Do Ontario prisoners need more phone access?
When Krista tried calling a 24-hour mental-health crisis line from an Ontario jail, she says, she couldn’t connect. “I tried three or four times, and it wouldn’t go through. I was having a mental breakdown … in here, they don’t care,” says Krista (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) from inside a provincial detention centre.
Advocates, academics, and prisoners themselves suggest that barriers to accessing services remotely from inside prison are common. Experts say that they are the result of an outdated telephone system that is overseen by the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General and, since 2013, has been contracted out to Bell Canada.