Guards hold noon-hour protest over prison safety

Number of inmates, attacks on officers, increasing says union

Correctional officers stood in the heavy snow halfway up the mountain in Maple Ridge Friday, in front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, calling for better working conditions.

The number of inmates and the type of inmates crammed into B.C. jails, is threatening the safety of guards, said Dean Purdy with the B.C. Government Employees Union.

He said the inmate-to-staff ratio is now as high as 72:1. He said in a release Friday that before 2001, that ratio was capped at 20:1.

“Unless changes are made, B.C.’s correctional officers will continue to be put at high risk.”

Recently, a prison guard had his finger cut off while another had his head stomped on by inmates while he was unconscious. A female officer had feces thrown in her face. The number of attacks on officers is skyrocketing, he added.

“We could easily have had a death on the job,” Purdy said. The union is meeting with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General soon to discuss the issue.

Maple Ridge resident Verity Howarth said she has friends who work in the Maple Ridge prison and worries about their safety. “When you look at the staffing ratios, it’s same thing I see in health and education.”

“But these guys, when they go in there with these ratios, they’re in danger. If something happens and they don’t even have support lose their jobs, I think that’s very dangerous.”

Two officers recently have been disciplined for use of force in an altercation with an inmate but the process is being grieved by the union.

An auditor’s general report in 2015 said that Fraser Regional racked up the highest number of safety and security incidents, nearly 1,200 year, by 2012. That’s about 50 per cent more than the next-most violent prisons in the B.C. Corrections system in Nanaimo and Prince George.

That also represented a 33-per-cent increase at Fraser Regional over the previous year.

Purdy added that Fraser Regional was built with a capacity for about 300 inmates but now has more than 500.

Just Posted

Two Langley affordable housing projects get provincial funding

First phase of $1.9 billion program to build residences for low and middle-income people

Court denies bid to overturn Langley City election

Serena Oh won’t be allowed to launch a legal action against the City.

LETTER: Canada should not be selling weapons abroad

A Langley man is critical of Canada for selling arms that are being used to kill civilians.

Langley author pens tribute to the men and women of Canada’s military for Remembrance Day

‘A soldier, a sailor and an airman … stood before the Pearly Gates’

LETTER: Langley candidate pleasantly surprised by campaign

A local woman who ran for municipal council is grateful for the experience.

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read