Prison, city complaints highlight ombudsman report

Pine grove Provincial Correctional Centre. PHOTO: BRADLEY RUSZKOWSKI

The provincial ombudsman was busier than ever this year, as an increase in correctional complaints and the addition of municipal issues added to the independent office’s workload.

The 2016 ombudsman’s report was released Thursday.

In total, 3,419 complaints within the ombudsman’s jurisdiction were received in 2016, 22 per cent more than in 2015 and 48 per cent more than two years ago.

Over 500 of those complaints, or 15 per cent were about municipalities, as 2016 was the first full year in which the office could take those complaints.

Of those, about a third were about council member conduct, including conflicts of interest.

While the ombudsman’s office did not break the complaints down by municipality, cities accounted for 114 of the complaints, while RM residents contributed 156.

The highest volume of complaints came from correctional centres. The 932 complaints made up 27 per cent of the total.

Locally, both provincial correctional facilities saw a spike in complaints. Prisoners at Pine Grove made 84 complaints in 2016 up from 53 in 2015 and 42 in 2014. Prince Albert correctional, meanwhile, contributed 156 complaints, up from 110 in 2015 and 130 in 2014.

Across all correctional centres, more than 25 per cent of complaints were about medical concerns. The trend held true in P.A.’s prisons, as that category also topped the list in Pine Grove and Prince Albert Correctional.

For more on this story, please see the April 28 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.