New report says the province’s jails are the most strained in the country.
Regina (09 Oct. 2014) — The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU/NUPGE) says a new report detailing the province’s strain in its prison systems validates the union’s long-standing concerns over the safety and well-being of its corrections workers on the job every day.
CCPA Report says Saskatchewan prisons are the most highly-strained provincial prisons in the country
The report says Saskatchewan’s is one of the most highly strained provincial prison systems in the country, housing over twice as many inmates as facilities were designed for, despite repeated government insistence to the contrary.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released its report Warehousing Prisoners in Saskatchewan: A Public Health Approach, just as SGEU/NUPGE correction workers from across the province are increasingly expressing concerns surrounding overcrowding, lack of training for dealing with escalating gang and other inmate violence, prisoners' mental health and other concerns.
Overcrowding, violence, mental health concerns and lack of training are issues that plague Saskatchewan correctional facilities
To accommodate this crisis, the report details what SGEU/NUPGE corrections workers are seeing daily in their jobs: classrooms, gymnasiums, workshops, and visiting rooms being converted into dormitories, and most of the province’s cells being double-bunked with triple-bunking a distinct possibility in the future. The effects of this overcrowding on the living conditions of the inmates in these institutions are alarming, says the report.
“Our members are dealing with high levels of violence, often gang-related, in their daily work with dangerous offenders who are increasingly agitated by strained conditions,” says Barry Nowoselsky, SGEU Vice President for the public service sector. “We can’t be amiss on using this moment in time to address this challenge properly with some real and lasting solutions. We have already raised these issues with the Ministry of Justice, and we will continue to engage in meaningful dialogue to press for changes in the prison system for our members.”
SGEU/NUPGE has over 3,377 members working in the province’s prison system.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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. NUPGENUPGE