'Busy workplace' led to prisoners' release: Report

Employee error to blame for 'rare' incident in Saskatchewan

A "busy workplace" led to employees mistakenly releasing prisoners from custody, according to two new reports from the Saskatchewan government.

While very serious, these kinds of mistakes are "very rare," stated deputy justice minister Doug Moen.

Moen conducted two reviews after two men were released inappropriately in October - one at Saskatoon Provincial Court and the other at the Regina Correctional Centre. Both men were returned to custody shortly after their mistaken release.

However, a "major issue" in both cases involves the delay in reporting the incidents to superiors and to the police, stated Moen in his reports.

The review of the Regina case focused on the actions of Terry Coleman, the deputy minister of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing (CPSP), who delayed telling his minister about the issue. Coleman was suspended pending the outcome of the review.

The review makes the following finding and recommendation:

"In retrospect, it may have been a wiser move for the deputy minister to provide some preliminary information to the Minister at an earlier point given the Minister's expectation for timely notification. The deputy minister made an assessment that he needed additional facts prior to informing the Minister. This was, in the deputy minister's mind, done for good reason and, on the face of it, was not unreasonable in the circumstances. On balance, I would recommend that the suspension be lifted and that the deputy minister continue his role as a deputy minister."

In a shuffle of senior officials on Nov. 21, Coleman was moved to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

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