Staff/Guards Strike Leaves Alberta Jails Abandoned and Locked Down

Supplementary staff and police have been called in at numerous Alberta jails, while inmates are put on complete lock up in their cells, because the routine guards and staff is performing a wildcat strike over working conditions. Majority guards recently abandoned the new facility, Edmonton Remand Centre, on early Friday evening, citing health and safety concerns, and began an abrupt job action which soon spread to other jails in the province too.

As of early Saturday, both the provincial government and union confirmed having walkouts at a minimum of seven jails. The situation enforced the province to transfer the duties of guards and staff to managers and police, while union leaders caution that this replacement will not even work until the morning, especially when it comes time to delivering food and medication to inmates. Justice Minister and Solicitor-General, Jonathan Denis, confirmed that the province has filed for an injunction to force the guards back to work and end an “illegal job action.”

Mr. Denis further mentioned in an official statement issued on Saturday morning that “any threats to public safety are dealt with swiftly and seriously by this government. We will investigate this fully.” He confirmed that the facilities are currently “securely operated” with replacement staff. He extended “thanks to everyone who is stepping up, including our policing partners, to ensure the continued safe operation of the facilities.” The strike initiated from the Edmonton Remand Centre, which was recently inaugurated and has the capacity to hold up to 1,952 inmates, which is labeled by province the “largest, most technologically advanced correctional facility of its kind in Canada.”

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