Category: Prisons

Prison bosses secretly consider double-bunking

Collins Bay penConvicts at medium-security Collins Bay penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario, have refused to report to their prison jobs in a protest over double bunking, Cancrime learned. The practice forces two prisoners to live in a cell designed for one. Corrections Canada has dramatically increased its use of double bunking as it scrambles to accommodate a surging inmate population – the result of the Conservative government’s tough-on-crime policies. But it appears that senior prison bosses are secretly (internal memo after jump) building a documentary trail designed to rationalize their use of double bunking, which is contrary to UN standards on the treatment of prisoners.

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Prison boss ignores controversy, boasts of budget success

At a time when Corrections Canada is under intense scrutiny over the death of a young female prisoner, the service’s top bureaucrat in Ontario is boasting to staff about how they hit their budget target in this past fiscal year. Ross Toller (inset), CSC’s deputy commissioner for Ontario, noted the accomplishment in a year-end memo to employees that was issued recently. Cancrime obtained a copy of the memo (read it after the jump) that was distributed internally.

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Shooting death of con by book, cops say – so here’s the book

Jordan TrudeauPolice have concluded that two federal prison guards who shot two inmates at Millhaven Institution, killing one, did everything by the book. There was no “criminal wrongdoing,” according to the special police unit that investigates prison crime. Jordan Trudeau, 29, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to police. Trudeau (inset) was attacking another prisoner at the time and ignored orders to stop. You might wonder why prison guards wouldn’t shoot for the legs, to stop the attack, without killing the target? Prison guards are “not trained to shoot to wound or aim for peripheral portions of the human body” with their high-powered rifles, according to a confidential firearms training manual used by guard recruits (read it after the jump). The manual, obtained by Cancrime, also explains that guards are trained to shoot at the “centre of visible mass” when they’re firing at a prisoner.

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Internal document reveals growth in convict population

The number of convicts behind bars in penitentiaries in Ontario has increased nearly 5% in the past 12 months, according to an internal Corrections Canada document. Cancrime obtained a copy of the document (read it after the jump) that reveals the number of convicts in each of the 10 institutions in the province during every week since March 30, 2010. It’s a significant increase given that many of the legislative measures that the Conservative government is pushing, changes that are expected to drive up the prison population, have not yet taken effect.

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Thousands of cons not getting key programs

Ex-convict Pat Kincaid says a prison treatment program that helped him make sense of decades of distorted thinking was the key to going straight. “It taught me how to make decisions the proper way and go over the consequences of my actions,” said Kincaid, who was paroled from a minimum-security prison in Kingston nearly two years ago and has since lived crime free. Thousands of federal offenders are not taking intensive programs like the one Kincaid credits for his turnaround, according to figures (doc after jump) compiled by Corrections Canada and recently released.

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Government calls prison farm campaign “misguided”

The Conservative government barely blinked in response to a 100-page parliamentary report that condemns the decision to close prison farms and recommends they be resurrected. “We could not disagree more with the misguided priorities of the Ignatieff Liberals and their coalition partners,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews states, in an e-mailed response to my request for comment.

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Use of force against female prisoners surges

Staff inside Canada’s five federal penitentiaries for women used force against female inmates more than twice as often last year as the previous year. An internal Corrections Canada report reveals a 140% surge in the number of use of force incidents involving female prisoners in 2009, according to the report. I obtained a copy of the confidential, six-page document. It shows 311 use of force incidents against imprisoned women last year, compared to 130 incidents in 2008 and 128 incidents in 2007.

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The convict who doesn’t want to leave preparing for release

Federal convict Bill MacNeill says his security rating was jacked up – not because he tried to escape, got caught with a grappling hook or a map of the prison – but because he did an interview. In August, I met MacNeill at Bath Institution, the medium-security federal prison just west of Kingston where he’s behind bars. He said his coming release is doomed to failure because the conditions under which he’ll be forced to live are too onerous. Bill got in touch again recently, and sent along some pages from some recent paperwork (available after the jump) that shows that Corrections authorities paid close attention to interview comments.

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