BCGEU welcomes Okanagan prison decision, seeks details on P3

Attacks on officers, safety issues still need to be addressed

VANCOUVER, Feb. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The BCGEU is welcoming news the provincial government has made a decision on the long overdue construction of a new provincial correctional centre. The government announced today the new prison will be built on the Osoyoos Indian Band's proposed site. There is no completion date for the project.

"Today's announcement is long overdue but it is a step in the right direction," says Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union. "Given the chronic overcrowding in our prisons, I am calling on the government to ensure this new prison is built as quickly as possible."

Overcrowding, staffing shortages and attacks on correctional officers have become common in B.C.'s correctional centres. Inmate to staff ratios are sometimes as high as 60 to 1.  A decade ago the ratios were typically 20 to 1.

"I am also calling on the government to provide details of the business plan which will be developed by the Osoyoos Band to build the prison as a public-private partnership," Walker added.

"This is something we have advocated and lobbied the government for the past several years. The announcement of a new prison is good news, but the lack of a completion date is troubling," says Dean Purdy, chair of the BCGEU component that represents corrections officers. "Unfortunately, relief from the overcrowding is years away. We also need to address immediately, and in a meaningful way, the increasing number of violent attacks on corrections officers."

SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

For further information:

Evan Stewart, BCGEU Communications (604) 220-3095.

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B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union

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