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(KINGSTON – May 22, 2012) Correctional officers who work at Leclerc Institution in Laval, Quebec, are visiting Kingston for a demonstration beginning at noon today.

They will be showing solidarity for fellow members of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) at Kingston Penitentiary and the Regional Treatment Centre. The Conservative government announced April 19 it would close all three institutions despite having no viable options to house their current combined population of about 1000 inmates.

“It’s important that we all stand together to make the government understand that this decision was made in error, but it’s a mistake that we still have time to correct,” said UCCO-SACC-CSN Quebec Regional President Pierre Dumont.

A media story yesterday indicated the federal government had put a price tag of only $17.6 million on Kingston Penitentiary, noted Ontario Regional President Jason Godin.

“Canadian taxpayers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize Kingston Pen over the last several years,” Mr. Godin noted. “Now that investment is being wasted, even as we have no safe place to house KP’s very dangerous inmate population. That’s not going to save money for the Canadian public, but it will put them at risk.”

Busloads of correctional officers from Laval will arrive at Kingston Penitentiary at about 11:30 am for the mid-day demonstration. Officers from the Ontario region will return the favour at Leclerc Institution June 4.

“The federal government needs to begin a dialogue with correctional officers on alternatives to closing these institutions,” insisted the union’s National President, Pierre Mallette. “We are the people who will bear the brunt of this decision, they need to take our views and experience into account.”

For more information: Lyle Stewart, CSN communications service

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