Union blames understaffing for recent assaults on guards at Shediac jail
2 correctional officers were hospitalized, 1 required surgery, after separate attacks on Aug. 8
The union representing correctional officers at the Southeast Regional Correctional Centre in Shediac, says overcrowding and understaffing have resulted in regular assaults on guards — including two in the last week.
Mike Davidson, the national representative for CUPE, said two officers were recently hospitalized following separate incidents. One suffered a dislocated shoulder and facial injuries when he was attacked with a weapon.
"In a separate incident, an officer had a broken ankle while trying to detain an inmate," he said.
The Department of Justice confirmed an offender assaulted two correctional officers on Aug. 8 in separate incidents. A spokesperson said the officers' injuries were not life-threatening.
Guard needs surgery
Davidson said one of the guards required surgery and both are still struggling to cope with their injuries since their release from hospital.
He said the weapon used in the alleged assault on the first officer was a knife.
- Moncton man pleads guilty in death of fellow inmate at Shediac jail
- Fire marshal's report details search for smoker who started Shediac jail fire
"I assume there's going to be an investigation into how the inmate obtained the knife for the attack," said Davidson, adding he had limited information about the second altercation.
The department said police have been asked to investigate the assaults, but RCMP media spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said they have received no reports yet.
'Risk of the job'
Davidson said correctional officers are doing a dangerous job in a dangerous environment. He said they're facing overcrowding with low staffing levels, something the union is working to resolve through contract negotiations.
- 58 inmates housed in trailers outside Shediac jail
- Indigenous man wins human rights settlement after jail denied request to practise spirituality
However, he said the reality is that correctional officers are in the units with the inmates and have no weapons to defend themselves if an inmate reacts or lashes out against a guard.
"With the inmates, something can happen at any given moment," he said.
"Assaults on staff do happen on a regular basis in our institutions. It's an inherit risk of the job."
With files from Gabrielle Fahmy