Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC): Ontario’s Modern-Day Tower of London?

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the famous (infamous) Tower of London served as a prison for nobles and royalty. Barbaric conditions and brutal executions were the norm and it would seem that the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC), in London, ON, is quickly becoming Ontario’s modern-day version of that historical site.

It has been slightly less than a year where Adam Kargus was beaten by another inmate, and left to die by EMDC staff. That resulted in EMDC staff being fired, investigated, and criminally charged. And, just this week, another inmate tried to hang himself and later died at EMDC – this, while supposedly being held in segregation. To make matters worse, the in-fighting has caused an appalling number of lockdowns and denials of basic, human necessities such as food, medication, and showers.

Draconian conditions abound: Inmates who have lived under these conditions, have resorted to rioting, which has led to floodings, fires, and other assaults. Sanitary conditions have degenerated to the point where mold has grown on some of the tables in the jail. Three people locked in cells designed for two has led to inmates engaging in fighting amongst themselves.

I certainly grant that the purpose of jail is to punish. But, what of those who are held while their cases are still pending? Worse yet, what of those who are held but whose cases are eventually withdrawn? These people would have lived through Hell for virtually no reason. And, given it’s purpose of punishment, that does not equate to torture – and certainly not to the level of this suffering.

Apparently, there is a task force that has been setup to address the issues going on at EMDC.  But, so far, the only action that has been reported in any way, shape or form, has been a tour of the facility.  People are dying, and the only thing that is being done is…is…what?

The modern day version of the Tower of London is not a “nickname” that any institution should desire.  Sadly, EMDC is barreling in that direction and Death and Destruction are left in its wake.

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