of special units to help handle the hundreds of notorious gang members being thrown in jails following police raids across the GTA.

“Most of the serious gang members end up here,” Nick Mustari, of Local 517 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said yesterday of the Metro West Detention Centre. “This jail is overcrowded and the inmates are dangerous.”

Mustari said officers are seizing more weapons and drugs being smuggled in for use and sale by gang members, who often take their disputes with them from the street to the cells.

‘IT’S CRAZY’

He said a health and safety committee last month heard renewed calls for gang units, ranging from two to four officers, to monitor activity in GTA jails; including the Don and Maplehurst Correctional Complex.

“There are so many different gangs in jail, its crazy,” Mustari said . “The training will benefit everyone who works here.”

He said the courses will help guards identify gangmembers by their tattoos, drawings, nicknames, speech and colour of clothing worn.

“Gang training will help us collect information,” he said. “Some of this information might be useful to police.”

Stuart McGetrick, of the provincial correctional services ministry, said enough is being done already to teach officers about gangs.

“Gang awareness training is part of a correctional officer’s professional development,” McGetrick said. “It is also part of their basic training.”

Union officials said they want advanced training for all 4,500 Ontario guards.

More than 300 suspected gangmembers were rounded up and jailed this year by police in the GTA, with 36 alone nabbed last June in

source: http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2009/01/01/7893616-sun.html

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