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BCGEU rally against prison violence

DATE:            Friday, February 23, 2018

TIME:            11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

LOCATION:    Fraser Regional Correctional Centre: 13777 256 St, Maple Ridge


Correctional officers will be protesting outside of the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC) to bring attention to the rapidly increasing incidents of violence against correctional officers.

Correctional officers (CO) work day and night to keep inmates safe from violence, but their job is stressful, dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. In the last few months, a CO had his finger severed, another had his head stomped on and yet another was assaulted with feces thrown in her face by inmates. 

"Prison violence continues to escalate and assaults on corrections officers have skyrocketed. These officers put their lives at risk every day and it's just a matter of time before one of our members gets killed on the job," says Dean Purdy, BCGEU Vice President, Corrections and Sheriff Services. "We have managers who haven't worked a day on the frontlines of a maximum security correctional centre. How are these officers supposed to protect themselves if senior management won't protect them?"

The union is concerned about the health and safety of its members, who are being targeted.

Prior to 2001, the inmate-to-staff ratio in BC's correctional facilities was capped at 20:1. The ratio is now as high as 72:1 and recent statistics from Corrections BC show that assaults on officers and inmate-on-inmate violence continues to rise. 

"We are the only jail in Canada that has one officer with up to 72 inmates. It's not good enough," said Purdy. "There is an opportunity now for the new BC NDP government to bring the staff-to-inmate ratio back to manageable levels. Unless changes are made, BC's correctional officers will continue to be put at high risk."