The prison industry & media attention

WHY IS CORRECTIONAL SERVICE OF CANADA AFRAID to let in the light?  Why is it concerned about inmates speaking to the press?  Why is Minister Mendicino not bothered by the delay in releasing the revised Commissioner’s Directive 022 – Media Relations?

The changes to CD 022 haven’t come up here since an addendum to the February 27, 2022, posting, “Justice & Prisons….in the news #3.”  There, a February 21 letter to the community safety minister referenced CSC spokesperson Colette Cibula February 8th letter where she wrote, “I can assure you that it is now nearly complete.”

Back on May 6 of last year we told CSC Commissioner Anne Kelly that, “It has been at least a year since you undertook this review….this project is relatively minor…but the changes will also eliminate any suspicion that the Service is trying to prevent inmate contact with the media…..”  Is the two-and-a-half-year span from initiating a CD 022 review without publishing an update a move CSC hopes will blunt expectations, or is this delay simply bureaucratic gridlock?

Time to bring this to the front burner again:-

June 18, 2022

Colette Cibula, Associate Assistant Commissioner,
Communications & Engagement, Correctional Service of Canada,
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0P9

Re:      Commissioner’s Directive 022 – Media Relations

Dear Ms. Cibula:

The third paragraph of Commissioner Kelly’s February 24, 2020, letter to Correctional Investigator Zinger began, “A revision to CD 022 is currently underway.”  The fifth paragraph ended, “We expect that the revised CD 22 will be available by the end of June 2020.”

The Commissioner was responding to Dr. Zinger’s December 18, 2019, letter with his concerns for the media relations directive.  At the time she wrote, Ms. Kelly seemed to anticipate a six-month turnaround, but she could not of course foretell COVID-19’s impact on the process.

Your February 8, 2022, email to me noted the revision to CD 022 was “still underway,” but was “nearly complete,” and CSC was “finalizing internal reviews” before publication.  It’s now two-and-a-half-years from the OCI’s letter, the on/off COVID protocols have eased, and there’s been four months to complete internal assessment. 

I write simply to stress the interest some quarters in the community have for an imminent circulation of the revised CD.

Yours truly,

Commissioner Anne Kelly, Minister Mendicino, and the Office of the Correctional Investigator were copied, of course.

As a by the way, Ms. Cibula’s February 8 letter, referred to the “renewal” of CD 022 as “still underway.”  She continued, “It was delayed as the tempo of media relations as well as the need for communications with inmates, staff, stakeholders increased significantly during the pandemic.”

Inmates?  This infers inmates were consulted in the process.  It’s unusual for CSC to care what inmates think but that seems to be what Ms. Cibula indicates.  We submitted an information request on April 20 asking for the number of inmates involved in the communications, and in which institutions they are housed.  To date, there’s hasn’t even been an acknowledgement, but the difficulty in getting information from the federal government in any and all its bodies is coming under increasing criticism.

Would you believe Correctional Service of Canada still says its health-don’t-care is health care?  That’s next.



One thought on “The prison industry & media attention

  1. If the media cared, wouldn’t they pursue this issue. I have never heard or witnessed an evening news report about CSC regarding any issue. Are any of your CSC issues directed at the news media for attention? Forget the politicians and individual citizens, we aren’t going to have anymore luck than you have after all these years of publishing these issues. Maybe you should have your own column in local news media.

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