Millhaven – a Grievance…..part II

….part one ended with “So, why am I writing this Grievance? Good question.”

Apparently, the cause of all these difficulties is due to a lack of staff on shift at any one time.

So, it takes about 50 – 55 staff to run this institution properly. It’s currently operating on about 40 at any given time. That means that when there is a problem in one area staff are pulled from other areas. The same goes when staff is needed to facilitate escorts. These things effectively shut down the whole institution for hours, or even days at a time. How can this institution provide all of the rightful opportunities afforded to inmates as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights while only operating at a staff capacity of around 72%? It cannot.

Forgetting about the mental health issues that can arise, what about violent incidents, drug use, institutional motivation? Think of the legal implications. God forbid that Toronto class-action law firm Koskie Minsky gets hold of this! See…., inmates won’t need to be wealthy to get before the courts to be heard….I’m just sayin’…. We don’t even have access to hobby/craft programs.

And things are only going to get worse. Due to the changes with Directives around segregation, those inmates who were being housed in the segregation unit have been moved to a regular recently renovated unit, and will be permitted 4 hours of “range time” per day. This means that the ‘new’ unit will need to be manned with staff, most likely from other areas of the institution, creating even more strain on the situation.

As for the amount of “range time” allotted to the regular population, forget about the standard operating procedures. Inmate movement to yard, recreation, work, or school is always late. Evening rec./yard movement NEVER happens before 5:30pm (usually it’s 5:40pm – 5:45pm), until 8pm (say 2 hours). If an inmate declines rec./yard, his “range time” is from 7pm until around 7:45-50pm (45 minutes), then it’s lock-up for movement. The next movement (for evening “range time”) happens anywhere between 8:50pm – 9:10pm…, let’s say 9pm for arguments sake. 9pm – 10:30pm is 90 minutes divided by 2 (one half of range at a time is out of cells) equals 45 minutes each. So, if an inmate goes to rec./yard, he gets around 2½ – 3 hours of inmate activities. If he does not go to rec./yard, he gets less, around 1½ – 2 hours of inmate activities.

Actually, on paper, there is supposed to be another bit of range activities between the end of rec./yard movement, and 6pm ‘til 7pm lock-up (staff breaks), but that NEVER happens (loss of about 30-40 minutes).

And, if there is no work on a given day, then the inmate is locked in his cell all day (period!).

Let me tell you, I wish I could get 4 hours a day out of my cell. So would any “population” inmate!

Future proposals concern finding staff are being considered. It may be that full-time school inmates will have their days (Mon., Tue., Thurs.) cut to AM only (MORE CELL TIME). Well, consider this. Guys don’t seek employment for the pay, that’s for damn sure! I’m sure this isn’t news to you, but we get jobs in order to break up our days so as not to go nuts being locked in our ‘cages’ for excessive amounts of time.

“STAFF SHORTAGE” is NOT adequate reasoning for excessive lock-downs, just ask the provincial system.

ABOLISH SOLITARY CONFINEMENT? Not from our point of view! “Segregation” status still exists here at Millhaven. It’s called “general population”.

I’ve stated facts in support of my argument, and that’s the reality of it pure and simple.

Something needs to be done….and soon.

Brennan W. Guigue
January 31, 2019

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Millhaven – a Grievance!

Brennan Guigue’s Grievance to Correctional Service of Canada contesting operations at Millhaven Institution is dated January 31, 2019, and published here in two parts:-

Out of the 3 full school days per week – on average – 1½ are cancelled. Out of the 5 full work days per week – on average – 2½ are cancelled. There is a further average of about 2½ days where recreation or yard is cancelled…..or both. All of these things often happen in the same week.

Now, Millhaven has always had inmates locked down, on average, more than most other maximum institutions. However, the added above mentioned restrictions on inmate movement means that now, most inmates in this institution are spending much more time in their cells daily.

Honestly, this institution feels like one big segregation unit. I spent a total of 36 months in the Special Handling Unit at Ste. Anne-des-Plaines in Quebec and there is way more time spent outside of the cells by inmates. There are common rooms where inmates can have meaningful interaction on the units to play cards, or chess, etc.

