Nova Scotia

Youth prison workers 'fearful' of violent inmate's return

The teen, who is now an adult, took part in a violent assault on staff at Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville in September 2016. The head of the union said staff are worried the teen could become violent again.

Teen involved in assault on staff at Nova Scotia Youth Facility in September 2016

NSGEU president Jason MacLean said workers have told him they're fearful of a violent offender set to return to the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville, N.S. (CBC)

The head of the union representing staff at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville, N.S., said workers are "ill-equipped" to deal with a violent inmate expected to return this week.

B.P., as he is known in court documents, was involved in an assault on staff in September 2016 that resulted in three workers being seriously injured. He pleaded guilty to those assaults and will be sentenced in October.

"They're fearful because all of the recommendations that the assessment done by government, all these recommendations have not been implemented yet," Jason MacLean, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, told CBC Radio's Maritime Noon.

Stab-proof vests, metal doors

Those recommendations included issuing stab-proof vests and pepper spray to staff, replacing wooden doors at the facility with metal doors and replacing the facility's current furniture with weighted furniture — plastic furniture with sand or cement in it to make it heavy and prevent it from being thrown.

"You don't have to look any further than the adult facility for things you would need in terms of safety," said MacLean.

"They're ill-equipped.… Without those pieces being implemented, they feel ill-equipped to be able to deal with this young man."

In one court document, a Waterville official described B.P. as being "probably the most high-risk youth we've ever dealt with."

Offender needs treatment

Prior to the attack, B.P. had been serving time at the youth facility for second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 28-year-old Jason Pellerin in a Dartmouth parking lot. He was 15 at the time.

Daniel Michael Pellerin died in August 2014 after being stabbed in Dartmouth. (Facebook)

Following the attack on staff, B.P. was temporarily sent to an adult prison in Pictou.

Authorities tried to make his move to the adult prison permanent, but Judge Anne Derrick denied the request. She acknowledged, however, she could not order corrections officers to return B.P. to Waterville. She also noted the youth facility is the only place where B.P. could get the treatment he needs.

"I appreciate those kind words from the judge but I have my members telling me that they can't offer him anything because he isn't listening to anything going on there," said MacLean.

"Not only that, what [B.P.] wants to do is use influence with his stature, his physical stature, on others."

MacLean said B.P. is expected back at Waterville on Thursday.

"Right now, anxiety level is up and our members are feeling that their employer is letting them down," MacLean said.

With files from CBC Radio's Maritime Noon and Blair Rhodes