Prison staff protest lack of attention to health and safety concerns
Canadian Safety Reporter
Federal correctional officers are protesting this morning outside Stony Mountain Insitution in Manitoba as they await the arrival of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews who is expected to be announcing the opening of a new wing at the institution. The officers say that have been trying for months to meet with the minister to discuss health and safety issues such as overcrowding, double-bunking and a recent scabies outbreak.
"The minister can stack as many inmates in a cell as he wants, but it's always a correctional officer who has to open the door to that cell and deal with what comes out," said Kevin Grabowsky, the prairie regional president for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. "Our members are the ones who ultimately pay the price."
A correctional officer at Stony Mountain Institution contracted scabies last week after unknowingly searching a cell, including the mattress, of an inmate. The officer was subsequently hospitalized after an allergic reaction to medical treatment. There are four more inmates at the medium-security prison with suspected or confirmed cases of scabies.
The union said they have sent many letters to the minister since January in an attempt to set up a meeting to discuss these issues, but to no avail. The staff is hoping this protest will get his attention.