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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cranbrook Bucks add veteran blueliner to defensive corps

A veteran blueliner has joined the Cranbrook Bucks defensive corps. Carson Kurylo… Continue reading

Conservation officers rescue elk calf, take it to wildlife rehab centre

Members with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service recently rescued a dehydrated and… Continue reading

City of Cranbrook, WildSafeBC report uptick in aggressive deer

WildSafeBC says it’s important to ensure that deer don’t make your yard their home

Chernove set to take on epic 1,000 kilometre cycling challenge

A local Paralympian is taking on an epic cycling challenge. Tristen Chernove… Continue reading

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read