The violent attack committed by an inmate against employees, which occurred Monday at the Port-Cartier prison, demonstrates that the profession of correctional officer “is becoming more and more dangerous over time,” worries a local union. He calls on Ottawa to tighten security measures quickly.
“Our work is more and more dangerous and hard over time, especially over the last three or four years I would tell you. We live every day with the worst criminals in Canada,” says the Quebec president of the Union of Correctional Officers of Canada (UCCO-SACC-CSN), Mike Bolduc.
On Wednesday, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) reported that an employee had been the victim of “assault” earlier this week, Monday at the Port-Cartier prison, although giving very few additional details on this case. .
According to the union, the situation was downplayed by federal authorities. “In reality, it was two officers who were attacked by a detainee. The first was stabbed four times, twice in the chest, once in the face and once in the bicep. His anti-spike jacket saved him and he managed to avoid the spike to the face, but he was seriously injured in the arm, with a laceration to his hand,” relates Mr. Bolduc.
“It was attempted murder, what happened. The inmate also gave another officer a spike in the chest,” continued the union leader, specifying that four correctional officers have been on sick leave since this event.
The detainee in question is known to the authorities. According to Mr. Bolduc, this was the fourth time he had attacked an officer on duty. He had also committed similar actions in the Atlantic, in Ontario and in Donnacona.
More accountability demanded
Beyond the incident, the union is calling on SCC to increase the number of systematic searches carried out in federal prisons. A search was carried out after Monday’s attack in Port-Cartier, “but we need as many as possible, without always being in reaction,” says the president.
“We also need drone detectors. At the moment, we have a lot of homemade weapons that can be brought in by drone. We also see a lot more drugs, and that worsens the violence in our establishments,” he persists.
Above all, his group generally calls for “more accountability” for prisoners. “The law is simply insufficient. Prisoners no longer have real consequences for serious crimes. There is no real concrete sanction, so it happens again and again,” concludes Mike Bolduc, worried about the “lack of experience” of several local managements in federal prisons.
Immediately, the Sûreté du Québec opened an investigation into the attack in Port-Cartier. The Port-Cartier prison is currently in a “modified cell routine”, in other words the movement of inmates has been restricted to reduce risks.
All visits will be suspended for the duration of this search and “normal operations will resume when it is deemed safe to do so,” SCC indicated in a press release.