Correctional officers from adult and youth facilities have been sounding the alarm for months on the growing number of violent incidents inside these jails.
Manitoba (19 July 2019) — The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU/NUPGE) is calling on the government to implement effective strategies to help protect members working in correctional facilities following a recent assault at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre.
Injured worker treated at hospital
On July 8, a correctional officer was attacked by 2 inmates inside the facility. His injuries required medical attention in hospital.
“There is no question that this was extremely frightening for the officer involved and his fellow co-workers. It is very fortunate that he was not more seriously injured,” said MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky. “We’re thankful for the quick action of the officers involved who got their colleague to safety and those who diffused the volatile situation.”
Workers gave advanced warning of the problems inside correction facilities
Correctional officers from adult and youth facilities have been sounding the alarm for months on the growing number of violent incidents inside these jails. It’s become far too common for officers to be verbally and physically attacked while on shift. Whether it’s getting punched, spit on, or slapped, Gawronsky says the violence is escalating.
“Officers are finding that inmates can often be more violent and unpredictable than in the past because of more complex issues facing them, including meth and other drug addictions, along with mental health issues,” she said. “These complex needs require more rehabilitative programming, but government cuts have unfortunately taken many of these supports away.”
Government cuts are a key part of the problem
Last May, the government cut the employment training program for inmates in Manitoba. This included:
- Carpentry shop and graphic arts shop at Milner Ridge
- Gardening, carpentry, and meat-cutting program at Agassiz Youth Centre
- Carpentry and gardening programs at Brandon Correctional Centre
- Computer shop, upholstery shop, tailor shop and blanket program at Headingley Correctional Centre
The MGEU/NUPGE represents over 2,000 Correctional Officers in the province.
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