B.C. government hides content of original Throness report on prison safety | National Union of Public and General Employees

B.C. government hides content of original Throness report on prison safety

"We are not going to let this drop. We are going to use every avenue available to shed light on Throness’s original report and his recommendations.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President

Vancouver (03 Dec. 2015) — The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE) is appealing the release of a heavily redacted first draft of MLA Laurie Throness’s report on prison safety. The union received a copy of Throness’s original report following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. A large portion of the document that was received has been blanked out. This is the latest development in BCGEU/NUPGE’s 10- month-long attempt to have the original report released.

Openness and transparency absent from release of Throness report 

“This is another example of the provincial government operating without the openness and transparency they promised from the FOI process,” says BCGEU President Stephanie Smith. “MLA Throness was assigned to investigate safety within our provincial prison system and identify solutions. We have every reason to believe he did that. We want to know what was in his original report and what changes were made to it. We are not going to let this drop. We are going to use every avenue available to shed light on Throness’s original report and his recommendations.”

As Parliamentary Secretary for Corrections, Throness was asked on July 9, 2013, to conduct a review of safety in provincial prisons. His report was to be submitted to the Minister of Justice by June 30, 2014. On November 29, 2014, Throness wrote BCGEU's President Darryl Walker to explain that his report had been submitted to the Minister of Justice five months earlier. In the letter, Throness explained why the release of his report had been delayed: “Because I want the recommendations to be integrated into government policy, a process of internal negotiation followed the submission of my report. I adjusted my recommendations to ensure that they are practical and achievable.”

Public has a right to know what was in draft report, then removed  

“First we were told no first draft existed. Then after an appeal, we received a heavily edited version that concealed much of the content in MLA Throness’s first draft,” says Dean Purdy, BCGEU Executive Vice-President, Corrections and Sheriff Services. “It is important to know what MLA Throness included in his first draft after meeting with a broad range of stakeholders. It is also important to know what was removed from his report during the five months before the report was made public, including any recommendations he may have made. As the media have been reporting as recently as last week, violence inside our provincial prisons is increasing.”

Click here to see the redacted first draft of the Throness report.

A timeline of the report can be found on the BCGEU website

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 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

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