Despite a “significant outbreak” of COVID-19 at the Calgary detention center, there have been reports of inmates being triple bunks, according to defense attorneys, who are sounding the alarm under conditions at the northwest facility.
During her afternoon update, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer for health, reported 41 cases at CRC, up from just three last Tuesday.
According to a report made last week, the CRC has capacity for 34 infected inmates.
The CRC is now completely blocked. Inmates who are in the middle of the trial – including a murder trial – are banned from leaving the CRC in court, and even CCTV appearances have been canceled.
CRC is a secure facility for those awaiting a lawsuit or bail hearing. Many, if not all of the inmates there were not convicted of the charges they face.
“It’s grossly negligent,” said Tom Engel, an Edmonton attorney and president of the Canadian Prison Law Association.
“It’s disturbing to hear from a triple-bunking customer and someone tests positive and they just leave them in that situation. I don’t see how he might think that’s appropriate.”
Engel called it a “significant burst” that occurred in multiple units.
AHS is working to adhere to strict protocols with aggressive testing, according to Hinshaw.
The inmates are receiving masks. So far, only those who leave the facility have had access to a mask.
Defense attorney Chad Haggerty says he has a client who has triple new protocols and only allows inmates to leave their cells 1.5 to 2 hours a day.
Alberta Health Services previously stated that its facilities in the provinces adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols, but some inmates say they don’t.
“I keep hearing from prisoners that what the government and AHS are saying about compliance with COVID protocols in Alberta prisons is just plain wrong.”
New transfers to the Calgary Remand Center spend 14 days in a quarantine unit. If they develop symptoms, they are placed in an isolation unit.
The director of the Calgary Remand Center was due to meet with the Department of Health on Monday afternoon.