Torture us no more. Now for the feds.

The May 29 posting critical of the overuse of solitary confinement in Canada’s penal institutions targeted Ontario’s provincial system.

The letter to Ontario’s Yasir Naqvi published last week was followed closely by a recommendation to Canada’s Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale for our federal prisons. Correctional Service of Canada has a history of practiced and adroit sidestepping of progressive measures endorsed by the Correctional Investigator, other stake holders, and even political leaders. That’s why Lisa Kerr has insisted that positive structural and procedural changes must be enshrined in legislation.

I wonder if the Trudeau government has the chutzpah to show CSC management that it’s “our way or the road.”

June l, 2016

The Honourable Ralph Goodale,
Minister of Public Safety,
House of Commons,
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Re: Solitary confinement: Stop the torture

Dear Minister Goodale:

You may be familiar with the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Tuesday, April 26th editorial, “Stop the torture”, a condemnation of Canada’s overuse of segregation in our provincial and federal penal institutions. A copy is attached.

Included as well with this is Lisa Kerr’s “Solitary confinement rules must be written in law”, from the Globe’s Monday, May 2nd edition. Professor Kerr accuses Correctional Service of Canada of pre-empting substantive reforms by only improving procedural inmate protections, which any informed observer knows is no reform at all. She argues that only legislative action will result in the changes your government supports.

Current CSC management has a history of recalcitrance. If you intend to leave the team in place, then at least send Mr. Head and his subordinates on a tour of European prison systems. Denmark and Germany should top the list. Their observations will either inform the direction Canada’s prison policies will take, or persuade Mr. Head, et al, to consider their career options.

Dillydally no more. Act now!

Yours truly,

Charles H. Klassen

cc Don Head, Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

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