Security in Canadian Prisons
"They [incarcerated rioting convicts] ripped beds off walls, heavy steel beds. Desks were thrown into a pile. They used them to block doors. Windows were smashed out, they were setting fires to mattresses, smashed the fridges and microwaves."
"It was confined to one portion of the medium security area -- an area that housed approximately 185 inmates. It was in the living unit."
"At the point when this happened -- everybody -- 185 inmates -- refused to go to their programs, their work, their school. At that point, normally, we lock up. But when they went to close the area, the inmates refused to go into their cells."
"In the rioting area, every window is smashed out and all the heat registers are pulled off the walls and smashed. So the place is completely destroyed."
"From my members, they said [the trouble] had been bubbling for a few days for sure. There are a few different stories right now about what could have been the actual trigger, I guess."
James Bloomfield, Union of Canadian Correctional Officers
"Firearms use is very strictly regulated and controlled [by prison guards] and it's used as a means of last resort to make sure the incident is brought back under control."
"[Corrections staff discharged firearms] to bring the situation under control."
Jeff Campbell, Correctional Service Canada spokesman
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Thomas Porter/File A section of the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert.
The 43-year-old, serving a 31-month sentence for breaking and entering, was pronounced dead 40 minutes after arriving at hospital.
Another six inmates after the massive riot that took place at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary for a 24-hour period, were left with non-life-threatening injuries caused by guards firing shutgun pellets in an effort to return order to the prison. It was after negotiations with prison staff broke down after inmates refused to return to their lock-ups that the riot began.
A lockdown was soon instituted and then expanded to include the maximum-security wing of the prison. It was after the unit was secured that the injured inmates were discovered by prison staff. A guard was also taken to hospital when he was exposed to blood after dealing with one of the stabbed inmates. The Saskatchewan Penitentiary is geared to accommodate the housing of 900 to 1,000 prisoners.
Some 400 correctional officers are on staff at the prison. Inmates in the medium-security area serve sentences reflecting a full range of crimes, including that of murder, a charge that seems far more fitting to have anyone convicted of murder serving out their time in the maximum security wing, if common sense is applied.
The dead man's murderer appears not yet to be known to authorities, since no arrests followed the riot. According to the RCMP, an autopsy has been scheduled for the coming week. Increasingly in Canadian prisons, vicious assaults by some inmates against others take place. This has become so commonplace that prisoners witnessing such assaults go about their business seemingly unconcerned, and guards appear in no great hurry to respond.
This riot situation appears to have been used as a handy screen for someone wanting to kill someone else. Human nature at its most base. And perhaps reflective of the general state of psychosocial debasement of many locked up in such institutions, though by no means all. It's hard to imagine that a prisoner could be serving time for a non-violent crime only to become victimized by another inmate with no compunction about visiting lethal violence on others when opportunity arises.