(MONCTON, NB, Aug. 21, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) has now launched its Presidents' Tour 2012, which will make its way across the country to visit its members in Canada's 52 penitentiaries.
Security and safety on the agenda
The aim of the Presidents' Tour is to inform correctional officers of the current state of negotiations with Correctional Service Canada, as well as to talk about problems encountered in penitentiaries throughout the country. On the agenda will be issues of overcrowding, double bunking in cells and the security and safety of correctional officers, inmates and the population at large. "When living conditions in penitentiaries deteriorate, it becomes extremely difficult for us to fulfill our mandate, which is to ensure the security and safety of penitentiaries and the rehabilitation of inmates. In this context, we know from experience that many inmates released from penitentiaries promptly commit crimes among the population and end up back behind bars," explained Pierre Mallette, National President of UCCO-SACC-CSN. "Given that the federal government doesn't seem to want to recognize the seriousness of the situation, we consider it important to inform Canadians about what's happening in our penitentiaries."
Starting in the Atlantic region, the Presidents' Tour kicked off with visits to the Nova and Springhill institutions in Nova Scotia and the Westmorland and Dorchester institutions in New Brunswick. Tomorrow, the tour members will visit the Atlantic institution in Miramichi before heading on to the region of Québec.
The Atlantic Regional President, Doug White, expressed enthusiasm at having the Presidents' Tour start off in the Maritimes. "This tour is a milestone in the history of our union." He also gave an overview of the prevailing situation in the regions' institutions, the lack of communication on the part of penitentiary administrations, and the appalling consequences of budget cuts. But the issue of greatest concern is that of managing the inmate population. "It is in Springhill (Nova Scotia) that the whole process of assigning inmates' security levels is done. But since the assessment unit is snowed under with work, the inmates are transferred into the general penitentiary population before their assessments are completed. That's where the problems arise. This mix of populations can lead to very violent incidents, such as when correctional officers have to manage members of rival gangs who are in the same unit."
UCCO-SACC-CSN represents 7,400 correctional officers working in Canada's 52 federal penitentiaries.
SOURCE: UNION OF CANADIAN CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS (UCCO-SACC-CSN)
For further information:
Source: Union of Canadian Correctional Officers - Syndicat des agents correctionnels du Canada (UCCO-SACC-CSN)
Information: Noémi Desrochers, Communications Department
Confédération des syndicats nationaux - CSN
Cell: 514 216-1825