Groups call for Pine Grove officers to be terminated

Pine grove Provincial Correctional Centre. PHOTO: BRADLEY RUSZKOWSKI

Two organizations are calling for the termination of several correctional officers from Pine Grove Correctional Centre, alleging that woman in remand has been a victim of abuse and assault.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) and its provincial organization, the Association of Métis, Non and Status Indians of Saskatchewan (AMNSIS) say that 21-year-old Joline Jaques has been in solitary confinement for 41 days, been pepper sprayed and gassed.

“There is no excuse for this display of spiritual, mental, and physical abuse,” stated National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples. “Joline, like all inmates, deserves to be treated with dignity, and the correctional officers responsible must be held to account. Time and time again, Canada’s provincial correctional centres fail to provide Indigenous peoples with basic human rights and safe custody.”

Jaques, a francophone Métis woman, is on remand and has not been convicted of an offense.

A news release by issued by CAP and AMNSIS says that Jaques was segregated as a response to her ongoing mental health issues and that along with extended isolation, she was “dragged to the showers to be sprayed off in her clothes and left there with no means to warm up,” said the release.
“After 15 hours in the showers, she was dragged back to segregation where she was stripped down naked and left again with nothing to keep warm in the chill of the night in an already cold cell.”

CAP is calling on administrators of Pine Grove Correctional Centre to immediately terminate employment of the correctional officers responsible. Abuse of Indigenous Peoples in Canada’s provincial correctional system must be met with consequence.

“Joline has not been found guilty of an offence. In Saskatchewan, the remand rate for Indigenous peoples is double that of non-Indigenous peoples” stated President Charlene Lavallee, AMNSIS.

“I wish I could say Joline’s experience of gross abuse and brutality is an exception, but I hear numerous examples of disturbing stories from the provincial institutions on a regular basis. Correctional officers need to be held to a higher standard, as they are responsibility for the care of vulnerable people while in custody,” added Beaudin.