“No detective needed!”, posted October 8, sketched the proverbial tip of an iceberg in Ontario’s prison industry. Would observers in other provinces say differently about British Columbia or Manitoba or Nova Scotia? Not likely. Is our federal penal system immune? There’s plenty of evidence that says it’s not.
True, few inmates die, and only a minute number of survivors step forward to fight for the attention warranted. And, what does the general public say? Tear some away from their brain-hacking mobile devices long enough to see there’s a problem, and most will shrink into their shells, afraid to assert their authority, overwhelmed by circumstances over which they believe are beyond their control……or, lacking the interest to accept responsibility for the bad decisions of their public employees.
Yes, there are honest men and women with ethical intentions and moral centres working in provincial and federal institutions, but the constraints of a forced conformity negate good will and progressive foresight.
What about management? What about ministry staff? What about the politicians charged with the oversight of our jails and prisons? Yes, what about them? Where is the accountability and transparency? Are these civil servants of ours thick-headed, unable to recognize what is under their noses?
Of course they’re not. There’s an old Victorian adage which says, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” Just keep a lid on whatever might float to the surface, damage control the leaks, and disparage the naysayers. When the pot does boil over, deny, deny, deny……and, quietly make the mess go away.
Change? Now that’s difficult. The ebb and flow of policy ‘corrections’ are meant to mollify the doubters and activists. Confining legislation is a necessary first step. But in spite of constant setbacks, there’s always hope.
For now, Soleiman Faqiri gave his life to ask us all…….where were you?
It didn’t have to happen!