CANADIAN FEDERAL PRISON SERVICE operates without concern for the rule of law " human rights report declares".
Report of the Inquiry into the Canadian federal Prison for Women in Kingston Ontario. (From the Toronto Globe and Mail, April 2, 1996, by Jeff Sallot.)
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF CANADA RESIGNS !!
The chief of the federal prison system, John Edwards resigned yesterday in the wake of a blistering report that says he heads a branch of the criminal justice system thatviolated six women prisoners' rights and generallyoperates without concern for the rule of law ! ! !
The report says the six women were subject to "cruel,inhumaneanddegrading treatment"by an all-maleCorrectional Service of Canada riot squad(ERT / Emergency Response Team)when they were strip-searched, shackled and left nearly nude for more than 12 hours on the concrete floors of cold, bare, solitary -confinement cells at Kingston Prison for women two years ago.
The women were traumatized by the incident, their rights were violated and they should receive financial compensation from the Canadian Government, the Honorable Madam Justice Louise Arbour of the Ontario Court of Appeals says in her Inquiry Report. The incident, and the later confinement of the women in cramped isolation cells for more than eight months, are evidence that the correctional service does not respect the law or the fundamental rights of individuals, . . . Judge Arbour said.
These failings are "systemic and institutional" and the Correctional Service of Canada cannot be trusted to put its own house in order without supervision by the courts, she added.
Judge Arbour also recommended amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada that would allow prisoners to appeal to the courts to have their sentences reduced if their rights have been violated.
Solicitor-General Herb Gray offered a "heartfelt apology" to the women, adding that the government is considering financial compensation. Several of the women are suing the government. The government accepted Mr. Edwards' request for "reassignment" to other duties in the federal bureaucracy, the minister said. Mr. Edwards, 55, is a career public servant who once helped manage national museums. He has "generally" served Canada well in a variety of posts over the years, Mr. Gray said. Mr. Edwards, who has been commissioner of corrections since 1989, will stay on for a month or so until his replacement is an announced, Mr. Gray said. Kim Pate, spokeswoman for the prisoner-advocacy group the Elizabeth Fry Society, said other correctional service employees should follow his example. "We don't presume to know who all was involved in these decisions," she told a news conference, "but certainly we expect those that were * will take a responsible action." Judge Arbour said she saw no point in naming individuals within the correctional service because the problems are systemic.
Unlike police officers, whose actions are often subject to scrutiny by the criminal courts, corrections officers are able to get away with violations of the law and human rights because prisoners do not have adequate recourse to the courts, the report says.
As well, Judge Arbour, who has recently been named by the United Nations to an international war-crimes tribunal said she never would have completed her report by the March 31 deadline if she had had to hear detailed testimony about the individual actions of corrections officers and assess blame. But Mr. Gray can take whatever disciplinary action he feels appropriate, Judge Arbour told reporters.
The Solicitor-General, however, said his priority is to get on with reforming the system, not laying blame for what happened in the past ????? (so why are we putting people in jail for crimes that they committed in the past ????)
He noted that many changes are already under way, and the Kingston prison for Women, a 1930s-vintage lockup, will be closed later this year. Federal women convicts will serve their time innewer regional facilities. Mr. Gray said the government will study Judge Arbour's recommendations for the next four to six weeks before deciding which it will implement. He was non-committal yesterday on most of them, including a suggestion on the creation of a deputy commissioner of corrections for women. The prison guards' union puts the problems at the Kingston Prison for Women on poor staff training and ambiguous policies. Judge Arbour's report describes several days of rising tension at the prison starting with a fracas on April 22, 1994. The judge acknowledges she is unable to get to the bottom of the incident, which involved injury to at least two female correctional officers and the use of the chemical Mace to subdue inmates. Six inmates were locked up in solitary confinement cells as a result.Guards failed to file proper reports on the use of Mace and failed to call police, in contravention of established policy, the report says.
Moreover, the inmates were not allowed to contact their lawyers.
The Correctional Service of Canada later filed "misleading and inaccurate" information with the courts regarding this, Judge Arbour said.
The guards kept the unruly inmates confined to cells and did not allow normal exercise periods. Sometimes inmates were denied showers, clean clothes and toilet paper, or guards turned off the water to the sinks and toilets in tiny segregation cells. The denial of rights led to an increase in hostility. Prison employees suffered stress and felt overworked. At one point, guards staged a protest demonstration because they felt troublemakers who spat at them and threw urine at them should receive harsher treatment. Against this backdrop, prison management agreed to bring in the riot squad(CSC) ERT /Emergency Response Team, an all-male unit comprisingspecially trainedsquads from other federal prisons in the Kingston area.
The use of this team to subdue and strip-search female inmates in a late-night operation was unprecedented.
And under the circumstances, it was illegal, Judge Arbour said. The prison medic, Dr, Mary Pearson, protested when she saw what was going on. But the operation continued. " The process was intended to terrorize, and therefore subdue ". *
It also, unfortunately, had the effect of revictimizing women who had had traumatic experiences in their past at the hands of men * "I find that the conditions in which the inmates were left in their cells * were, frankly, appalling *. These women were left barelycovered by a paper gown, on a cement floor in an empty small cell, with absolutely nothing to sit or sleep on - not a mattress, not a blanket or a towel, while the windows were kept open for a considerable period of time. "They were left in body belts, shackles and leg irons, and they were kept in that condition until mid- afternoon of the [next day] when they were given a security blanket." The incident was videotaped by members of the(CSC) ERT Emergency Response Team, a standard procedure to protect the guards from accusations of brutality and for use as a training aid by the Correctional Service of Canada for it's ERT (?) The tape eventually emerged as an exhibit in one of the inmates' lawsuit. The video tape was also broadcast nationally on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV program : "The Fifth Estate".
