Brennan Guigue was speaking recently about the total absence of social or rehabilitative programming at Port-Cartier Institution in the far reaches of eastern Quebec where he’s been incarcerated since early November of 2021. He dug into his personal archives for an earlier experience to underscore how little Correctional Service of Canada, or the Parole Board of Canada for that matter, cares about returning inmates safely to the community, then and now.
Brennan has been in prison on and off for most of his adult life. He has repeatedly asked for mental health care intervention that would help break his cycle of criminal behaviour. He’s still waiting. Along the way, there has also been a lack of health care in general, which is the basis for so many inmate complaints to CSC, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, and the provincial professional bodies that regulate doctors and nurses. Treatments for physiological ailments become more urgent with age, and inmate requests, pleas, and petitions for help often gather dust.
But for this outing, an experience from several years ago about safe reintegration into society is worth the telling.
Brennan was in a maximum-security prison several years ago, and approaching his warrant expiry date, that date a criminal sentence imposed by a court at sentencing officially ends. The Parole Board of Canada in a scheduled hearing a few months prior had ruled he was too great a risk for an earlier release. He would be held to the end of his sentence. Brennan was getting no programing and of course no mental health care. He asked the board for support prior to and after his release to lessen his risk to the community, post-release help like counselling and a residency period in a halfway house. The answer was ‘no.’ The parole board would do nothing to help him or reduce the risk it judged him to be.
Now, some time before that scene played out, Brennan was in a session with a prison social worker. He talked about his concerns for not completing his correctional plan because there were no programs available, how unprepared he was for the outside, and the fear he would do something to prevent his release. After that last parole board hearing, the social worker went to the institution’s security unit and told them about that conversation. No issue of confidentiality here.
Brennan was put into solitary confinement as a preventative measure for the entire three months before his release. Better to increase his risk to the community with what has become recognized as torture than chance a mishap in the institution, according to CSC logic. This was before Bill C-83 nominally eliminated solitary confinement in November of 2019. The practice continues of course by other means, but that’s for another time, another place.
Thirty days before his release, Brennan wrote to the parole board, again asking for help to mitigate his risk to the community. His letter was ignored. He went to his institutional parole officer with the same plea. His parole office told him it wasn’t his responsibility to help.
So, if he was considered too great a risk for parole before spending 90 days in solitary confinement, he would have been an even greater risk to reoffend when he was dropped off on a street corner at the end of his sentence.
How about this. The Parole Board of Canada and Correctional Service of Canada are much more concerned about covering their own butts than they are committed to community safety. Looks that way, doesn’t it.
As a by the way, how long do you think it was before Brennan reoffended?
One thought on “The smell of bull dung?”
I know Brennan personally. He can never be repaired. Look what happened after his release. He needs to be held in solitary confinement for life. He will ALWAYS be a danger to society