In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Prisoners Stage Work Strike To Protest Conditions

Inmates at Saskatchewan Penitentiary stage strike from their prison jobs
February 11, 2005
Canadian Press

PRINCE ALBERT, Saskatchewan (CP) -- Inmates at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary staged a one-day strike from their prison jobs earlier this week.

Most of the approximately 440 inmates in the general population at the penitentiary were locked in their cells after they refused to show up for work Monday, said prison spokesman Trent Mitchell.

The inmates staged a walkout to draw attention to a variety of issues, including overtime pay and non-smoking areas in parts of the facility, Mitchell said.

They were also upset about the quality of food, dust in air ducts and a lack of new kitchen equipment, such as dishwashers and carts.

Some also asked for access to parole officers and complained about white paint that was put on some of the walls in the facility.

"Some people went out and did some of their jobs," Mitchell said of the walkout. "But the majority of them didn't do their cleaning jobs or work in the kitchen or report to the shops."

Mitchell said the walkout didn't have to happen.

"Management view that (walkout) as having been unnecessary," he said. "All they had to do was ask to discuss, and we could have discussed it."

The walkout ended peacefully after one day.

Mitchell said new kitchen equipment is on order for the facility and other paint may be used on the walls when more comes in.

However, requests to have immediate access to a parole officer at all times cannot always be accommodated, he said, adding the penitentiary already meets national standards for food quality.

© Canadian Press