You can see a live clip from this outrageous incident by
first downloading the quick time player ; then click on the fifth estate link above; scroll down to the Prison 4 Women in Kingston story (the last one on the page), and follow the instructions.
Beware; the movie contains disturbing scenes of violence.
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guards even paid prisoners to beat up other inmates
From Original Story : Robert Gentles dies aftersix guards from Kingston Pen maced and focibly removed him from his cell.
"Activists Win MAJOR VICTORY Against Libel Charges"
Bob Witanek (email@example.com Tue, 09 Apr 1996 10:04:55 -0700 (PDT)
Criminal Libel Charge Found Unconstitutional
by Kate Archibald-Cross
Charges of defamatory libel against two Kingston men have been found to be unconstitutional, and an Ontario legal precedent has been set. Bradley Waugh and Ravin Gill were charged with six counts each of defamatory libel, an indictable offence carrying a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment for each count. Waugh and Gill were arrested while postering downtown Kingston on December 2, 1994. The "wanted" posters described six Kingston prison guards implicated in the suspicious death of Robert Gentles in Kingston Penitentiary in 1993.
Section 301 of the Canadian Criminal Code (under which the two were charged) states: "Every one who publishes a defamatory libel is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years." On December 19, 1995, the presiding judge granted the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) intervenor status. The CCLA argued that section 301 was unconstitutional, and infringed the defendants' rights to freedom of thought and expression guaranteed under section 2 (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Crown had previously argued that although section 301 has been overturned in several cases, these involved offensive subject matter rather than the defamation of a specific person or people. He stated that the intention of section 301 was to protect individuals, and that the guards of Kingston Penitentiary had rights as important as those of the accused.
In response to this argument, Judge Lally quoted Madam Justice McLachlin of the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1992, the Supreme Court found section 301 to be unconstitutional and thus inapplicable to the case at hand, that of the hate propaganda of Ernst Zundel. Madam Justice McLachlin states, "Our law is premised on the view that only serious misconduct deserves criminal sanction." She goes on to say that although such crimes as libel can be punished by law, the harm caused by the act of libel must be"clear and pressing" and the charge must not be permitted to inhibit anyone's freedom of expression. Under section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms it is stated that certain limits to some rights will be considered reasonable in order to maintain "a free and democratic society". John Laskin, representing the CCLA, had argued that "section 301 is not a reasonable limit on free speech, since section 300 remains to prosecute those who bear false witness against their neighbour". Judge Lally agreed with the arguments put forward by Dan Scully and Laskin, the defendants' lawyers and concluded that, "There will therefore be an order...declaring section 301 of the Criminal Code of Canada unconstitutional and of no force and effect [in Ontario]."
This section of the criminal code has also been found unconstitutional in two other Canadian Provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan). The Crown has until April 29 to declare its intention to appeal, but it seems that the case has been satisfactorily resolved, and appeal would not be likely to overturn Judge Lally's decision. The Kingston Whig-Standard reported that "Waugh said he believes the charges against him and Gill were an attempt to silence critics of the local police and their handling of the "investigation of Gentles' Death."
Robert Gentles died after six guards from Kingston Pen macedand forcibly removed him from his cell.On Monday, April 2nd and April 3rd, Julian Falconer, the lawyer of Carmeta Gentles, will be appearing in Frontenac County Court to have the private prosecution of the six prison Guards reinstated. The six Guards were originally charged with manslaughter but the crown dropped the charges (??) against four of the guards and then stayed the charges against the remaining two.Robert Gentles was a founding member of the Prison Violence Project, a prisoner based group documenting Human Rights violations in Canadian prisons.
The supicious death of Gentles(a politically active African-Canadian Inmate), at the hands of six white guards has raised concerns that his death was POLITICALLY and RACIALLYmotivated.
This page was last updated on February 21, 2011
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Victims at risk in prison filing mess, . . .
Here is an interesting little article which clearly demonstrates the reality of the situation : p.s.: when one cannot be held accountable, don't waste your time to point out their faults; whether life threatening or not: Who cares ?
Here is an article which describes how one Canadian Federal Prisoner
(RICK CARLSON) was treated by those (prison officials) who were (lawfuly) responsible to care for him during his incarceration as well as prepare him for his eventual release ! Don't ask yourself why inmates re-offend ! ! !
The Correctional Service of Canadasay they gave 23 Women residing at the P4W(Prison forWomen) in Kingston, Ontario a mind altering drug (LSD)with the aim of :
"promoting the health of individuals???"
. . . Imagine ! how can they (Corrections Canada) have any credibility at all !
It's unbelievable ! and they actually continue to support what they did as if it's perfectly normal ! Who is responsible for this and why hasn't someone of the government gone to jail themselves for doing such things !!!
Randy White, (the Canadian Alliance party's solicitor-general critic), said "Corrections Canada chose to settle . . . to keep the public from hearing about the problems within the Federal Prison System."
Check out this article by the Canadian Medical Associationwhich was published in it's Journal of March 07, 2000. If the Canadian Medical Association takes the time / resources to do an article about health care in the Canadian Federal Prison System, it's because it's serious !