Toronto South Detention Centre, Etobicoke, Ontario
August 18 – August 21, 2015
November 18 – November 20, 2015
Prisoners at the Toronto South Detention Centre stage a series of hunger strikes to protest inhuman conditions at the new superjail that has been deemed a “$1-billion hellhole” by the media. Prisoners complain that due to under-staffing, they have been on lock down more than 100 days so far that year without access to phones, showers, recreation, visitation or meetings with their lawyers. Prisoners, most of whom have not yet been convicted of any crime, complain of being chronically late to court dates due to lockdowns. The prison guard union claims that the prison has 300 less staff than it needs to run efficiently.
The initial strike lasts three days before being suspended following negotiations with staff. Almost immediately, prisoners begin threatening to begin their strike anew, claiming the prison administration is not doing enough to remedy their concerns.
Three months later, on November 18, 2015, prisoners stage another hunger strike, this time lasting two days, with at least 179 prisoners refusing meals, according to the prison administration.
“Inmates at Toronto South Detention Centre threaten to resume hunger strike“, Toronto Star, August 23, 2015.
“The $1-Billion Hellhole“, Toronto Life, February 15, 2017.