BRANDON, MAN. - Brandon police are beginning to lay charges against gang members allegedly involved in a planned riot at a provincial jail in the western Manitoba city about five months ago.
Police allege 27 inmates at Brandon Correctional Centre were involved in the Oct. 4, 2009, uprising.
So far, six have been charged, police said Wednesday.
Police said five men – two 19-year-olds, two 20-year-olds and a 26-year-old – are charged with rioting, failing to disperse and escaping lawful custody.
A 23-year-old man is charged with assaulting a peace officer, assault with a weapon and intimidation of a justice system participant.
More will be charged, police said.
The guards’ union blamed overcrowding conditions for the four-hour revolt.
At the time, officials said the jail housed 282 inmates and had a rated capacity of 157.
As of Thursday, it had 254 inmates and a capacity of 164, a Manitoba Justice spokesperson said.
The union is calling for the construction of a new 400- to 600-bed jail to ease the Manitoba-wide problem. The province hasn’t committed.
An 80-bed addition is being constructed at Brandon Correctional Centre.
Discussions regarding temporary units are ongoing between the province and union, a justice spokesperson said.
John Baert, spokesperson for the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, said operational changes have been implemented in response to the riot but he can’t disclose them due to security reasons.
Baert said it’s the union’s understanding the government’s internal review of the incident is ongoing.
The review will remain confidential but will contain operational decisions and measures to prevent further incidents, a justice spokesperson said.
Those allegedly involved in the riot are members of the same gang, officials said previously.
The uprising broke out during a routine lockdown to confirm inmate counts.
Inmates formed a line, walked towards staff and began tossing chairs and causing a ruckus.
Correctional officers locked the doors and locked down the rest of the jail.
Inmates trashed the unit, comprised of two sub-units, and broke through an exterior wall. One inmate suffered a minor injury. No guards were injured.
After negotiations failed, the corrections emergency response team entered the unit and used pepper spray to subdue and apprehend the inmates.