Home xgvjeaaaTensions higher than ever inside bursting Saskatoon jail

Tensions higher than ever inside bursting Saskatoon jail

Province blames changing gang affiliations for violence at Saskatoon jail Saskatoon jail locked down after fights involving gang members 18-year-old man stabbed at Saskatoon jail, two men arrested Inmates raising concerns about conditions inside the Saskatoon jail Inmate dies in Saskatoon jail overnight A breakdown in relations between two of the province’s largest gangs has led to an eruption of violence that has some inmates and staff at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre fearing for their safety.“I’ve been going there since 1998, and I’ve never seen it like this,” said Fr. André Poilièvre, who routinely visits the “bursting” facility as part of his work with Str8 Up, the organization he founded that works to help young people leave street gangs.Tension continued to build even after members of the once-friendly Westside Outlaws and Indian Posse were segregated following two major fights in the jail late last month, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has learned.There have been confrontations and fights between members of the gangs, which are rivalled only by the Terror Squad in terms of size and power, since a five-day lockdown was lifted at the end of August, sources inside the jail said.“If you just came in today and you’d never been there before, you’d take it for granted that that’s what going on. But people like myself who have been going there for 30 years have seen the escalation of that stress and that tension and that conflict,” Poilièvre said.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“It’s strictly survival on both sides, staff and inmates,” Poilièvre said, adding that he does not blame correctional workers for a situation he attributes to an increasingly violent street culture combined with methamphetamine.The jail was locked down in August after four inmates were injured in two separate fights between gang members following what the provincial government has described as a sudden break between the Indian Posse and the Westside Outlaws.Those incidents led the union representing jail guards to describe the facility as a “powder keg.”Ministry of Corrections and Policing spokesman Drew Wilby said in an email this week that relocating 40 per cent of the jail’s population in order to separate gang members has “gone a long way to ensuring the safety of staff and inmates.”“We have not seen similar incidents to what occurred at Saskatoon Correctional Centre a couple of weeks ago … As a standard course of business, we continue to review the security protocols in place and will continue to adapt where required,” Wilby said.Sources inside the jail said there have been confrontations and altercations between members of different gangs since the lockdown was lifted, including one that began after a door between two secure areas was inadvertently left open.“It’s unpredictable, man. You don’t know what’s going to happen, whether or not somebody’s going to f—ing roll on you or somebody’s going to just attack you out of nowhere,” said Phillip Bear Morin, who is currently on remand.“The violence is escalating and there’s nothing for the people in here,” Morin said in reference to programming for prisoners who spend weeks or months on remand without being convicted of a crime. He is not a gang member, he added.Wilby declined to provide information on what he called “minor altercations.”Poilièvre said one problem is that it’s not always easy to determine which inmates are gang members. One obvious solution is to stop “warehousing” prisoners and instead concentrate on healing and rehabilitation, he said.Morin offered a similar, albeit more succinct assessment: “Not f—ing packing the place.”amacpherson@postmedia.comtwitter.com/macphersonaRelated

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