The Saskatchewan Green Party is calling on the Moe government to immediately release the immunocompromised from prisons and detention centres, along with those not at risk to reoffend.
Premier Moe’s continued mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis combines with his party’s draconian justice practices to further threaten the health of all Saskatchewanians.
Four of Saskatchewan’s adult jails and three youth correction facilities have COVID-19 outbreaks.
The SaskParty Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell says she cannot release prisoners. Further demonstrating a lack of understanding on the issue, she has no idea how the virus got into her facilities in the first place.
“This is deplorable”, states Naomi Hunter, leader of the Saskatchewan Green Party. “Saskatchewan has double the number of remand prisoners than the Canadian average. And hearing a government minister saying she can’t do anything to reduce the numbers of prisoners in a COVID-19 infested jail is quite frankly unacceptable. It is time for her to step down.”
Instead of reforming the criminal justice system the government has expanded the courts. There are now four separate courts operating in Saskatoon. Space is rented in the First Nations Bank building where a traffic court operates, and in the tower on 22nd Street beside the Tim Hortons.
The Saskatchewan Green Party calls on this government to be accountable. Where is the commitment to invest in people, not prisons?
“Minister Tell gets it right when she describes corrections as the ‘back-end’ of the system”, states Hunter. “Now we need her and Scott Moe to take responsibility for the front-end.
We spend extra to rent more court space, and have more staff at every level of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, but where are the investments in community development, education, healthcare?”
The Saskatchewan Green Party insists that Premier Moe and Minister Tell do the right thing here and take immediate measures to reduce the risk to inmates, corrections workers, their families and the province as a whole.
We need more community-based sentences, not the potential death sentences that come with unnecessary COVID-19 exposure in our crowded jails.
Naomi Hunter, Leader – Saskatchewan Green Party