Millhaven inmates have none of that. Why not? Why does a high security institution (SHU) have greater inmate activity than a lesser one? The SHU has an even greater model of “static security” than Millhaven. Why is this place more restrictive than the SHU?

I’ve been denied access to the chapel for the last 3 consecutive Fridays and thus have been denied the right to participate in Friday prayers (Charter of Rights’ violation). Meanwhile, Christians and Jewish inmates seem not to have any problems gaining access. How do you imagine that’s going over with the Islamic population? No, that’s not a threat….just something to think about.

I am one-half Oneida Native. Aboriginal inmates are being denied spiritual programs despite Elders requesting their attendance. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking….Islamic Native? Let me ask you, does being a Christian Native make him/her any less Native? The point is the violation of a Charter right by CSC representatives.

Access to the library (Charter of Rights)? Our librarian left months ago, there was some retiring maintenance guy who filled in for a couple of weeks, but now there’s nobody since he left.

So, why am I writing this Grievance? Good question.

…..end of part one.

Moral courage is a rarer commodity than physical courage

This is another narrative composed by Brennan Guigue while in the Toronto South Detention Centre in 2016. This was written in late February and early March, and underscores our folly in supporting a multi-billion dollar a year self-perpetuating and failed prison industry.

My life has been filled with pain, mistrust, and lies. Early on it was mostly ‘people’ offering me “things” for my own good with one hand…., and ‘slapping’ me with the other. I always fell for the ruse due to my need for acceptance and love/friendship. However, I soon developed a mistrust of authority and decided that I needed to look out for myself. My attitude was that most people just wanted whatever they could get from ‘you’, so why shouldn’t I?

I still felt the need for acceptance and all that, but it was significantly less of a feeling than before….actually, I’m not sure that’s true.

Even today it is still a very strong desire/need within myself. So much so that I often get into trouble because of it. I developed anger/behavioural problems early on as a result of being raped and forced to perform sexual acts by my biological father. I truly believe that had I been treated as a ‘sick’ child rather than a ‘bad’ child….I would NOT be where I am today.

The Crown Attorney talks about a Dangerous Offender application on the basis that……., there’s no place for someone who poses an undue risk like me in society. I ask you….how am I supposed to have the proper skills to function in any particular environment when I have NEVER truly felt a part of said ‘environment’?!

I cannot recall EVER not feeling like an outsider, always ‘looking in’. As a child, my favourite t.v. show was The Little House on the Prairie. Why…? Because, Mr. Ingalls was ALWAYS there for his children. He even took in a ‘wayward’ boy, and adopted him as his son…., was firm but loving.

Even at 10, 11, 12 years of age, I knew what was missing in my life. That knowledge did not help my outlook on life because I didn’t have the knowledge of how to fill that gap. I wanted a relationship with my dad SO bad that my mind repressed (overlooked) the abuse from my early years. The problem there was that he didn’t care about me enough to be around.

Of course that didn’t bother me whenever he did come around because I was so busy thinking how ‘cool’ he was – and how I desperately needed to prove that I was worthy of his love – that I forgot about all the rest. Not that I remembered the abuse at that age; that didn’t begin to come to light until my memories began unlocking themselves around age 21.

After he’d leave with promises to return, I’d be SO happy and proud to have him as my dad that my behaviour would excel. My grades/behaviour at school would drastically improve……, I was euphoric. Bliss.

But, time after time he’s let me down, and the anger would return and perhaps that’s why ‘those’ around me failed to see my pain. To think I was ‘bad’ rather than sick. Period of exceptional – gentlemanly – behaviour mixed with exemplary grades were not beyond my capabilities, and so no one bothered to acknowledge the need for therapy.

Of course, not having the trust in others nor the understanding of what was ‘wrong’ with me, coupled with my me-against-the-world attitude…., I could not ask for help. How could I….? From who….? Mom? She was a ROCK. STRONG. Sacrificing herself – while having issues of her own – in order to provide for three children could not have been easy for a single native woman on welfare.

However those same qualities that helped her – and by proxy, us – to survive prevented her from being the loving, cuddly mother who I could turn to. I now realize that she was my reference guide on how to survive-on-your-own. Her love – when it showed itself – was more like that love one shares with a good buddy.

