Feces and urine hurled at jail guard in Saanich

A mixture of feces and urine was thrown at a guard at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, hitting her on the face and chest.

“It is about the most degrading, inhumane assault that you can imagine,” said Dean Purdy, chairman of the corrections and sheriff services component of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union.

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The correctional officer was speaking with an inmate at the Wilkinson Road jail in Saanich on Thursday when another inmate approached and threw the mixture at her.

“We find these types of assaults disturbing, disgusting and dangerous tactics that go far beyond anything that can be considered humane,” Purdy said.

The guard was serving alone in one of the living units — an area that includes a number of cells and facilities such as a kitchen — at the time, he said. There were 28 inmates in the unit on Thursday.

The union is calling for increased staffing levels so that two officers are on duty in the area at the same time, he said.

Purdy said the assault is indicative of a trend seen in B.C.’s nine jails, where violent assaults climbed to 1,394 last year, from 978 in 2014. At the Wilkinson Road facility, there were 15 in 2015, up from six in the previous year.

Thursday’s incident took place without any provocation, he said, and a lockdown was imposed.

Saanich Police Acting Sgt. Jereme Leslie said the matter is being investigated and video will be reviewed.

Purdy is calling on B.C.’s Crown counsel, the office that determines whether criminal charges will be laid, to follow through on this incident, “so it sends a message to other inmates that this type of thing will not be tolerated.”

Correctional institutions can also impose their own internal charges, he said.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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