Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan
January 7, 2016
Between 100 and 150 prisoners at Regina Provincial Correctional Centre in Saskatchewan refused meals for 24 hours to protest the quality of food they were being served by private foodservice company Compass Group of Canada. Compass took over food services in the provinces’ prisons in November of 2015.
The food strikers described the food they were protesting as “horrible,” with one striker saying, “I wouldn’t serve this to my dog.” Prisoners also described seeing flies in the food and being served frozen lunch meat and watered-down powdered milk.
Kenneth Morrison from the Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan said he can no longer stomach the food and warned the prison of the planned food strike, saying, “We’re going to start sending all the trays back … the meat is either uncooked or smells.” Morrison also said that he and about 100 other inmates signed a petition to join the strike and that many of the signatories are Aboriginal peoples.
Drew Wilby, spokesman for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections and Policing, said that because the prisoners have access to the canteen the government does not consider the tray refusal a hunger strike.
A study done by a nutritionist in the wake of the food strike argued that the processed meat and potatoes served for most meals are acceptable some of the time, but shouldn’t be used on a regular basis.
Since the switch to Compass, there have been four protests at correctional facilities in the province, including one in December 2015 at Regina CC.
“Inmates again refusing trays to protest food quality at Regina jail“, Regina Leader-Post, January 8, 2016.
“Food tray protest over at Regina jail“, CBC News, January 8, 2016.
“Aboriginal inmates in Regina to go on hunger strike over ‘gross’ jail food“, APTN National News, January 5, 2016.
“Hunger strike ends at Regina Correctional Centre, says Saskatchewan government“, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, January 8, 2016.
“Regina prison inmates end hunger strike“, Global News, January 7, 2016.