The province is sending a clear message that illegal activity will not be tolerated in its correctional facilities. Work continues to clean up illegal drug activity at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.
The RCMP and Halifax Regional Police today, March 8, announced several arrests related to illegal activity at the facility. Two former correctional officers have been charged with trafficking drugs into the facility. They no longer work for the Justice Department.
"It is simply not acceptable that people in positions of authority may have been involved in illegal activity," said Ross Landry, Minister of Justice. "There is zero tolerance for anyone who abuses their position and their authority. We co-operated fully with the police investigation to ensure that those involved would be held accountable for their actions.
"I truly hope that these allegations do not taint the public's view of this important profession and the hardworking Nova Scotians doing a very tough job honestly and ethically every day."
Police began an investigation in October 2012 after a former correctional officer was arrested and charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Corrections officials helped with the investigation, and immediately launched an internal review to determine whether changes were needed. Opportunities for improving hiring standards and security and background checks of new staff have been identified.
"We've looked across other jurisdictions at best practices and over the coming months we will take steps to strengthen security and background checks and put more stringent hiring standards in place," said Sean Kelly, director, Correctional Services. "In the meantime, we've also reinforced policies with existing staff and we will continue to closely monitor all of our facilities and act on anything suspicious."