Broken windows, hole in roof: Inmates cause disturbance at Saskatchewan jail

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — The union for correctional officers in Saskatchewan says two of its members were slightly hurt during a disturbance caused by inmates at a men's jail.

Verne Larson with the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union says the unrest on Monday at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre lasted about five hours and involved more than a dozen prisoners.

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He says inmates broke a number of windows and started at least one fire.

Larson says there's water damage and a hole in the roof that may have been caused during firefighting efforts.

Both the Prince Albert Police Service and an emergency response team from Saskatoon were called in to help guards who were on duty.

There have been reports in recent weeks about rising tensions in correctional facilities because of COVID-19 protocols.

During Monday's disturbance, inmates wrote the words "We’re getting treated like animals" on a towel and hung it out a window.

"I am surprised no one got seriously hurt," Larson said.

The trouble in Prince Albert highlights the risky job correctional officers face on a day-to-day basis, he said.

Larson, who oversees five correctional facilities in the province, suggested what happened Monday had less to do with COVID-19 and more to do with long-standing issues at the jail.

"Prince Albert seems to have the worst problem with gang-related incidents," he said.

"This incident highlights how important and how risky these jobs are at this facility. Every day our members go to work knowing the risks they will face."

The Ministry of Corrections said in a statement Tuesday that the unit involved in the disruption primarily houses gang-affiliated individuals on remand.

"The ministry has referred the incident to the police and will be conducting its own investigation," the statement said. (paNOW)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021

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