Correctional officers concerned about the new Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac

Moncton: The Union representing the correctional officers in New Brunswick, CUPE Local 1251 feels it has been kept out of the loop concerning the Southeast Regional Centre in Shediac which will open soon.

“Because this new jail is an open concept, we are concerned about how the inmates are going to be assessed when they first arrive at the facility.  We still don’t know what process will be followed by the administration but we believe that every inmate should be held in admission until his case go through a classification meeting”, said Everett Godfrey, President of CUPE 1251, the provincial institutional unions.

“This procedure could avoid problems on the units.  A classification meeting is where a multi-disciplinary team assesses the inmate and decides in which unit he should be sent”, explained Godfrey.

“Another concern of the correction officers is the ratio of officers/offenders. We believe that the ratio officer/inmates is too low. In the new jail, the ratio is one officer for 30 inmates and in some other correctional facilities in the province, the ratio is one officer for 20 inmates. For the first few weeks, extra personnel should be allocated on the units to allow everybody to settle in as well as extra floaters in case of an emergency”, added Godfrey.

“This open concept is a new way to interact in a jail setting.  Most correctional officers are used to the old setting where the interaction with inmates is done in a controlled environment.  In this jail, the inmates and the correctional officers will be side-by-side all day long; it’s a direct supervision setting.  Everybody will need time to adjust to this new environment”, concluded Godfrey.