February 6, 2019

“I would like to pass along condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives were lost in our province’s correctional facilities,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) President Jerry Earle. “This has been an extremely difficult time for all involved.”

“We are in the process of going through the report in detail and will likely have more to say in the coming days once we have fully reviewed the report, its recommendations, and consulted with our members,” said Earle.

“Despite the environment in which our Correctional Officers work – the threats and acts of violence, the increasing severity of issues related to addictions and mental health, and the poor working conditions in some of our facilities – our members go to work every day to do their absolute utmost to serve with excellence via their dedication, training, and professionalism,” said Earle. “The health, safety, and well-being of everyone within those walls is their number one priority. None of our members want to lose anyone in their keep and they are devastated when it occurs.”

“The report identifies numerous issues with our correctional system and facilities; issues we have been raising for some time and ones that have been raised in previous investigations and reports. In particular, the need for better mental health supports from a healthcare perspective is something that we are pleased to see addressed in this report,” said Earle. “Improved mental health support systems and pathways, a new correctional facility to replace the HMP, additional health professional staff, improved training, and increased staff allocations and presence are all things that need to be implemented to improve the outcomes of our correctional facilities.”

“We are hopeful that the recommendations contained in the report are acted on by the provincial government. For our part, we are ready, willing, and able to be a partner in the process of implementing positive change in our correctional facilities,” said Earle.

“The time for reviews, reports, and talk has long passed. It is time for action.”

For further information, please contact:

Keith Dunne, NAPE Campaigns and Communications Coordinator

(cell) 709.631.9737  (email)