Praise guards, get perks, says inmate

Two weeks after assaulting a female police officer and two other people in Whitehorse, Nicholas Wiersema was released from Whitehorse Correctional…

Two weeks after assaulting a female police officer and two other people in Whitehorse, Nicholas Wiersema was released from Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

“I went up for bail review, and my bail review didn’t look so good and now I’m out, so I’m pretty stoked,” said Wiersema, who was transferred to the Salvation Army’s Yukon Adult Resource Centre on Wednesday.

“I’m up on three counts of assault and assault on a police officer, and I have all violence on my record and the doctors at Justice said I’m at a high risk to re-offend.

“And I was in jail just two weeks.”

Wiersema was bribed, said an inmate, who asked to remain anonymous.

On Monday, Wiersema contacted the News to praise the guards at the jail.

“I owe my life to those guards … the guards treat us wonderfully,” he said at the time.

The story ran on Wednesday, the same day Wiersema found himself at the Adult Resource Centre.

“I’ve never been allowed to have bail in my life,” he said.

“And I’m frickin’ at the ARC and I’m out — even my mom and everyone are like, ‘Wow.’”

At 1:30 a.m. on October 21st, Whitehorse RCMP attended a downtown residence after a 911 call, said Const. Mark Groves.

Police were looking for a male suspect for an alleged assault on a man and a woman.

“We located (Wiersema) in the immediate area — he resisted arrest,” said Groves.

“And while he was in custody, he assaulted a police officer.”

Wiersema’s next court appearance is November 12th, he said.

But the court document that commands a “peace officer in the Yukon Territory bring the said person before the court” on November 12th, has a big black line scrawled across it.

Handwritten on the official document is, “please cancel, released from WCC to YARC.”

Wiersema won’t admit to being bribed.

“I really don’t want to lose my bail,” he said.

“My first time I went up for bail it was denied; I was denied bail to go to my girlfriend’s house. I got bail denied for my girlfriend to get a surety and now I’m out.”

And was he bribed?

“If I can assure that my bail will not be revoked…,” said Wiersema.

After being arrested, Wiersema spent his first week in segregation.

The following week, he got in fights with several inmates.

“I put one guy in protective custody, because I was threatening him and I was going to hurt him,” he said.

“And I almost lost my bail there.

“Every couple of days it was, ‘You’re going to lose bail, you’re going to lose bail,’” said Wiersema, referring to threats from jail guards because of his behaviour.

“But once I said the guards are pretty good people, my life became pretty easygoing,” he said.

“I’m out.

“I broke a guy’s nose and injured another person and injured an officer in the line of duty while trying to apprehend me.

“To go to court I needed to be shackled, handcuffed — I spent my first week in segregation.

“I’m a max offender — two weeks and I’m out.

“And I have a doctor saying I’m at a high risk to re-offend for violence so if that doesn’t spell it out ….

“There’s guys in there who got charged with an eight-ball of coke and they’re in there until December or January.”

Wiersema’s praise for the guards was designed to counter all the negative stories coming out of the jail, said an inmate who shared his cellblock.

“But that praise would never have happened without the promise of release or the threat of not being released.”

When it comes to giving someone bail, it would be hard for guards to pull strings, said Yukon Legal Aid executive director Nils Clarke.

“There are a lot of checks and balances in place,” he said.

To get to the Adult Resource Centre, inmates must have a bail assessment report, get interviewed by ARC staff and even if these were in the inmate’s favour, Crown council could still oppose the placement, said Clarke.

“The decision to send an inmate to the Adult Resource Centre is made by a judge as a court order after a recommendation is made through a bail supervisor independent of the Whitehorse Correctional Centre,” added Justice spokesperson Chris Ross.

“It’s not that they did so much for me to get bail,” said Wiersema, agreeing with Ross and Clarke.

“I don’t know what was in the court documents.

“But (the guards) have the opportunity to pull your name to go to the ARC.

“There’s a waiting list at the ARC and my name’s at the top of the list.”

There could be some queue jumping if there’s no room at the inn, said Clarke.

“There is currently no waiting list at the ARC for remand or sentenced inmates,” said Ross.

“Guards were coming in and saying, ‘It’s kind of shitty what inmates are saying,’ and my story came out and I’m eating pretty good out here, you know,” said Wiersema.

“It’s a you-scratch-my-back type thing, you know what I mean….”

Contact Genesee Keevil at gkeevil@yukon-news.com