A BC provincial court judge who handed down a 14-month sentence to an inmate of Surrey Pretrial Services Centre for assaulting a correctional officer denounced the inmate for his actions. The victim, a long-time BCGEU member, was the target of a vicious assault using fecal matter. Read more details of the trial here
In Judge Peder Gulbransen's reasons for sentence, he said: "The court must denounce this kind of conduct. I think both counsel have described it properly, it is disgusting, it is dehumanizing, it is vile, it is vicious."
The judge also underlined the important work of corrections officers, and that the court must impose sentences which deter other inmates by showing that there are stiff consequences for these actions.
A victim impact statement prepared by the BCGEU was read out in court by Crown Counsel. The BCGEU and BC Corrections developed an impact statement template that will be utilized by all BC prisons moving forward.
Read more of the judge's excerpts from the reasons for sentencing below.
"...Prison and corrections officers are in some ways more vulnerable than police officers because they are dealing with a number of people who are concentrated in one building and they have to deal with all varieties of people; mentally ill people, drug addicts, personality disorders, gang members, pathetic people. They have a whole variety of people and not only do they have to protect themselves, watch out for themselves, but they have to watch out for other prisoners."
"…The prisoners know that they have got rules that they have to obey. The corrections officers know it. Corrections officers are not interested in punishing or harming people. They are interested in making sure people get treated fairly, get fed, get treated as human beings."
"…We have a vulnerable person here, who is trying to do her job, trying to do her job treating people in prison humanely, and this man threw feces in her face."
"…One has to remember how important the job of corrections officers is, how vulnerable they are and how they have to be protected as much as a court can by recognizing the seriousness of this kind of conduct on the health and on the well-being of this corrections officer… this attack on her was not a personal attack, it was an attack on all corrections officers and that is why denunciation is so important here."
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BCGEU Headquarters is on the unceded and shared traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skxwú7mesh (Squamish) & Səlí̓ lwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.