DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- The brutal assault of an inmate in Nova Scotia's largest jail on Monday evening has social justice advocates pointing to what they see as a symptom of problems within the correctional system.

Very little information has been released about the incident at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Centre, but Halifax Regional Police say the victim -- a 46-year-old man -- is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was attacked by a group of inmates.

Inmates in provincial institutions are typically serving sentences shorter than two years, or are awaiting trial. People who work with inmates say better programs are needed for those inside.

"We don't want those kinds of settings to be so punitive that they actually have a negative effect on the people who are housed there," said social worker Robert Wright.

Nova Scotia's auditor general has raised concerns about a lack of training for guards and the need for a comprehensive risk assessment of Nova Scotia's jails.

"When people are pushed to the point that they feel that the only way to solve a problem is through violence, that's a really bad place to be, and I think we as a country, as a community, as a city, have to work to change that," said filmmaker Sobaz Benjamin.

Correctional Services is conducting an independent review of Monday night's assault.