Last week, a BC court judge handed down a 14-month sentence to an inmate of Surrey Pretrial Services Centre for assaulting a correctional officer. The victim, a long-time BCGEU member, was the target of a vicious assault using fecal matter.
The Crown asked for 12 months, but the judge sentenced the inmate to 14 months of additional time. The judge stated that it's the prisons’ responsibility to ensure the safety of their officers, adding that the incident was not just an assault but was dehumanizing and will have a physical and psychological impact.
As recent statistics have shown, prison violence is on the rise and incidents like this are becoming more common within the BC’s prison system.
A victim impact statement prepared by the BCGEU was read out in court by Crown Counsel. The BCGEU and BC Corrections are working together on creating an impact statement template to be utilized by all BC prisons moving forward.
“This sentencing is a reminder for Public Safety Minister Mike Morris and BC’s court system to take notice of the extremely dangerous and violent conditions our officers are faced with every day,” said Dean Purdy, Vice President, Corrections and Sheriff Services.
“This was an unprovoked and disgusting attack and we’re hopeful the sentence will send a message to other inmates that it’s not okay to assault correctional officers,” said Purdy. “The job of correctional officers is already very difficult, but with the increase in gangs, inmates with mental health issues, overcrowding, and now the growing issue of high potency drugs and overdoses, it creates a work environment with extreme stress levels.”