Overcrowding making life dangerous for workers and inmates in prisons

The people who supervise inmates at Canada’s overcrowded federal prisons say bulging populations mean less opportunity for rehabilitation, and they fear a more dangerous breed of convict will be released back on the streets.

Hundreds of officers of the Correctional Service of Canada are expected to rally Saturday outside Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s constituency office in Calgary to protest what they say are increasingly dangerous conditions inside penitentiaries.

Climbing incarceration rates and a toxic mix of convicts, many of them with gang ties, have made life behind bars more difficult for prisoners and the people who work with them, says Pierre Mallette, the national president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.

Mr. Mallette has been on a cross-country tour of federal institutions to learn first hand about the challenges facing his members and says the problems associated with overcrowding top of the list.
Although the national crime rate has been dropping since 1992 and is now at levels not seen since 1972, policies of the federal Conservative government have put more people behind bars.

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