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Strip searches, inmate deaths among concerns in Ontario jails, report finds

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Ontario's independent corrections adviser says the province is one of the only jurisdictions in Canada that does not have a law limiting the use of strip searches in jails.

Howard Sapers says the charter strictly limits the use of strip searches due to their degrading nature, but Ontario not only does not have legislative provisions to address this, but correctional policy actually requires regular strip searches.

The need for a new Corrections Act that addresses that gap, among others, is one of 62 recommendations in a report released Tuesday by Sapers. Corrections Minister Marie-France Lalonde says the government will address all of Sapers' recommendations and will introduce new corrections legislation this fall.

Sapers also says there is almost no law in Ontario directing how inmate complaints should be handled and most deaths in custody are not subject to a fully arms-length review. He also found that even though most people in Ontario jails are on remand, meaning they are legally innocent, nearly all are held in maximum security because the province has no minimum security institutions.

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