REGINA – UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon Global News received word from Regina Correctional Centre inmate Forrest Pelletier that he and his fellow inmates are eating again.
Executive Director of Corporate Affairs at the Ministry of Justice Drew Wilby said that corrections has spoken with the food provider Compass Group. He said that Compass will be serving meals that meet provincial standards and follow the Canada Food Guide.
A hunger strike involving over 50 inmates began Saturday morning at the Regina Correctional Centre.
Inmates are objecting to the quality of food that is being served to prisoners, which is also available to staff at the facility.
Global News has learned that raw and uncooked eggs were served to inmates Saturday.
“I’m aware of the concerns of yesterday’s meal with the eggs and obviously that’s unacceptable,” said Wilby.
Concerns about uncooked food have been raised numerous times in the past month.
Inmates say a petition was created and then submitted Nov. 18 to management with a list of demands.
“I just think that this is inhumane what they’re serving us. I wouldn’t serve this to my dog and what they’re doing is wrong and enough is enough,” said Pelletier, who is serving time for break and entering and possession of a weapon.
“The offenders have obviously raised their concerns and we’re addressing those and looking at that. Both the team in Regina and the Ministry team here,” added Wilby.
Also in November, the private company Compass Group began serving food at all Saskatchewan jails.
After privatizing food services, the province boasted it would save $12 million over the five year contract with Compass Group and increase food quality.
“This will ensure consistency on nutritional values, on actual delivery of food throughout our correctional facilities. We currently don’t have that,” said Corrections Minister Christine Tell, in a scrum with media in August.
The opposition NDP has come out swinging with a statement warning against the potential impact to public safety.
“The Sask. Party is risking public safety in order to pursue privatization… Saskatchewan families also don’t want to see a flood of inmates needing medical care as a result of spoiled or raw food,” said Warren McCall, NDP Central Services critic.
Global News made numerous attempts to contact Compass Group but received no response.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that this isn’t the first time they’ve spoken to Compass Group about concerns over food quality. Another call between the parities is scheduled for Monday.