Guard and prisoner safety at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre and other provincial jails is about to fall under the scrutiny of investigators with WorkSafeBC.
WorkSafeBC will inspect all nine B.C. prisons during the next 12 months. A risk assessment at two jails will be complete by the end of the year, Megan Johnston, a spokeswoman for the compensation board, said Friday.
Jails can be a dangerous place to work, but WorkSafeB.C. intends to see how safe each facility is and if the province has properly addressed any risks, she said.
“If changes are required, orders will be properly written and the employer will comply with them,” said Johnston.
The tour comes at the end of 18 months of negotiations between the corrections branch of the B.C. Government and Services Employees’ Association, the province and the compensation board.
Union representative Dean Purdy hopes WorkSafeBC will validate what corrections officers have said for years — that violence between inmates and inmates and guards is becoming unmanageable.
“They have the ability to affect change in our jails,” said Purdy.
He said the inmate-to-prisoner ratio has become dangerously unbalanced since the B.C. Liberals came into power a decade ago. At KRCC, the ratio is 40 to one.
There have been at least eight or nine inmate attacks on guards this year.
In an email, B.C. Corrections spokeswoman said safety remains a priority and the province supports whatever feedback WorkSafeBC can provide.