The ONLY time I ever cried in front of her was whenever she was ‘tanning my behind’, which ceased when I was 12. I was too big (5’7”, 150lbs), it no longer had an effect on me anyway. The last time I was sent to my room for stealing a bag of weed and $40 from one of her friend’s house – to await my ‘whoopin’, – I ran away. At 12 years of age, I survived for 3½ weeks on the street before getting picked up by Hamilton cops and sent back home. That’s when my mom told me she wasn’t gonna bother with the strap anymore.

My father was still coming around every now and then, but was less and less because he was often involved with criminal endeavors which took him in and out of prison (dope selling and the violence associated). Whenever he did come around, he was distant and….., ‘overly generous’, would be the best way to describe him. I didn’t recognize his demeanor until well into adulthood (30s). It was his guilty conscience, the shame he felt about what he’d done to me….and the fear of confrontation which fuelled his generosity and buddy buddy attitude.

When he went to prison I was 15 (1985) and I became enraged at society, the cops, and anyone else in an authoritative capacity for ‘taking my dad away.’ In my sick, twisted sense of loyalty, I could not see that he never deserved such dedication from me….he hadn’t earned it as a father should.

In truth…., I had never ‘had’ him, to be taken away. As the dreams of my childhood drifted further and further away, I sought acceptance from any source I could. This often led me to hang out with older, more ‘seasoned’ bad kids…., even a few young adults. I began doing whatever they did, b & e’s, theft, drugs (did my first shot of cocaine with a needle at 16 with a 22 year-old junkie, Mario).

This was the end of my childhood….my innocence had been stolen loooong before. I just didn’t know it.

The only way to describe the next several years is to say that I drifted from place to place……from ‘being’ to being lost. I soon found myself in Toronto at age 18, again living with ‘unsavoury’ people. On the street doing dope – crack……, thinking I was ‘free’. This was clearly an illusion as I know now that I’ve always been in ‘prison’…, never truly ‘free’.

So I continued like this – becoming an addict, getting in wherever I could fit in, and living with an unconscious sense of self-loathing. One thing I do know is this…..nobody ever hurt me past the age of 12 more than I hurt myself.

When my father was sent to jail when I was 15 years old, I thought – in some maladaptive way – that it was somehow my fault. That, if I had been better behaved then he would have tried harder to be a better person….., a better father.

Yes, I was mad at the world, hated the ‘system’…., but, unwittingly the only one I could see to make suffer was myself. -Rewind-

I should point out some ‘truths’ as they are so that I don’t seem to be “self-pitying”. There were periods in my life where I may have been ‘saved’. From ages 13 to 16 there were a series of CAS interventions (if one can call them that), emotional treatment facilities, group homes, foster care placements, etc. In fact there was so much intervention from CAS through my entire life until the age of 17 that I had been to 18 different schools! In spite of that, I was only one year behind in my studies.

So, what went wrong you ask?

Well….., my anger issues were never properly addressed. Two of the five CAS/Family Court placements were mentally and physically abusive, and I witnessed emotional and sexual abuse. You must understand that it was the 80s. Many of the problems and deficiencies people recognize today were much more prevalent then….., and much less acknowledged back then.

 

……….END OF PART ONE.

The dark side…a glimpse

Now that Brennan Guigue is no longer under the Ontario provincial jail system’s control, we can open a Pandora’s box on life ‘down inside’ the Toronto South Detention Centre.

TSDC is one of two newer provincial institutions (the other is in Windsor) allowing only video link visits. It’s expected to be a template for the future. An approved visitor arrives at a pre-booked time, is screened, and then waits at an assigned video booth, one of about 70. The screen comes on at the appointed time, and hopefully the inmate is sitting at the video booth on his range, because a timer is counting down the 20 allotted minutes. Communication is by hand-held telephone receiver, and both parties have a colour head and shoulder view of one another.

This is a novelty at first, and technical problems are common, but reception staff does its best to accommodate visitor and inmate. In the end, there is no comparison between a Skype-type visit and an in-person face to face conversation through plexi-glass and metal bars, as is the case at other Ontario jails. Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services has in fact abandoned the concept of the beneficial ties to the community for inmates, even if it continues to pay lip service to the premise.

