New Year’s Eve in Prince Albert, Sask. Staff, inmates injured in prison riot: Documents Pipa News

New Year’s Eve in Prince Albert, Sask. Staff, inmates injured in prison riot: Documents

Four inmates from a prison in Prince Albert, Sask, face charges after starting a riot on New Year’s Eve, according to documents obtained by CBC News.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety told CBC News in January that on December 31, 2022, there was a “disturbance” in one of the units of the Prince Albert Correctional Centre.

But incident reports and official notes, obtained through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIP) request, suggest the ministry understood the incident: several inmates vandalized the unit and set fire to the correctional facility. The officer and an inmate were injured, and a response team was deployed to get control of the emergency.

,[The] The situation was non-negotiable and considered tactical,” one officer wrote in his incident report.

According to the documents, at around 7 p.m. CST, correctional officers ordered an inmate to be locked up, but he refused. He threw several plates of food on the floor. Several more prisoners then advanced towards the officers. Officers tried to calm them down, but inmates began to heckle them, the documents say.

The officers went to the unit’s sally port, a secure entrance to an enclosure. They pulled out pepper spray and the prisoners retreated.

Within minutes, crews responded to the unit after receiving the call over the radio. Responding officers observed two inmates throwing trash around the unit. The documents said one of them was wielding a broom and shouting at the staff.

The inmates disobeyed several orders to stop, then threw “whatever they found,” according to an officer’s incident report. The inmate with a broom handle began throwing apples at the officers, who retreated to the staff office for refuge.

From the office, an officer spoke to the inmate who was willing to talk and explained that he was upset with the current living arrangements for inmates in the unit.

“He would start yelling at me when he felt we didn’t understand what he was saying,” another officer noted of his incident. “He kept saying that we were treating him and his border like dogs and animals in cages.”

He said that the prisoner kept throwing the apple.

The report stated that the talks were going nowhere and the inmate escalated the situation. He and another inmate began to vandalize the unit: throwing garbage around, breaking windows, and lighting a fire in one of the cells.

At this point, officers noticed that four inmates were handing out “some sort of liquid” and appeared to be “really intoxicated,” according to the documents.

Eventually a second fire was lit in a garbage can. Two fires set off the unit’s sprinklers. The inmates used trays to pry open the ends of the sprinklers before beginning to smash the office window with a broken broom handle. The staff began to retreat as the inmates threw burning trash through the broken window.

“The staff office was no longer secure,” one official said in his report.

Employees were eventually directed to call the Emergency Response Team for help. When the prisoners became conscious, they began pouring water on the floor and stairs, covering the surfaces with “slippery liquids”, such as soap, toilet bowl cleaner, and wet towels.

Barbed wire circles on top of the gated fence, which encloses a vast compound.  With many large, concrete buildings.
Correctional staff at Prince Albert Prison, shown here, had to call in an emergency response team to get control of the situation. (Google Map)

The prisoners eventually broke into a storage room, removed the metal shelving and barricaded the landing on the stairs. The mini fridge in the kitchen was also used as part of the barricade. The prisoners tied sweaters to a gate and locked it in for more cold storage.

The report states that prisoners would chant “to the west” to other prisoners and they would echo the chant in response.

According to notes taken in real time by an officer, the emergency response team appeared around 9 pm CST and left with four prisoners at around 9:30 pm CST.

Officials note that maintenance arrived around 10 p.m. CST, spending the rest of the night securing the unit. After midnight all the prisoners were removed.

An extensive report written after the incident stated that the injuries were caused by staff being hit in the head by the apple – although it did not specify how many were injured. An inmate also received stitches for a cut he sustained during the incident.

According to the report, four prisoners were to be charged, but information about them was protected under the FOIP Act.

The incident has been handed over to the police, the provincial government said in January.

CBC News has contacted the Prince Albert Police Service for more information about the investigation and allegations.


Most Popular

Most Popular