May 5, 2015
Hon. Christine Tell, Minister
Corrections and Policing
Government of Saskatchewan
Re: Violations within the RPCC
Dear Minister Tell:
I am writing to you, on behalf of our Coalition, to ask for your personal intervention in regard to two serious incidents which are alleged to have taken place within the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre (RPCC).
Incident # 1- September 6, 2014 (between 10:30-11:00 PM)- Unit 1-B
Two inmates were in a physical altercation with each other on Unit 1-B. Guards came to the area and began to take inmate Gordon Stonechild to the gang range. Since Gordon is an ex-gang member of the Native Syndicate, he knew that it was putting his life in danger to be placed on that range. Gordon fought against that move and punched a guard. We are told that other guards began severely beating Mr. Stonechild and continued beating him as he was carried out of that area. Other inmates were witnessing the beating and they began banging on the doors of their cells. We understand that Mr. Stonechild was kept in the hole for approximately three weeks and that this beating was “covered up”. Mr. Stonechild was not charged with assaulting a guard as he normally would have been. We can only assume that he was not charged because a videotape would have had to be produced which would have shown all of the guards’ actions. We are, however, asking that you, in your position as Minister, access the videotape and that you ensure that any appropriate disciplinary actions are taken. We are hopeful that this is not one of those cases where a certain camera on that day was not operational.
Incident #2-Feb. 24 or 25 2015 (Between 8 and 9 AM)-Unit 2-3
Inmate Zack Stevenson, on tier 3, Unit 2-3, was using the phone and began banging on the phone. We are told that a guard attended and began punching Mr. Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson’s cousin was able to see the guard punching Zack from his cell. Again, we are asking you as Minister to access this videotape from this time and place and to order any disciplinary action that may be warranted. It is not every day that we are provided with specific information about time and place of alleged abuse and we are hopeful that you will use this opportunity to ensure that such behavior is curtailed.
We also want to express our serious concern about inmates at RPCC being put in the hole by some power-tripping guards and kept there for far too long without having access to regular mental health assessments. We are told that inmates have been slashing up in the hole as their mental health deteriorates. We understand that inmates who are concerned about that situation and who see the need for a semi-secure unit with canteen access, staged a peaceful hunger-strike protest at the end of March / beginning of April 2015.We are told that these inmates were stripped naked and taken to the fresh air room while guards checked their cells. We understand that several inmates’ valued family photos were confiscated and thrown in the garbage. We ask you, as Minister, to thoroughly investigate these claims. Thank you for your anticipated assistance with these serious allegations of abuse. I’m sure that you will agree that the experience of incarceration is to be the punishment and that any punishment beyond that would be termed abuse.
Bob Hughes, Advocate/Spokesperson
Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism
c. Hon. Gordon Wyant
c. John Nilson, Opposition Critic