Rampage at Prince Albert jail leaves smashed windows, smoke and water damage: union
People outside jail could hear screams, see smoke rising from roof
Shelley Laliberte was out for a drive late Monday afternoon when she passed by the Prince Albert Correctional Centre, where her 25-year-old son is an inmate.
She noticed police cruisers, ambulances and fire trucks on the roadway outside the centre.
Then she heard the screaming.
"The windows were smashed and they were throwing stuff out. They had a sheet or a mattress or something like that. It said on there 'We're being treated like animals in here' and there was screaming and smoke coming out of the top," she said Tuesday.
WATCH: Laliberte captured this footage from outside the jail Monday.
According to the Saskatchewan Government Employees Union (SGEU), which speaks for staff at the jail, inmates on a gang unit went on a rampage that afternoon.
"It started with six or seven inmates on the inside breaking windows," said Verne Larson with SGEU.
"They broke all the windows and they were able to break open cells and get more inmates out. They started fires, there was a fire in the building ... there's water damage to the building."
Larson said the uncertainty over the COVID-19 outbreak at the jail contributed to the pressure on inmates, but he doesn't believe the rampage can be blamed on the virus.
"I think it's just the ongoing tension in that centre with the gang situation," he said.
Altercations between rival gang members at the jail in 2019 and 2020 sent inmates to hospital.
As for what happened Monday, "I was surprised that no one was seriously injured," Larson said.
He said there were minor injuries to two staff.
Shelley Laliberte has not yet had a chance to speak with her son.
"I hope that everyone's going to be OK and there's not going to be no fatalities or anything like that," she said.
The Ministry of Corrections says corrections staff responded to the disturbance and it was brought to an end at around 7 p.m. Monday night. It also says the incident took place in a unit that primarily houses gang-affiliated inmates on remand.
The ministry has referred the incident to the police and will be conducting its own investigation.