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

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Port Alice’s Scotiabank branch closing for good next month

Port Alice is going through a transition to a more diversified economy that includes tourism.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

Mowi Canada West releases statement on Nanaimo teenager’s workplace death

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time, all of us at Mowi are devastated by this tragedy.”

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Simard guilty in Vancouver Island double murder

Convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in 2016 killing of Courtenay couple

Most Read