4 Edmonton prison staff members fired after allegations of intimidation, criminal activity
Federal prison put under new management, confidential tip line set up after allegations came to light
CBC News Posted: Jan 09, 2018 10:23 AM MT Last Updated: Jan 09, 2018 10:53 AM MT
After allegations of harassment, intimidation, bullying — and possible criminal offences — perpetrated by guards at the Edmonton Institution, four correctional employees at the maximum security prison have been fired.
The unnamed employees were "disciplined and terminated," the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) confirmed in a public statement on Tuesday.
An internal investigation is continuing, corrections officials said.
"Over the course of several weeks, allegations of inappropriate employee conduct were brought directly to the attention of the Commissioner of Corrections by staff and inmates at Edmonton Institution," the statement says.
"In response to these concerns, the Commissioner directed that an investigation be conducted to ascertain the exact nature and extent of these allegations."
The investigation began in 2017. Correctional Service of Canada commissioner Don Head flew to Edmonton's federal prison in mid-September to personally announce both criminal and administrative investigations.
Following a months-long inquiry, CBC News learned that at least seven employees — including some managers and acting managers — were walked off the property and suspended without pay around the same time as Head's announcement.
A third-party team was contracted to look into the allegations. It found a number of them were founded, and four employees have been fired.
Additional disciplinary hearings are still pending, said CSC.
Edmonton police were informed of the allegations, and the force is still conducting its own separate investigation into any criminal misconduct.
CSC said it is fully co-operating with police.
The prison is under new management, and prison officials said they have brought measures to improve working conditions, including a new confidential tip line for employees to report misconduct, and increased training for staff to help prevent "inappropriate conduct."
"The result of the disciplinary process shows that we are committed to holding employees accountable for their actions," said Head in Tuesday's statement.
"We do not tolerate employee misconduct and all allegations are thoroughly investigated, regardless of the source."
Sources told CBC News the suspensions are linked to allegations of sexual assault, assault, harassment and employee misconduct.
Over the course of a year, CBC News interviewed seven past or present Edmonton Institution employees who say they have direct knowledge of sexual harassment, threats and intimidation by male staff against female employees at the facility. They say it's been happening for several years.
The sources said female staff in general — and female prison guards in particular — are targeted by some male co-workers with degrading comments, jokes, gestures and sexual advances.With files from Marion Warnica Articled from the CBC RSS Syndication CBC.ca - RSS Feeds Copyright is that of their respective owners (CBC) Calgary News Releases
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