Review follows beating
Incident at Sombe k'e healing lodge

Dawn Ostrem
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 30/00) - Two inmates at Sombe K'e Healing Lodge face charges of robbery and escaping custody after an employee was beaten in an altercation at the lodge.

Garth Elder, a night attendant at the Dettah facility, suffered a broken arm, dislocated shoulder, cuts and abrasions in the Aug. 15 incident.

Dennis Francis, 27, and Louis Jerome, 30, will appear in court in Yellowknife Sept. 5.

Francis and Jerome were among nine federal inmates serving conditional sentences at the centre.

The remaining inmates have been moved to the Salvation Army, where another conditional release program also operates with the assistance of Correctional Services Canada.

Frank Winkfein, director of the NWT area parole office, is also investigating the incident.

"It is a major investigation and I'm taking it very seriously," he said. His findings will not be made public.

Sombe K'e Healing Lodge, located 10 kilometres outside Dettah, was contracted by Correctional Services Canada in June to house federal inmates on parole.

All are aboriginals from the Northwest Territories, and under the terms of their parole are not allowed to consume alcohol.

Arlene Hache, president of the NWT branch of the John Howard Society, is concerned about the ability of the lodge to deal with inmates, who include those convicted of sex-related crimes. "They are not concerned with whether they are able or qualified to do the job," she said.