Prison guards at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge (Neil Corbett/Maple Ridge News)

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Prison guards are protesting the firing of eight staff members from the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre and what they say are dangerously low staffing levels in provincial jails in Maple Ridge on Friday morning.

Prior to 2001, the ratio of inmates to staff was capped at 20-1, but is now at approximately 40-1.

“How do you keep track of 40 inmates if you are one person?” said a staff representative with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union.

“That results in safety issues for our members, and also safety issues for inmates,” he said.

The number of assaults in prisons – including assaults on guards, has been rising in incidence and severity, he said. The call to lower the ratio has been a long-term campaign for the union, which would mean hiring more officers.

The overcrowded Maple Ridge facility was built with a capacity for 300 inmates, but now houses more than 500, the said.

They were also protesting the dismissal of eight corrections officers who were fired after a violent incident at the facility on 256th Street in September of 2017.

“We definitely believe that was wrongful dismissal,” the staff representative said, adding the union is fighting to have the union members re-instated.

Four corrections officers were charged with assault in connection with that incident, and they are to appear in Port Coquitlam provincial court on Feb. 26.

Read MORE: Four officers at Maple Ridge’s regional prison charged with assault

Six more officers faced discipline by BC Corrections after the same incident.

Dean Purdy, BCGEU vice president, said in a December union notice the incident took place in September in a living unit after “an unprovoked, violent attack,” and that other officers responded and “secured the inmate.”

“Four of our own are facing criminal charges after coming to the aid of a fellow correctional officer …” he said.

He noted Ridge Meadows RCMP investigated, but made no recommendation at the time about charges for the officers. However, last November, the Crown filed charges.

“Without prejudicing the case, we note that this situation could happen to any one of us working in corrections and sheriff services,” Purdy said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

World Class Hiking Trail For The North Island?

The idea is getting some serious attention.

Provincial grants help communities map, meet housing needs

The next intake for funding is open until Nov. 29, 2019.

North Island Rising: Can the future of the North Island be managed?

Can growth be managed and if so, is now the time to start figuring things out?

Less than a month to go until the Mount Waddington Fall Fair!

The committee is hoping for a record number of exhibits this year

Port McNeill CCCU presents cheque to Port McNeill Hospital Society executive

The cheque was from the June 21 fundraiser BBQ that Ward and her Grandmother Lou organized together

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read