USJE National President David Neufeld visited the Sherbrooke Correctional Community Centre (CCC) in Montréal, Québec on January 20th, along with Local President Annie Blanchette (Local 10088, Montréal-Metropolitan District) and USJE Regional Vice-President, Andréanne Samson (CSC-Community, Québec region).
The visit was an opportunity to meet on site with federal Correctional employees that USJE represents and to discuss their working conditions. This visit was all the more important given that there was a gun shooting at this facility in the summer of 2022. While thankfully no one was physically injured, it was extremely discombobulating for staff and offenders.
The Sherbrooke CCC is located in a high-traffic, residential area of Montreal. Since this shooting, USJE has been strongly advocating for changes and improvements to security at the facility. The safety and security of USJE’s members working in the CCC, and those residing there, is a key priority.
During the visit, it was identified that the Correctional Service did make some modest changes in response to the shooting. A Security Intelligence Officer was added (although they do not work physically at the site) and a more stringent review of offenders considered for placement is now completed before being assigned to the site.
However, given that employees have been waiting for some time for the installation of a new camera system, it is not apparent how much the Correctional Service is willing to do to protect staff and offenders at the facility.
As for the windows at the site, while plastic film has been added, none have been changed, except those that were shattered during the shooting and later replaced.
USJE has been strongly advocating for the installation of bulletproof glass at this site since the day following the incident. The Correctional Service has yet to make any significant progress on addressing this specific demand.
Another area of concern remains the high workload of Parole Officers at the CCC. Like other CCCs across Canada, Sherbrooke houses some of Canada’s highest risk offenders in the Community.
These cases take a significant amount of time to manage, and the current caseload ratio is simply too high.
In 2013, the Correctional Service increased the ratio of Parole Officers to offenders from 1:8 to 1:13. USJE has been clear that the ratio needs to be lowered to the 1:8 level so that staff have the time required to closely supervise and support offenders in their reintegration plans. CSC has opted to not return to the lower ratio, despite repeated calls to do so.
USJE President David Neufeld and RVP Samson would like to thank the members at Sherbrooke CCC for meeting with them and sharing their perspective on how to improve the safety and security of the facility.
USJE remains committed to advocating for significant changes to the working conditions of our members at the Sherbrooke CCC and the other CCCs across the country.