When I first heard of some very serious problems at Edmonton’s Federal Prison, I probably did not give it the attention it deserved.
And then I got a telephone call (out of the blue) from a female prison guard who is presently on unpaid sick leave.
I get a large number of quick calls as a result of the content of this “blog”. This one shocked me.
I won’t mention the name of the prison guard but am absolutely convinced that she was very sincere about the information she shared with me. Among other things, we shared a lengthy discussion about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which I refer to as a work-place injury and certainly NOT an illness.
The ex prison guard phoned again the next day though I haven’t heard from her again. I passed along a number of useful contacts to her including Human Rights, Legal Aid, her local Member of Parliament and a couple of media contacts.
After speaking to this person, I began some research on the Edmonton Prison facility. A CBC story form last fall tell me that what I was being told was likely to be true.
The CBC story (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/whistleblowers-call-sexually-explicit-recordings-at-edmonton-prison-dangerous-1.3861599) had scant coverage back in November 2016 and not much else happened in the public realm.
Those who follow my “blog” on a regular basis know that I tend to investigate and write investigative piece about social justice issues frequently ignored by the main stream media (the MSM). I hold several theories about why it is that certain stories are not made more widely known – most of my theories have to do with politics of one form or another. The stories that I write about are typically injustices of one form or another and show the unfairness of things that just do not seem to fit into Canadian social values.
The individual I spoke with is a young woman likely in her late twenties or early thirties. I will call her Mary though that is not her actual name. She presently lives in western Canada and is absolutely a victim of PTSD. My conversations with her revealed some terrible workplace experiences at the hands of male co-workers and events that took place inside her workplace (the Correction Services Canada prison in Edmonton, Alberta).
PTSD – A Work Place Injury
Mary painfully recounted workplace events describing her difficult and short career at the Edmonton Penitentiary. As a PTSD survivor, it became readily clear to me that these events triggered emotional pain that only a PTSD victim can comprehend.
It is so very difficult to find that emotionally safe and happy mental space needed to heal. Though, I can assure you that there is no cure for PTSD – only to learn coping strategies that enable the victim to fight off that monster called PTSD.
Mary’s retelling of her story to me during the two times she called me left me convinced (beyond any doubt) that the slightest thoughts of some very vivid sexual assaults at the hands of co-workers was an almost instantaneous trigger setting off near hysteric responses.
I do not doubt that she was once hospitalized for a suspected suicide attempt brought on by her “industrial injury” (PTSD). Similarly, there was little doubt (in my mind after listening to her) that panic driven paranoia governs a large part of what was once a happy mind.
I did a bit of research on her allegations and they are perfectly consistent with the stories discussed in CBC reporter’s Marian Warnicka’s story written on November 22, 2016.
Mary painfully revealed some crude and violent incidents in which she had been harassed and sexually assaulted by fellow (male) prison guards at the Edmonton facility where she was employed. Those stories (in retrospect) almost perfectly match incidents revealed in the CBC story.
However, what is even more troubling is how Mary’s supervisors (a Prison Warden), Correction Services Canada and (even) her own union dealt with Mary. The “bad guys” in this case are two male prison guards and not the felons being guarded at the prison.
Mary has been on unpaid leave now for over a year and thus having a financial struggle to add to her problems. He marriage ended shortly after in a divorce and her employer has refused to help her access Long Term Disability financial help which would facilitate counseling that she badly needs. In addition to her forced exile from employment any access to Unemployment Insurance has been effectively thwarted as a result of the Phoenix Computer Payroll system that refuse to produce such employment records as would at least give her access to Unemployment Insurance.
I am very much an “empath” and hear of a number of such incidents though few are as vulgar as what has been inflicted on “Mary”.
I hope and pray that Mary finds help and finds a way out from under the carpet where she has been swept by her employer and her union. It is troubling to comprehend how her two male co-workers are patrolling the ranges at Edmonton Prison and not dressed in orange and on the other side of the bars.
It is ironic and troubling that the Minister in charge of Canada’s prisons is Ralph Goodall (the Minister of Public Safety ). That is the same Ralph Goodall who is telling Canadians that we need not worry about the wide open borders across which thousands of migrants cross illegally.
The mess at the Edmonton penitentiary is nothing new. Goodall is well aware of the constantly deteriorating conditions at that institution. Even the union at the Edmonton site has acknowledged that things are woefully out of control. Can it be that a small group of 4 or 5 rogue prison guards operating with impunity inside the prison walls? If only a small percentage of what Mary told me is correct (and I suspect that it is all correct), such things have no place in a workplace in Canada. An atmosphere of sexual harassment and fear is not acceptable and casts doubts about the alleged pro-feminist beliefs of Canada’s “current” Prime Minister.
It is worrisome and unsettling that if Mr. Goodall permits such things to take place inside a maximum security prison; we have a great deal to worry about what is happening at our borders.
I can do little other than expose this terrible injustice. Among my readers are many in the political sphere. I hope that one of my readers will reach out to Mary. No worker – anywhere should be exposed to sexual abuse in exchange for a pay check and absolutely no one should become the victim for exposing a wrong doing.
Good luck Mary and PLEASE reach out to individuals I mentioned to you during our conversations.
Follow Lloyd’s articles on Twitter @LloydFournier1
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2017
The above article is copyrighted. You may use, copy or distribute this article conditional on attributing your source (Thunderbird Rising) and the author (Lloyd Fournier)