Brennan Guigue was held at Toronto South from late November of 2015 to the third week of January of 2017, when he was transferred to Toronto East Detention Centre. That is a story for another time. There is a world of difference though between the TSDC operation and Toronto East, a point we’ll repeat more than once. For now though, this documents a visit to Toronto South on Saturday, September 3rd in 2016, and the follow-up over the ensuing months…..and, we’ll switch to the first person.

The appointment was for 10am that day, Brennan appeared on screen promptly and my notes say he’d spent the first part of the morning reading, was awakened from a nap for the visit, and was a little groggy. I asked early on if he needed money in his canteen account. He didn’t know and excused himself to check his balance at the control post.

Each range has a ‘bubble’ where the guards oversee their charges; a computer terminal there has the information Brennan needed. He went to the window and asked his question. One of the four guards in the post, one with red hair and a prosthetic leg, told him to “get away from the window, you f——g piece of shit.” Brennan objected to the language, he didn’t deserve the response, and he said so.

He was quiet and a little perturbed when he returned to the video booth. I had to prod him into telling me what had happened.

As it turned out, after the visit that same guard came on to the range to put him back in his cell. He was itching to coerce Brennan into some retaliatory action, a not uncommon practice with some guards in our ‘prison industry’, but Brennan wouldn’t take the bait. The next day, a sergeant showed up at his cell, charging him with a misconduct for threatening. Brennan filed a grievance. On one of my later visits, on September 30, Brennan said that same guard was on duty but was very, very quiet. He assumed the guard had been given a copy of his complaint.

Why would a guard do this? Draw your own conclusions. How do they get await with it? One, who’s going to complain, and two, management turns a blind eye.

Not to let this go, I filed a freedom of information request with the ministry’s North Bay address, an office dedicated to this purpose. I asked for the names and i.d. tag numbers of the guards on duty on that range when the September 3rd incident occurred.

After a time, North Bay came back with two names:

William Thompson, #11557
Ronald Shapiro, #009922

But, there were four guards in the control post. Perhaps there should have been only two, but there were four at that time, on that date. I filed an appeal with Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. North Bay went back to Toronto South for a clarification and eventually reported back to the IPC that the TSDC Deputy Superintendent in charge of security had reviewed the tape of the control post and saw only two guards.

Brennan contends that is a lie.

I then asked North Bay for a copy of that tape. My request could not be granted because the jail retains their tapes for only 30 days.

I went on to ask for the identity of the guard with red hair and a prosthetic. I was denied that information as too sensitive and personal, and that “disclosure would reasonably be expected to facilitate the commission of an unlawful act or hamper the control of crime.”

We can assume that William Thompson and Ronald Shapiro were assigned for duty on that range on September 3rd, and that one of them is red-headed, and has a prosthetic leg.

Let’s leave that behind. We’ll move on to something else soon.

Another look………

..….at life inside the Toronto South Detention Centre

The purpose of these narratives is not to illicit any sympathy for the inmates being housed at this (and many others like it) facility, but instead to show the hypocrisy (as with any governmental ‘institution’) which permeates through this ‘environment’. What ‘they’ tell ‘you’ about the running of this place is a FAR CRY from the truth of what actually goes on.

This is mostly about the guards. The support staff trying to do good within these walls tend to be hobbled in their efforts by the Security Department and the bureaucracy which accompanies it. ‘Security’ has VETO powers on all things pertaining to inmates…..everything. From the fact that there is no real complaint/grievance process available to inmates all the way down to not being allowed to possess personal toothpaste while on disciplinary L.O.A.P. status in segregation. (Editor’s note: Although L.O.A.P. was ended by a MCSCS policy change as of October 16-17, 2016, it seems that not all guards got the memo.) Some of the rules change with every shift, many times the laying of a misconduct against an inmate depends on the guard working that day, and whether he/she likes or dislikes the inmate in question. There is no real consistency in it at all…..AND, the same applies to whether said inmate is sent to segregation.

I have seen – and experienced – guys who were sent to segregation for the most minor, barest of infractions, while others have remained on the Unit (albeit locked in their cell) after throwing violent temper tantrums, or having been found with large home-brews and various other forms of contraband in their possession/or cells.

