Boyd report calls for return to 20 to 1 inmate to staff ratio
VANCOUVER, Nov. 22, 2011 /CNW/ - A report released today by Simon Fraser
University criminologist Neil Boyd presents a disturbing picture of
British Columbia's prisons.
The report, "Correctional Officers in British Columbia 2011: Abnormal Working
Conditions", is based on a survey of more than 200 correctional officers in the
Among the report's findings, during the past year:
More than 90 per cent of correctional officers had been exposed to
blood, and more than 75 per cent to feces, spit and urine;
Two thirds had received a credible threat of harm from an inmate;
Almost 40 per cent had been hit by feces, urine, vomit or spit, and more
than one in four had been physically assaulted by an inmate;
More than 80 per cent had responded to a serious injury to an inmate,
and almost 20 per cent had witnessed the death of an inmate;
More than 90 per cent indicated their jobs have become more difficult
These numbers come at a time when prison populations include increased
numbers of mentally disordered inmates and gang involved inmates, and
inmate to staff ratios as high as 60 to 1. Prior to 2002 inmate to
staff ratios were typically 20 to 1.
"Correctional officers in B.C. are significantly more likely to
experience on the job violence than any other protective service worker
in the province including police, security guards and firefighters.
Even more troubling, the levels of violence appear to be increasing,"
The report makes several recommendations to reverse these trends
including reducing the inmate to staff ratio to pre-2002 levels and
reviewing the model of direct supervision incarceration that does not
work at the current staffing ratios. The report also calls on the
government to address the working conditions inside B.C. prisons and
improve workplace health and safety.
"Correctional officers have some of the most difficult and violent jobs
in our province. The government must address in a meaningful way what
is going on inside these institutions," says Boyd. "The current system is bad for the men and women who work there, bad for the inmates
we should be rehabilitating and bad for our justice system as a whole."
"This report exposes the violence and dangers our members face each and
every day they report to work. It should be troubling for all British
Columbians and a wake up call for our government to stop ignoring the
deteriorating conditions inside our prisons," says Dean Purdy of the BC
Government and Service Employees' Union, which commissioned the report.
To see the report including an executive summary visit www.bcgeu.ca
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Evan Stewart, Communications Officer (604) 220-3095