Overcrowding cited in guard injuries
The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says overcrowding is to blame for a string of recent injuries sustained by correctional peace officers restraining inmates at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
In one incident, an inmate lunged at an officer Saturday around dinnertime, the union says.
A fight ensued, and a second officer stepped in.
The second officer tore muscles while restraining the violent inmate.
A female officer injured her hand restraining a female inmate a day earlier.
And just over a week ago, an inmate allegedly assaulted two officers in separate incidents.
“Our members who work at the remand centre are extremely concerned about the effects that overcrowding and the state of the facility are having on their safety and the safety of inmates,” union spokesman David Climenhaga said, adding that attacks on officers are becoming more frequent.
Inmate restraint is part of the job, said Andy Weiler, spokesman for the Alberta solicitor general’s office.
The remand centre is a “difficult, volatile environment to work in,” said Weiler. There are inmates that have the potential to be violent.
Staff are trained to quell disputes. Usually things calm down after officers ver- bally intervene.
“But it all depends on the situation,” Weiler said.
Sometimes inmates will become physical towards officers or other inmates, and restraint is required. “When correctional peace officers have to move in, there is the potential for injuries.
“We know we have population pressures at the remand,” Weiler added. “We’ve even gone so far as to utilize space at the federal facilities in Grande Cache.”
Weiler points to the new facility un- der construction on the north side of the city as a solution to the current centre’s overcrowding.
On Wednesday, residents in the Lorelei-Beaumaris area are invited to attend an information session that will feature the design of the new remand facility.
The session runs from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the community hall at 16220 103rd St. A second session begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m.