SGEU fears for safety of workers, inmates amid more gang violence at Saskatoon correctional centre

SGEU said Friday it is concerned for worker and inmate safety after an increase of violence at Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre.

In a news release, SGEU said it is renewing its call for more resources and better strategies to deal with another increase of gang violence.

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“Yesterday,” said Friday’s release, “several rival gang members engaged in a violent altercation in the yard of the correctional centre. Only a few staff members were present and could not prevent the altercation from happening. Extra correction officers had to be called in to break up the factions.”

SGEU President Bob Bymoen, said, “We are hearing from our members the way these gangs are being housed and transported around the jail is just not working, and our members are very concerned, not only for their own safety, but for the inmates also.”

Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre has had several violent incidents in recent weeks and SGEU is saying more rival gang violence and an inability to keep these factions apart is resulting in increased clashes between these gangs that is creating a volatile situation.

“This situation is only going to get worse unless things change. We need to see a different strategy in dealing with these rival gangs, whether that is isolating them more, providing more high-security areas, providing more staff to prevent altercations, or changing their programming so these factions are kept apart at all times,” said Bymoen.

SGEU also made calls for changes after a lockdown at the Saskatoon Provincial Correctional Centre when four inmates were injured in separate fights near the end of August.

The Ministry of Corrections and Policing saidthe injuries occurred during a fight in the prison yard and another encounter in one of the prison’s units. All four inmates needed treatment for injuries.

The violence followed a stabbing at the same jail a few days earlier that seriously injured an 18-year-old inmate being held on remand. The prisoner, Brent Checkosis, is one of eight people charged in the death of Tiki Laverdiere, the Edmonton woman whose body was found near North Battleford, in July after she attended a funeral in that city in April. Checkosis is charged with accessory after the fact to murder in Laverdiere’s death.

Two correctional centre inmates accused of stabbing Checkosis with a homemade knife have been charged with aggravated assault and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

 

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