The thing that most people in the community tend not to realize is that the guards who work here are human beings and so are not immune to the character flaws which are a trait to all.

There are all the same – but more so – faults among them such as laziness, revenge, vindictive personalities, holier-than-thou attitudes, jealousy, insecurity (many feel they must assert their authority out of a sense of inadequacy…..as proof of their manhood. The female staff do it to prove they measure up.)….anything you can think of. It exists among many (majority) of the guards here.

At times, I wonder if all of the unpopular, bullied, or picked-on kids from high school signed up to be guards. Then you’ve got the ‘wannabe’ cops with their….,’you’re-all-pieces-of-shit” attitudes, or the ex-military types who – in their robot-like ways – just fall into line with whatever they’re told.

Some break the law by smuggling drugs, denying basic human rights, and, in some cases, assaults on inmates (although that’s less frequent than in the past due to the installation of the many surveillance cameras throughout the building). Although there are ‘blind spots’….., just order the inmate to step to the back wall of the cell before you punch him in the face.

I see – and have been subjected to – the petty whims of guards who will routinely withhold an inmate’s food and showers….even toilet paper, for days at a time!

For those of you who may think….”so what, they’re a bunch of criminals anyway”, you’re forgetting that it’s not about them as I said. It’s about this being a “correctional” centre, touting top-of-the-line medical facilities, inmate recreational and rehabilitation programs. “So stay outta jail”……you say. Well, as much as we’d all like to live in such a society where there is no need of ‘jails’…..unfortunately such an utopia is unlikely to come ‘round any time soon.

So, in the meantime……send all of your criminals, mentally ill, emotionally scarred addicts, and whichever ‘undesirables’ society deems as ‘riff-raff’ into these so-called Correctional Centres to be mistreated and further damaged.

Truly….prison guards believe themselves to be of a special breed, guardians watching over the worst society has to offer. While in some cases (admittedly many) this may be true….in far too many cases one finds it hard to distinguish who is worse.

A few days ago, I saw three large men (175 lbs. plus) wrestling a little old man (couldn’t have been younger than 70), maybe 5’6”, 140-150 lbs. into a segregation cell. All the while pleading with them from the wheelchair and beyond….., “please stop, I just need my pills!” Believe what I say or not…., but it’s no exaggeration!

Or, what about the schizophrenic guy who was charged with obstruction of justice because when the cops stopped him, he gave the name of one of his alter egos instead of his real one (and who’s to say that – according to him – the name he gave wasn’t his real one?) He’s now being housed in a segregation cell two doors down from me…..should he be ridiculed and called a ‘cry baby’ simply because he spends most of his time crying and asking to “please be allowed to go home.” He’s been in that cell for 17 days….(24 on 24!).

As much as you’d like to scoff at these stories…., or suggest that they must be fabrications, or – at best – exaggerations, you’re only making assumptions…., they couldn’t possibly be true, could they? Couldn’t they?

Uh…..hellooo? The subjugation of the weak by the strong, the rich over the poor, is a human trait! No….? Pick up any history book…..or even your daily newspaper…, ‘get yur head outta yur ass and take an honest look around!’ What would you do if you saw an elderly man being manhandled by three much younger, larger, and stronger men on the street? Or, what would you feel if you saw a pathetic, mentally ill man or woman crying for help to “go home”?

Would you try to help that elderly man….., would you have sympathy for that desperate, crying person…?

So why should ANY rational HUMAN BEING feel any different because those ‘people’ exist in society’s waste baskets? And, do you think these injustices (those who live them and those who witness them), and inhumane practices make the people ‘coming out’ better or worse? Or how about from the opposite angle…., if you can agree that having a sense of humanity for all, sharing kindness with others, and doing charity can make a person feel better in life…., wouldn’t it stand to reason then that doing the opposite of those same things will invariably have a negative impact on a person’s outlook on the world, and themselves?

I’m not saying that guards/staff ‘round here need to pamper anyone, but – HOLY! – with some of the things I’ve witnessed and personally experienced….., one must wonder what effect some of the behaviours have on the practitioner.

