MONCTON, NB, May 9, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Several news media in New Brunswick have today made serious errors in reporting on a purported escape by former inmate Joshua Richard Whalen at Moncton International Airport yesterday. In fact, yesterday the offender was freed from Atlantic Institution in Renous on statutory release by Correctional Service Canada after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Furthermore, many reports have also erred in saying the offender escaped from the custody of federal correctional officers. In fact, correctional officers did not accompany offender Whalen following his release. Instead, a civilian employee drove the former inmate to Moncton Airport as a courtesy.
Doug White, Atlantic Regional President for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN), said the stories are needlessly raising fears among New Brunswick residents, especially in linking it with the case of Allan Legere, the notorious murderer who escaped while serving a life sentence in 1989.
"There is no story here, and there is certainly no story of any failure by our members," said Mr. White. "We release people every day on statutory release by law after they serve two-thirds of their sentence. A local employee at Atlantic Institution will often drop off people from elsewhere because the institution is out of the way. There were no correctional officers involved in an escort in this situation. There was no escape."
Unfortunately, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is fuelling the inaccurate story by refusing to give details of the offender's release to the media, Mr. White noted.
"Why CSC would carelessly raise fears among New Brunswickers by not immediately correcting this story is beyond my understanding," he said. "This is a serious mistake by the regional administration of CSC."
For further information:
Lyle Stewart, CSN communications, at 514 796-2066