Prison health care?


“Federal prisons…..MAKE’EM CARE?” posted here on June 12 included a May 9 letter to the health care unit at Port-Cartier Institution, which was copied to CSC’s regional office in Quebec, the national headquarters in Ottawa, the correctional investigator, and others.

This is the May 9 covering letter also posted on June 12 that was sent to the correctional investigator with his copy of the Port-Cartier letter:-

Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator,
The Office of the Correctional Investigator,
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6L4

Enclosed is a copy of a May 9, 2022, letter to the Chief of Health Care Services at Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec, where my son, Brennan Guigue is incarcerated.

This is not a complaint on behalf of my son.  I’m simply sharing my annoyance after decades of advocacy and as I enter the late stages of my life that CSC seems impervious to the sound of any voice but its own.

Mark Twain is reported to have said, “When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear, and life stands explained.”  Brennan, who is adopted and half indigenous, gets tired of telling me that when I ask ‘why’ questions about what goes on with Correctional Service of Canada, I must begin by reminding myself that, “They don’t care.”  By starting with that, the mysteries disappear, and CSC stands explained.

I’ll buy that.

Thank you for the work you do.

The correctional investigator’s office was the first to respond in a May 20 letter over Derek Janhevich’s signature:-

Mr. Charles H. Klassen,
Toronto, Ontario

On behalf of Dr. Zinger, thank you for reaching out to our Office,

While you indicate that you interaction with our Office is not a formal complaint, please allow me to note that we will nonetheless trat it as an issue that warrants further examination.  As always, the matter will be raised in a discrete manner while also ensuring the importance of the issue.

The Senior Investigator assigned to Port-Cartier is set to visit the institution soon and is aware of your concerns.  We will make an effort to meet with Brendan (sic) and will most certainly raise the matters with the Warden and the Chief of Health Care Services.

I noticed that you have also included the relevant stakeholders in your letter, including the Assistant Commissioner Health Services, with whom we continue to have numerous discussions on the exact issues you raise.

The mental health needs of patients residing in federal correctional facilities continues to be a top priority for our Office,


Derek Janhevich
OCI, Director of Investigations – Ontario & Quebec

What came out of that?

June 19, 2022

Derek Janhevich,
Director of Investigations – Ontario & Quebec,
The Office of the Correctional Investigator,
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6L4

Thank you for acknowledging my May 9 letters to Dr. Zinger and the health care unit at Port-Cartier Institution. 

Manjeet Sethi, Acting Assistant Commissioner-Health Services wrote on behalf of Correctional Service of Canada on May 24.  I was offended by his lack of accurate and complete information regarding Brennan Guigue’s care, or more accurately, Brennan’s non-care, knowing too that this is an issue with hundreds and perhaps thousands of CSC prisoners.  I will address that with him.

**In the meantime, Brennan did meet with your Senior Investigator last week during his visit to Port-Cartier.  It did not go well from Brennan’s perspective.  Brennan said, “I sat there talking to him for ten minutes.  ‘I can’t help you,’ was his answer.  Useless.” 

It’s a challenge to be polite here given that the deficiencies in prison health care are so widely known and explain in part why the average age of death from natural causes in CSC custody is 60.  CSC cannot be unaware of its neglect while it intentionally ignores and deflects the calls for reform from many authors, including the OCI.

I appreciate the attention you’ve given this matter.

(**emphasis is ours)

The Office of the Correctional Investigator can only make recommendations to Correctional Service of Canada.  It has no authority to impose change.  All the same, their lack of support in the face of CSC neglect and intransigence is surprising.

This is not over.


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