Is it really possible to ‘turn off’ when at work, then ‘turn on’ at home….., how long before it takes a toll?

And, how are any of the ‘sufferers’ supposed to ‘keep their chin up’ when they’re constantly being beaten down?

There is NOTHING correcting about corrections!

Quote of the day……
“Strength lies unseen in many unexpected places; it merely awaits the right key to release it.”

Everything these people teach their children about right and wrong, good and bad…..truth and lies means nothing in their dealings with ‘you’….’you’ are sub-human so a lie is not a lie, an injustice is not so when levied against ‘you’/’us’…..it’s okay.

…..written by Brennan Guigue, and dated March 3, 2016

Editor’s note: This is only a brief capsule of conditions inside Toronto South Detention Centre, and Brennan Guigue has recalled just a few to make his point. Don’t look at TSDC as a template for the many other MCSCS institutions in Ontario, though. While abuses of power and questionable practices can be experienced elsewhere and to varying degrees, the dynamics at TSDC make it a stand-out.

A day in the life…a conclusion…of a sort…

…..at Toronto South Detention Centre

Brennan Guigue is now sitting in segregation. The staff members involved have not followed sanctioned procedures, they know that but don’t care. There is no level of accountability, no transparency, and no concern for adherence to their oaths of office.

To continue………

Let’s jump back to Monday, February 22, for a second.
I was admitted to segregation at around 11am. Seven hours later, CO McCormick shows up to inform me that upon conducting a search in my cell, he found three items of contraband: l, “brew”, 2. tobacco-like substance (dried banana peel), 3. metal spring.

When Sgt. Tsenga and CO McCormick came into my cell in the morning, they came right into my cell. There was no indication of “brew”, there was no smell, nothing. The dried banana peel was chewed up and resting in a bowl out in plain sight. Why would I think to hide it? It’s only dried banana. As for the metal spring, where the hell am I gonna get a spring from? Nuts!

When I left my cell 7 hours earlier, there was NOT a “brew” in my cell. When my cell was searched at 4 – 4:30am that very morning, there was no “brew” in my cell. Between then and when I left my cell for segregation, I was not ever out of my cell (locked).

When I mentioned this to Sgt. John Edgington, he implied that some inmates figure putting down a “brew” right after a search is the perfect time.

Fair enough.

I put in a request to question the CO making the allegation, as is my RIGHT.
I had three simple question to ask him:
1. You say you found “brew” in my cell?
2. What constitutes a “brew”, as far as you know?
3. How do you know it was “brew” that you found?

He (McCormick) came to my cell accompanied by Cpt. Sellick, Sgt. Edgington, and one other CO as a witness.
I asked my three questions.

His answers were:
1. “Yes, I found a bag of ‘brew’ in you cell.”
2. “A brew is usually juice, water, sugar, bread & some fruit put together to make home wine”
3. “I knew it was home wine because I could smell its fermentation; it was rancid.”
So, you’re saying that it was definitely fermented? “Yes.” “OK, thanks.”

My argument is this:
There is no way that I could put together a bag of water, juice, bread (yeast), sugar and fruit, having NOT ever been out of my cell from the time of the early morning search, and when I left for segregation….and have it ‘ferment’ to a state of rancidness. It’s impossible to ferment it by that process in five hours. It needs at least a couple of days to ‘turn-over.’ Sgt. Edgington supported this logic as he professes to have a small home micro-brewery. He knows the process. I further argued that since the ‘servers’ (inmate trustees of a type) were out on the range, my cellie could’ve had it passed to him through the door hatch. After ALL of my explanations, and reasonable arguments….., Cpt. Sellick found my guilty of all allegations. Sentenced to another 10 days, but on LOAP (loss of all privileges).

Why did I even waste my breath?

Here we have a “hearing” (yeah right, a hearing is supposed to imply there’s a 3rd impartial and unbiased party adjudicating over the proceedings….., no?) I present my arguments… now here I sit 20 days in segregation, I. for an assault I didn’t commit, 2. and for a “brew” I knew nothing about.

To make matters worse, Sgt. Edgington took it upon himself to begin my LOAP sentence immediately (it’s not supposed to come in effect ‘til the 5th, I’m writing this on the 2nd and my LOAP began on he 1st. So then, I should be done on the 14rh, right?

