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.