Nova Scotia

Burnside jail inmate grabs pepper spray from officers

The Nova Scotia government says an inmate grabbed the pepper spray of a correctional officer during an outbreak of violence at a Halifax-area jail earlier this week.

4 correctional officers assaulted, says Justice Department

The number of assaults at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility nearly doubled in the first six months of last year compared to the same period in 2013 as inmates injured guards and fought each other.

The Nova Scotia government says an inmate grabbed the pepper spray of a correctional officer during an outbreak of violence at a Halifax-area jail earlier this week.

Justice Department spokesman Andrew Preeper says Halifax Regional Police responded Sunday morning at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility when two correctional officers were allegedly assaulted by two inmates.

He says when two other correctional officers responded, they were also assaulted.

Preeper says the two officers who were originally involved in the incident were treated in hospital and released.

He didn't know if any of the injuries were caused by pepper spray.

Const. Pierre Bourdages of Halifax Regional Police says charges of assaulting a police officer, disarming an officer, unauthorized use of a prohibited weapon, possession of a dangerous weapon, mischief and careless use of a prohibited weapon are expected to be laid against two inmates.

Preeper says there was another incident on Wednesday when an inmate allegedly pushed an officer.

The number of assaults at the jail nearly doubled in the first six months of last year compared to the same period in 2013 as inmates injured guards and fought each other, say incident reports released to The Canadian Press through freedom of information legislation.

There were 70 assaults between offenders, 32 assaults on staff and three fights in the first six months of 2014. During the same period in 2013, there were 35 offender assaults, six assaults on staff and 16 fights documented.

Preeper said the Justice Department is working to improve security and conditions at the jail.

There are $6 million in upgrades planned for the facility through the province's capital budget for 2015-16 and there are plans to spend $140,000 for better protective vests for guards, he added.

The prison was originally built in the mid-1990s to house 272 prisoners, but demand for space has led to double bunking in the units for men.

Sean Kelly, the director of correctional services in the province, has said he expects violence to decrease at the jail with the completion of a new prison expected to open this winter in northern Nova Scotia, allowing for the transfer of some inmates.

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