British Columbia

Prison stabbing is 3rd incident in 3 weeks at facility

One inmate was stabbed on Friday in the courtyard of the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, a maximum security facility in Saanich. Two suspects are being investigated. The BCGEU warns this is part of an increasing pattern of violence in B.C. prisons.

3 inmate-to-inmate assaults in maximum security prison cited for overcrowding

Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road in the Victoria suburb of Saanich is one of seven maximum security penitentiaries in the province. (Government of B.C.)

An inmate was stabbed in the courtyard at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Friday.

The 33-year-old man was repeatedly stabbed. He was transported to Victoria General Hospital and admitted but has since been released.

Saanich police confirm it attended the maximum security prison May 3, just before 2 p.m.

It is unclear whether the weapon was smuggled in or made in the facility.

Police say they have two suspects, aged 19 and 21. There are no charges, but the investigation continues.

Saanich police spokesperson Sgt. Julie Fast says they also attended the facility on April 17 for an inmate-on-inmate assault that resulted in a 51-year-old man being charged with assault causing bodily harm.  And another assault was called in the next day on April 18. There were no charges in that case.

Dean Purdy, chair of the BCGEU Corrections and Sheriff Services says these incidents highlight increasing tension and violence in B.C. prisons where staff are increasingly exposed to violent situations.

Assaults at all time high

"Inmate-to-inmate assaults are at an all time high, as are inmate-on-officer attacks."

He say an increasing ratio of inmates to guards is part of the problem.

The BCGEU is hoping to meet with Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth to come up with some solutions.

Correctional officers protested at the facility in late March to draw attention to overcrowding.

This followed an audit by the auditor general which cited VIRCC as one of the worst offenders for congestion and showed more than half the inmates were double bunked in 2018.

On Tuesday, B.C. Corrections sent a statement to the CBC.

"B.C. Corrections staff do everything they can to maintain a safe and secure living environment. This includes continually assessing where potential problems or threats to safety may arise and taking measures to mitigate any risk — as ensuring the safety of inmates is our officers' top priority."

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