An evening assault left two correctional officers and one inmate injured at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary on Tuesday.
© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
At the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, which is shown on Thursday afternoon.
The incident happened at about 7:50 p.m. in the penitentiary‚Äôs maximum security unit.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs part of a criminal investigation,‚ÄĚ Correctional Service of Canada spokesperson Darcy Begrand noted. ‚ÄúSo all I can tell you is that the inmates were in a common area and attacked a single officer who was able to sort of fend them off ‚Ä¶ Then other officers responded and were able to immediately contain the situation.‚ÄĚ
At the time and place of the incident, a door was not secured that the officer was going to secure.
Several officers were posted to the area when the altercation began.
‚ÄúThe officers posted to that area ‚Ä¶ were able to isolate, contain and control that situation,‚ÄĚ Begrand said.
While a second officer was also injured during the incident, his injuries were not a direct result of the assault.
Begrand would not confirm reports that a warning shot was fired to end the melee.
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs all part of the criminal investigation ‚Ä¶ What I can tell you is that appropriate security measures in response to the incident were utilized,‚ÄĚ he said.
The injured staff members were evacuated and treated at an outside hospital. One inmate was also treated and released from hospital.
Regarding the current condition of the officers, Begrand stated, ‚ÄúI believe they‚Äôre recovering. The one involved directly in the assault is recovering with minor injuries ‚Ä¶ The secondary injured officer has had some followup, but he‚Äôs doing fine as well.‚ÄĚ
The maximum security unit has been placed on lockdown as a result of the incident, with all visits to the unit suspended until further notice.
‚ÄúWe normally only suspend visits when we need to address a serious issue that may involve more than just a single part of the unit or institution,‚ÄĚ Begrand said.
‚ÄúSo in this case, it was a fairly serious event and we need to focus our efforts on re-establishing safe procedures and populations, and ensure the safety of our staff, the officers as well as other inmates too.‚ÄĚ
Officers posted to that area ‚Ä¶ were able to isolate, contain and control that situation. Darcy Begrand
Begrand described attacks on guards as relatively uncommon at the facility.
Across the country, he added, it is far more common to see one-on-one attacks or a single inmate lashing out against two or three escorting officers, rather than a co-ordinated attack on a single officer or group of officers.
A key part of the investigation will be examining potential factors that might have contributed to the incident.
‚ÄúWe look at pre-incident indicators and look backward and see if there‚Äôs anything that happened prior to the incident that would lead us to believe that something may occur,‚ÄĚ Begrand said.
‚ÄúSo we always use some hindsight, and then we look forward ‚Ä¶ with the help of our security intelligence officers to determine whether or not there‚Äôs a risk of this happening in the near future and what to do with the people involved, or if there are any behind the scenes type of inmates involved.
‚ÄúSo there‚Äôs a significant investigation and local review done just to make sure that all the safety and security is maintained.‚ÄĚ
As it investigates the circumstances of the incident, the Correctional Service of Canada will continue to work with the Prince Albert RCMP.
‚ÄúThe bottom line of it all is that we are responsible for the safety of inmates, but we‚Äôre also as much or more responsible for the safety of our officers and staff members as well,‚ÄĚ Begrand said.
‚ÄúWe take these events extremely seriously and so does the CSC as a whole, so we try to prevent this as much as possible.‚ÄĚ