“Correctional and Probation Officers have some of the toughest jobs in Canada, and our members are proud of the work they do. But they need more support from every level of government.” ― Larry Brown, NUPGE President
Ottawa (7 Oct. 2019) — One of the important issues that is getting very little attention in the current federal election are criminal justice matters. When these issues do arise it is usually solely focused on policing and punishment. Very little attention is paid to the issues that confront those brave people who work in the administration of justice every day.
“Correctional and Probation Officers have some of the toughest jobs in Canada, and our members are proud of the work they do. But they need more support from every level of government” said Larry Brown, President of the 390,000 member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
To help its members make informed decisions on voting on criminal justice issues NUPGE has released a factsheet comparing the party platforms and track record. The factsheet can be downloaded from here.
All governments must find solutions to overcrowding, mental illness, and violence in our jails
With serious overcrowding, an increased prevalence of inmates with mental health problems, and increasing gang violence in our correctional facilities, NUPGE believes that it is critical that Canada’s political parties take action to protect justice workers, provide better mental health services, and implement policies to address the root causes of crime.
Insufficient federal transfer payments to the provinces means that Canada’s health care system is failing to keep pace with need. And one of consequences of this inadequate funding is a reduction in mental health and addictions programs, which means people who should be treated in the health care system instead end up in the criminal justice system. And measures like mandatory minimum sentences are making matters even worse by increasing the time these people are spending in prison. This means prison overcrowding is a problem, and violence is increasing. More rival gang violence and an inability to keep these factions apart due to overcrowding are resulting in increased clashes between these gangs.
We need our governments to pay attention
“We know that overcrowding and a lack of staff are creating a very volatile situation at all the correctional facilities around the country. We need our governments to pay attention to this problem. They must invest in the resources that address the root causes of crime,” said Larry Brown, NUPGE President.
“Correctional and Probation officers face enormous challenges in the work that they do. These are dedicated and highly trained professionals. But they need more support from every level of government. Studies show that corrections officers are 4.5 times more likely than the general population to suffer from mental injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety. No one should have to fear for their safety when they go to work. Our governments must invest more resources before this situation becomes worse than it already is,” added Brown.
The 2019 Federal Election Voter’s Guide
Unions have historically been strong supporters of programs which benefit all members of society, at the same time as they continue to advocate on behalf of their members. The National Union has compiled the 2019 Federal Election Voter’s Guide as a resource for our membership. The guide provides an overview of key issues and of the political parties’ track records and campaign promises in these areas.
Today, we are releasing a fact sheet on Criminal Justice.
The position political parties take on this issue will have long-term impacts on what type of society we create.
We encourage our members to engage with the Voter’s Guide and the accompanying factsheets to help inform their voting decisions.
Finally, we encourage members to exercise their right to vote!
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE