Gang activity cause of Prince Albert, Sask. jail incident: union

Click to play video: 'Gang activity cause of Prince Albert, Sask. jail incident: union' Gang activity cause of Prince Albert, Sask. jail incident: union
WATCH: Officials say inmates smashed windows and started fires at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre Monday – Jan 5, 2021

On Monday afternoon, inmates at the Prince Albert Correctional Centre broke windows and allegedly started a fire.

A spokesperson for the union that represents correctional officers said gang members were the culprits.

Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) representative Verne Larson told Global News the incident began around 2 p.m. when six or seven inmates started breaking glass and jail cell doors.

Read more: Inmates stage hunger strike, call for Saskatchewan corrections minister’s resignation

Larson said the unrest lasted about five hours and 15 or more inmates were involved.

Two correctional officers suffered minor injuries, he said. One member’s face was cut by broken glass and another hurt their back.

Story continues below advertisement

Prince Albert police, the fire department and Parkland Ambulance paramedics attended. A spokesperson for Parkland said, in an email, two medics were at the facility for three hours and didn’t treat anyone nor take anyone to hospital.

Larson said he didn’t know what the exact cause of the incident was and that he didn’t know the specifics around the officers’ injuries – but he said he was only surprised that no one was more severely hurt.

“We’ve told management this is just a powder keg waiting to happen,” he said, speaking over Zoom.

He said its the third time incident gang members have started at that facility in the past 12 months.

Read more: Advocate says steps needed to avoid more COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan prisons

He also clarified the unrest had nothing to do with COVID-19, unlike several demonstrations taking place at other incidents across the province.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Minister of Corrections confirmed the incident was in a unit that “primarily houses gang-affiliated individuals on remand” and that it was brought to an end at approximately 7 p.m.

Noel Busse, in an email to Global News, also said the ministry had referred the matter to Prince Albert police, which will investigate.

Story continues below advertisement

He said he couldn’t comment further because the incident relates to the safety and security of a provincial correctional facility.

Sponsored content