Prison guards are granted exceptional powers to manage inmates in their custody, including the right to use physical force. However, they are required to exercise their authority humanely and lawfully. Using greater force on inmates than is necessary to gain control, applying force with the intent to injure, or continuing to apply force when it is no longer needed is considered excessive and unreasonable. These are acts of assault that can trigger workplace discipline and even criminal charges. My Office has received complaints about correctional staff using excessive and unreasonable force against inmates for many years. In 1998, one of my predecessors carried out an investigation on this issue, after which the Ministry, then called the Ministry of Correctional Services, undertook to make changes in policies and procedures.
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