Over­crowd­ing cited in guard in­juries

Edmonton Journal - - CITY PLUS - BEN GELINAS bgeli­nas@the­jour­nal.canwest.com

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.

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