Guards, inmates worry about possible violence after coronavirus lockdown

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Jennifer Larue just wants her husband to be able to hold their baby.

But COVID-19 outbreaks at federal prisons and the subsequent lockdown to prevent the virus spread means Larue’s husband, Norman, hasn’t been able to see his wife or children in person for weeks.

“It’s extremely difficult,” she said. “People need to know these are human beings.”

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She is among several family members of inmates, along with the union representing prison guards, expressing a growing concern about segregation-like conditions in prisons and the potential for violence after lockdowns are lifted.

Norman, who was convicted of first-degree murder in 2013 and is serving his sentence at Abbotsford’s Pacific Institution, is one of many inmates in the country confined to prison units as Correctional Service Canada works to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus among the prison population.

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COVID-19 has swept through several federal prisons, with the worst outbreak occurring in B.C.’s Mission Institution.

More than 130 inmates and staff and inmates at the prison in the Fraser Valley tested positive for the illness and one prisoner died.

British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr.

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