CALGARY, Sept. 15, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Over 500 members of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) marched to and rallied in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary constituency office today to deliver a message that the government's 'Tough on Crime' policies are failing correctional officers and Canadians.
"For the last number of years we have been hearing about the government's crime and safety agenda," said Pierre Mallette, National President of UCCO-SACC-CSN. "What we see is a failing policy that is putting correctional officers at risk and ultimately Canadians."
During the past three weeks Mallette and members of his executive have traveled across the country meeting with correctional officers to hear first hand what is happening in Canada's fifty-two correctional facilities. In these meetings he has heard about the rising number of attacks on correctional officers, the growth of gangs in prisons and the increase in overcrowding resulting in double bunking.
Kevin Grabowsky, UCCO-SACC-CSN Regional President for the Prairies pointed out, "The government is locking up more inmates in fewer prisons while giving us less resources to rehabilitate them. This is a recipe for disaster," He went on to say, "We have requested to sit down with the government to find a solution but so far we have heard nothing."
Even Howard Sapers the federal correctional investigator pointed out recently in the Calgary Herald, "Because of overcrowding, fewer prisoners have access to programs and education designed to help their rehabilitation." He went on to warn, "This is not the best combination for public safety,"
"Canadians need to know how the Harper policies will affect them," said Mallette. "What happens inside our facilities tends to follow on the outside. Gangs and violence becomes a way of life for inmates. We are moving away from a system of rehabilitation to an American system of warehousing prisoners that will have long term consequences"
UCCO-SACC-CSN members followed up their rally with a canvass of Prime Minister Harper's riding of Calgary-Southwest knocking on over 10,000 doors to raise their issue and asking voters to sign a letter and contact him.
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers represents 7,400 correctional officers working in Canada's 52 federal penitentiaries.
Note to media:
Representatives of UCCO-SACC-CSN from the various regions are available for interview in both official languages.
SOURCE: UNION OF CANADIAN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS (UCCO-SACC-CSN)
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