July 29, 2015
Two recent serious disturbances at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre are just more symptoms of the serious resource shortage in Saskatchewan’s corrections system, says the union that represents correctional workers across the province.
“Our union and our members have been raising the alarm for years about overcrowding and short-staffing in our correctional centres,” says Bob Bymoen, president of the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU).
Bymoen referred to the disturbances on July 21 and 26 that did serious damage to two dorms at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, forcing inmates to be relocated to other areas of the facility, further straining conditions in the already-overcrowded centre.
“There is a need for more secure cells to separate inmates when necessary. The correctional centres are also old buildings, and are in need of repair. Staff shortages also need to be addressed, so that employees are getting the time off they need to come to work rested and ready to face a challenging job,” says Bonnie McRae, Legal Inspection and Regulatory Chair of SGEU’s Public Service Sector.
“SGEU has grave concerns that if more resources aren’t invested in the corrections system, it will only be a matter of time before someone is injured or killed,” says Bymoen.
“All the employees are asking for is to have a safe work environment, proper equipment, and the updated training they need to protect our communities, inmates, and staff. Employees just want to do their jobs and go home safe,” says McRae.
“Corrections workers are dedicated professionals doing great work in a very tough environment. But they need to know that their employer stands behind them and the work that they do,” McRae adds.
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