Winnipeg, September 16 – Regional Vice President, Jeff Sandelli, met virtually with Member of Parliament Kevin Lamoureux in Winnipeg in late August for an introductory conversation about the Union of Safety and Justice Employees (USJE) and its membership that spans 18 Federal departments under the Public Safety portfolio. MP Lamoureux was provided with valuable insight into USJE members behind-the-scenes contributions to public safety.
MP Lamoureux was also informed about the work that USJE members perform at the Osborne Community Correctional Centre (CCC) in his riding of Winnipeg North. Additional discussion took place with respect to the offender population that is housed at the location and how our members at Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) play a critical role in contributing to public safety while at the same time supporting safe offender reintegration.
MP Lamoureux expressed a keen interest and requested a tour of the CCC so that he could meet with our members and see the CCC first-hand.
This request was fulfilled on September 16 when MP Lamoureux was given a tour of the Osborne CCC. RVP Sandelli introduced the Member of Parliament to USJE members Parole Officer Sheena Rogister and Reintegration Worker, Max Becker-Golden, who work at the site. While guiding the tour, they provided information about the offender population housed at the facility, specifically that CCC’s across Canada primarily house the highest risk offenders under supervision in the community. Supervision and support strategies that balance societal reintegration and public safety were the focus of the discussion.
MP Lamoureux voiced many astute observations, including the location of the CCC being in a neighborhood with a higher level of crime/substance abuse and how this would represent additional challenges. This allowed for discussion with the respect to the escalation in the often-violent incidents, which have been playing out at CCC’s across Canada, with particular attention to the impact on our member’s physical and psychological health.
MP Lamoureux was made fully aware of the meagre portion of the CSC budget that was allotted to the community, which resulted in resourcing positions at minimum levels, often leaving our members with untenable caseloads. The CCC stood as a clear example that a significant increase in resources is required to provide the services and supports that are required to safely and effectively support both supervision and reintegration.
MP Lamoureux expressed his gratefulness for the tour as well as a heartfelt “thank you” to the members for the important work they undertake. He promised to communicate with his colleagues in the Liberal caucus about his experience with our members.