Violence on the rise: BC Corrections releases new stats on prison violence

February 20, 2017

New statistics released by BC Corrections show that prison violence in BC continues to rise. Assaults on correctional officers rose by 39 per cent between 2014 and 2015, and the new stats indicate that – based on the halfway point of 2016 – this figure is projected to rise by another 21.5 per cent for 2016. 

“These numbers continue to increase and it’s very concerning for us,” said Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice President, Corrections and Sheriff Services. “We know there is a direct correlation to the increase in violence and to officer-to-inmate ratios and capacity. Our members are telling us they can’t keep working under these conditions. Something’s got to give.”

The total number of incidents of violence rose by 42 per cent between 2014 and 2015 and are projected to rise by another 12 per cent by the end of 2016. This tells us that the estimated number of violent incidents for 2016 will be over 1,600 province-wide. 

“Correctional officers work in high-risk and very dangerous environments,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “It is troubling to see the numbers rising. These new statistics prove that now, more than ever, the BC government and WCB must address the issue of prison violence. The safety and security of our members – and our communities – is at stake.”

Component VP Dean Purdy and members of your component executive will be meeting with representatives from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) tomorrow. Your union continues to urge WCB and the provincial government to address and acknowledge the increase in workplace violence towards our province’s corrections officers. Strategies must be collectively developed in order to mitigate the violence and time loss to our officers who protect the general public and keep our communities safe.

The new numbers reaffirm the importance of your union’s Prison Safety Now campaign. Share the petition and let’s make prison violence an issue as we head into the provincial election this May.