Jermaine Carvery’s escape from custody last Thursday points to the inadequacy of training and equipment provided to corrections officers in the province, a union representative says.
“Unfortunately, our correctional service members have been warning that such an incident as this escape could happen,” said Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union acting president Martha Brown in a news release.
Corrections officers are unarmed, and Brown said they should be permitted to carry basic equipment that most other peace officers take for granted, such as a baton, pepper spray or even a taser.
The Union also has long-standing health and safety concerns about the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside.
They filed a complaint with the Labour and Workforce Department at the beginning of October, pointing out the dangers of escort duty and inadequate staffing at the prison gatehouse.
Carla Grant, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said she couldn’t comment on the union’s complaint, but a Labour Department spokeswoman said the results of several meetings with health and safety officials and union representatives will soon be available.
“Our report is being finalized and will be issued this week,” said Danielle Kuhn.
Carvery, a prisoner being remanded at the Burnside jail, ran away from two corrections officers last week when he was being escorted to the Victoria General hospital for minor day surgery.
He jumped out of the transfer van in the hospital parking lot and outran the two unarmed guards when he entered a nearby construction site.
The 30-year-old somehow escaped the leg shackles he was wearing before exiting the van and discarded his handcuffs at the corner of South Street and Tower Road.
Halifax Regional Police have issued advisories of the man’s escape to police agencies across the country, but as of yesterday evening they had no news of his whereabouts.

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