Faith Eagle is one of many inmates in Saskatchewan who are protesting for better conditions in the province’s correctional institutions.
Eagle, who is serving 18 months at Pine Grove Correctional Centre outside of Prince Albert, is hoping to hold the government accountable.
“For equality of rights are drinking water quality, food quality, the way we’re treated, sexual harassment, (and) racism,” said Eagle, in a phone interview with Global News. “We keep on putting complaints because the water smells dirty. It smells like a sewer. It smells musty.”
Eagle started the hunger strike end of October with four other female inmates and says they are also joined in solidarity with several male inmates at Saskatoon Correctional Centre who are protesting for the same reasons.
“(We) want (the government) to know that we won’t tolerate (it anymore). We will not tolerate discrimination. We will not tolerate our rights being infringed upon,” said Eagle. “We’re still citizens of Canada, and we will not be treated less than. We want better quality in our water.”
Sherri Gordon, the founder of Beyond Prison Walls Canada, which advocates for inmates, is in constant contact with the women at Pine Grove Correctional Centre.
“They start getting stomach aches and they get diarrhea and all that,” said Gordon. “So, Pine Grove had the water tested. Elizabeth Fry asked for the results, but they wouldn’t share it.”
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Gordon receives concerns all the time from other female inmates, which includes four envelopes of complaints from different women at Pine Grover Correctional Centre.
“The water is bad.The guards treat them like crap,” said Gordon. “These women, even men, they know they’re there for a reason. They’re not asking for five-star treatment, but they want to be treated with respect and dignity because they’re still human beings.”
“If the quality of drinking water at Pine Grove is in question, I encourage the Ministry to test the water to ensure it is safe for consumption, and to make those results public,” says official opposition justice critic Nicole Sarauer.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety. stated in an email response to Global News that they are aware that four offenders at Pine Grove Correctional Centre are participating in a tray refusal for personal and cultural reasons.
“The tray refusal began on October 31 … PGCC Officials will continue to monitor and meet with the offenders to ensure their health and safety and discuss any concerns they may have,” stated the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety. “Questions regarding water quality at the facility can be directed to the Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement.”
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