It’s one of the most infamous buildings in all of Canada, residing in the northeastern part of Edmonton. Of course, we’re talking about the Edmonton Institution, and there have been plenty of news stories to come out of the maximum security federal facility. Many of these stories have been in recent years, with many saying that there’s been an abundance of toxicity and violence, and changes need to be made as soon as possible.
The call is mainly coming from attorneys who find that their clients that are heading to the Edmonton Institution or are working there are being mistreated due to “systemic abuse and mismanagement.” Ivan Zinger is a correctional investigator, who says that “It is more than just a case of a few bad apples or isolated incidents. The service continues to face several lawsuits and ongoing allegations of harassment, abuse of power, neglect and intimidation from current and former Edmonton Institution employees as well as inmates.”
A report was conducted by Zinger after there were several assaults that happened between inmates, as well as the female staff at the Edmonton Institution experiencing what he describes as a “culture of fear,” with many not wanting to come forward to talk about the abuse that they have suffered. Defence attorney Tom Engel added that “It’s pretty disturbing and ironic that an institution that is supposed to enforce the law is, in fact, lawless.”
As a result, there are more investigations that will take place in the future to see if major changes need to be made at the institution, especially amongst the staff. “The minister (of public safety) also has the authority to direct the (Correctional Service of Canada) to address concerns and implement recommendations from my office or other sources,” Zinger added. “It’s a big old can of worms that’s been opened up already, but nothing’s being done about it. That’s the problem, said Engel.
An official investigative report mentioned that many of the incidents that “took place at an institution where the workplace culture is known to be especially problematic should have added to the sense of urgency and duty to act.”