Canada Edmonton Remand Centre inmates stage hunger strike

14:51  09 january  2018
14:51  09 january  2018 Source:   Edmonton Journal

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Edmonton . Dozens of inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre have launched a hunger strike , complaining that their food portions are too small and they're forced to wear the same clothes for a week at a time.

An Edmonton Remand Centre inmate who was taken to hospital last week due to a suspected drug overdose has died. Last Wednesday, two inmates from the facility were taken to hospital after possible drug overdoses.

Inmates at the Edmonton Remand Centre were on a hunger strike Monday because they want to spend less time in their cells and more time in the common area of their unit, officials say.

About 55 inmates refused to eat their provided meals Sunday, Dan Laville, spokesman for Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, said in a statement Monday.

“They still had access to food from other sources such as canteen purchases,” Laville said. “Since then and after ongoing dialogue, most inmates have now resumed eating their meals. Discussions are continuing between management and the remaining 19 inmates.”

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Edmonton . Inmates in the maximum-security section of the Calgary Remand Centre are staging a hunger strike , saying they are being mistreated.

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Alberta Health Services staff were monitoring the inmates’ physical condition, the statement said.

“The safety of staff, inmates and visitors is paramount in all our correctional centres,” Laville said.

Tensions between guards and inmates have been high over the past few months, with officials imposing a nearly 12-hour lockdown Dec. 15  after “serious assaults on correctional officers.”

One of the resolutions reached to end the lockdown including letting inmates in common areas on a rotating basis only.

The remand centre provides three meals a day on business days — breakfast, lunch and supper. It serves two meals — brunch and supper — on other days.

“No more than three ‘brunch’ days are permitted in a row and in the event of a four-day weekend, the centre director will provide meal direction (e.g., directing that one of the four days has breakfast, lunch and supper),” Louise McEachern, a spokeswoman for the Justice and Solicitor General Department, said in an email last week.

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However, the inmates get snacks twice per day on business and non-business days, she said. These include a peanut butter and jam sandwich served on the food trays at lunch/brunch and supper meal periods.

Court meals are provided for those scheduled to be transported to court before normal breakfast time, she added.

“Meals and portions are approved by a registered dietician and follow the Canada Food Guide to healthy eating with additional items that are required to satisfy the need for variety,” she said. “Meal substitutions are provided to inmates who require a diet that meets their religious or medical dietary restrictions.”

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