“Clearly everything is not under control, especially at a number of the facilities. Six of the eight – which have seen major increases – and Surrey Pretrial tripling in violent incidents.
Numbers from B.C. Corrections shows violent incidents inside correctional facilities continue to rise, and in certain jails the spike is alarming.
The numbers show increases in violent attacks, be it on guards or inmates on inmates, has gone up in jails in Kamloops, North Fraser Pretrial, and Vancouver Island Regional.
Vancouver Point Grey NDP MLA David Eby says most concerning is Surrey Pretrial.
“Significant spike in violent incidents. Near tripling of violent incidents in Surrey Pretrial. Our concern has always been the staffing levels in prisons, and making sure that staff are safe and that the Province fulfills its responsibilities to ensure that prisoners are not injured. Clearly, that is not the case. There is a huge spike in these violent incidents. That means staff aren’t safe.”
Violent attacks at Surrey Pretrial went from around 300 in 2013 to around 900 in 2014.
Eby says Surrey is the most stark example but violence has also risen in five other jails including Kamloops, North Fraser Pretrial, and Vancouver Island regional.
“There are a number of factors that cause these kinds of violent attacks to go up in number. One of them is inmate crowding. So when you have two or three inmates sharing a cell. The other is the increase in prisoners suffering from mental health issues in prisons. Also staffing levels making sure there is sufficient staff to identify what are called incompatibles like people from different gangs who shouldn’t be put together.”
The numbers also show there have been 26 deaths in BC jails since 2009.
“I think when families send a family member to work in a BC prison they are counting on the provincial government to make sure there is sufficent staffing that, that person can work safely and that they are going to come home at the end of the night uninjured. When you see figures of the numbers of deaths in prisons of inmates I have a serious concern about the risk of serious injury or even death to staff who work in these prisons.”
Over 83-thousand people have been released from BC prisons in the last five years with just 212 staff doing either case management or discharge work.