Inmate violence blamed on guards not crowding, says union
Correctional officers protest in Calgary against what they call system-wide problems
Alberta's correctional officers say they often get the blame for jailhouse violence when it's usually the result of overcrowding in jails and remand centres across the province.
The guards rallied outside the Calgary consituency office of the province's solicitor general on Friday.
They want Jonathan Denis to fix investigation procedure rather than just blaming guards.
"Senior management refuses to address system-wide problems like overcrowding and staff shortages. Instead, when there is an incident, they go on a witch hunt and ignore the real issue," said Clarke McChesney of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees in a release.
He said triple-bunking inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre happens on a regular basis, and crowded conditions create a volatile atmosphere that is dangerous for both inmates and staff.
"Our biggest concern is that we don't feel supported by our department,"
"Our department has undertaken in the last three or four years a more stringent investigation process, which to ... the mass majority of our members feel that we are guilty until proven innocent."
As an example, the union says some guards were fired after a Russian ESL student was badly beaten by other prisoners at the Calgary Remand Centre.
Alberta's solicitor general said, in a release, that he will sit down with the union to discuss working conditions of frontline correctional officers, as well as any other incidents that have arisen in the past.
"Provincial corrections staff are trained professionals who work in an often difficult and volatile environment," said Denis.
"It is extremely important to me that we continue to support our corrections staff."