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Article: Behind Bars - OHS Canada - BCGEU

Behind Bars - OHS Canada (feat. Component 1 VP Dean Purdy)

An increase in reported inmate-on-staff violence in Ontario's correctional institutions has led to the release of a report by the province's independent corrections adviser in December 2018, offering 42 recommendations aimed at making jails safer. But correctional violence is not unique to Ontario - it is a nationwide problem.

Last year, correctional staff in British Columbia decided that enough was enough after an inmate's unprovoked assault on a correctional officer at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. The British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) held a rally outside Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge on February 23, 2018 to publicize their concerns about staffing issues and inmate violence.

"That was just one of many assaults (we saw) in 2018" at 10 jails across the province, Dean Purdy, BCGEU's vicepresident and chair of the Corrections and Sheriff Services Component, says of the assault that triggered the rally.

Purdy says the rally highlighted the fact that British Columbia has the highest inmate-to-staff ratio in Canada - up to 40 inmates per staffer at Fraser and reaching 72 to one at two other prisons in the province. Prior to 2002, there was a cap of one staff member per 20 inmates. "Any time it went over 20 inmates, we received a second officer for security and safety reasons. That went away in 2002."

Click here to read the whole article from OHS Canada.