"These new statistics prove that now, more than ever, the B.C. government and WCB must address the issue of prison violence. The safety and security of our members — and our communities — is at stake.” — Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President
Vancouver (21 Feb. 2017) — New statistics released by BC Corrections show that prison violence in B.C. continues to rise. Assaults on correctional officers rose by 39 per cent between 2014 and 2015, and the new stats indicate that —based on the halfway point of 2016 — this figure is projected to rise by another 21.5 per cent for 2016.
Government's own numbers show increase in prison violence
“These numbers continue to increase and it’s very concerning for us,” said Dean Purdy, Vice President, Corrections and Sheriff Services for the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE). “We know there is a direct correlation to the increase in violence and to officer-to-inmate ratios and capacity. Our members are telling us they can’t keep working under these conditions. Something’s got to give.”
"The total number of incidents of violence rose by 42 per cent between 2014 and 2015 and is projected to rise by another 12 per cent by the end of 2016. This tells us that the estimated number of violent incidents for 2016 will be over 1,600 province-wide," says Purdy.
Workers' Compensation Board and government must address worker safety in prisons
“Correctional officers work in high-risk and very dangerous environments,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “It is troubling to see the numbers rising. These new statistics prove that now, more than ever, the B.C. government and WCB must address the issue of prison violence. The safety and security of our members — and our communities — is at stake.”
Purdy will be meeting with representatives from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) on Febrauary 21. BCGEU/NUPGE continues to urge WCB and the provincial government to acknowledge and address the increase in workplace violence towards the province’s corrections officers. Strategies must be collectively developed in order to mitigate the violence and time loss to our officers who protect the public and keep communities safe.
The new numbers reaffirm the importance of BCGEU/NUPGE's Prison Safety Now campaign. The union encourages the public to share the petition and help make prison violence an issue as British Columbians head into the provincial election this May.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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