Corrections officers protest violence at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre

Prison Guards

Correctional officers are protested outside the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road Friday to bring attention to rising incidents of violence.

Dean Purdy,  chair and vice-president of the BCGEU's  Corrections and Sheriffs Services branch, says as incidents of violence have increased at maximum secuirty facilities.

He shared some of the things officers have to deal with:

" You know they'll see things like overdoses, suicides by hanging, slashings, vicious assaults on inmates with homemade fashioned weapons such as shanks and edge weapons. Anything from jumpers off tiers, riots, containers of urine and feces dumped on correctional officers, and ongoing threats against correctional officers almost daily."

Purdy says the inmate-to-staff ratio has been allowed to deteriorate.  It's supposed to be 20-to-1, but it's as high as 72- to-1 and violence is increasing:

"Assaults on correctional officers were at an all time high in 2018, and you know, this is very concerning for us. This jail has had a lot of violence, a lot of threats on staff, working in a maximum security jail is already one of the most stressful jobs out there, and with the violence levels on the rise it adds to what's already a very tense time inside our jail."

The union is calling on the Province to bring the staff-to-inmate ratio back to manageable levels.

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