……is give change a chance.
Canadians know more about the rings around Saturn than they do about the country’s prison industry, and what they do know about our prison industry comes from the men and women who operate it. And, the men and women who operate our prison industry like it that way, want it that way, and work to keep it that way.
Imagine General Motors recalling millions of cars on one hand, while GM management touts the corporation’s success on the other. Where are the voices of the customers? How long would it take for the public to catch on that something is askew?
And yet, when it comes to jails, prisons, and the men and women housed in them, most people in the community accept the status quo is the best we can do.
To repeat from Baz Dreisinger’s “Incarceration Nation” in our February 25 posting “’Prison industry’ talking points”, when writing about prisons, “….if any other system had a 60 percent failure rate – that’s the U.S. recidivism rate, and in much of the world the numbers don’t look much better – we’d dismantle that system right away and go right back to the drawing board.”
So, just when will the service agencies in this country with “Correctional” in their names become ‘correctional’ services for all of us? Just when will we get that programming can be stacked to the ceilings, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into some measure of success? The statistics challenge the efficacy of what we do now. Just when will the voices of inmates, the ‘customers’ of our prisons and jails, be included in the conversation?
We endorse the progressive and restorative policies in some other jurisdictions that are rejected here so often as a matter of course. We frequently suggest that Correctional Service Canada’s management be replaced, and not by second-stringers already in the Service, but by outsiders where best practices make for lower recidivism and safer communities.
Don Head, the long-time commissioner of our federal prisons, and his team might work out in another government agency. How about the Conflict of Interest & Ethics Commissioner’s office?
This is but another reminder that reform is overdue, and the call for change must be kept on the front burner.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS IS THE LAST OF THE WEEKLY POSTINGS. FROM HERE ON, WE WILL PUBLISH EVERY SECOND WEEK. HOWEVER, CIRCUMSTANCES MAY PROMPT AN OCCASIONAL “SPECIAL EDITION.”