So finally, after a week of all this bullshit, I finally snap. I tell Sgt. Edgington that neither he nor any of his staff have any integrity. I call him a piece of shit and mock for teaching his children to be honest and truthful, and then he comes to work and turns into an asshole……hypocrite! I ranted and raved for a week’s work of frustration and ill treatment. It lasted about 20 minutes before I was able to calm down.

Now today, the 2nd, I cannot get anything from the staff. No lawyer’s call. No request forms. No envelopes. NOTHING!

I got some toilet paper, but it took three hours of “please and thank you” and even then it was given begrudgingly.

So now I’m sitting in segregation, no mattress, no telephone, no shower, no envelope for lawyer’s letters. NOTHING. All because of things I did NOT do. By the way, Sgt. Boccega found me guilty on the assault misconduct after she took into account staff comments.

Who was the “staff” in question?…….Guess.

Why, CO Casciani with a grudge against me for not allowing her to bully me.
Hey….I dropped out of high school in grade 10. While I was there, I was one of the ‘cool’ kids…my, how the mighty have fallen.

Someone should tell CO Casciani that just because she had no friends or voice in high school, she does not have the right to take it out on us. Does she feel so inadequate, or insecure, that she feels it necessary to come to work and beat us down, just to give herself a sense of importance?
Really?
How pathetic is that!

I feel sorry for her.

Yes! I’m venting.

P.S. Let me tell you about doing time in the ‘hole’ at the Toronto South Detention Centre. Just one thing can sum it up, maybe two…..

First, you have guards laying fabricated misconducts which are then investigated by other guards, THEN yet another guard adjudicates the inmate arbitrarily, finding him guilty, and then that same guard passes down a sentence.

That’s like cops investigating cops….and we all know how that usually goes.

Secondly, now you are in segregation serving your sentence. LOAP means that you get nothing but the barest minimums, a “low mattress” (it’s no more than a padded blanket), 2 blankets, toilet paper, only religious books – Quaran, Bible, etc., MAYBE a pencil and paper. I was lucky to have already had these things.

Get this. Every day with every meal we are given a hot beverage of some sort….coffee, tea, powdered juice packet, sugars, and powder creams. But here’s the joke….NO CUPS. Then when these things build up in your cell….they accuse you of hoarding, which is yet another violation of the rules, and open to contraband misconducts.

Cool, eh?

MADNESS!

…..written by Brennan Guigue, and dated Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Editor’s note: This is only one incident with one inmate in one Ontario penal institution. It speaks for itself. There will be more to come in time, but what’s in the last three posts could be repeated endlessly with numerous prisoners. Brennan Guigue has chosen to share what he’s witnessed, what he’s had to accommodate. His voice echoes through the ranges of Ontario’s many jails, and the corridors of the ministry’s building on Grosvenor Street in Toronto. Who’s paying attention?
A note of one recent change by the ministry. LOAP (loss of all privileges) was a medievalist measure, punitive and counterproductive…..an October 17, 2016 directive ended the practice. Compliance is anticipated.

A day in the life….goes on and on….

…..at Toronto South Detention Centre

CO Casciani and Sgt. Tsenga have moved Brennan Guigue and his cell mate for no apparent or genuine reason other than “maintenance”, which we know is bogus. Brennan’s in cell #5, bunking with Michael Saraphin. We pick it up from there.

It’s Friday, February 19, 2016 at 7:15pm

Now, I’ve seen Mike on the unit, but we have never spoken. He keeps to himself is mostly quiet. I think it’s not too bad….WRONG!
By Saturday afternoon, Mike has filled me in on most – if not all – of the aspects (according to him) of current incarceration.
According to him, the provincial welfare (OW) office is defrauding him of due dollars, forging cheque stubs/payments for food, travel, etc.
Anyway, Mike is convinced that he has been wronged and the current issue (of many) presently is that he refuses to sign a rental agreement form in order to receive about $500 more than what he currently receives from ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Plan). He feels it would be a violation of his privacy rights.

For the last 5 years or so, he has been engaged in a personal battle with the Wellesley/Jarvis OW office, City Hall, even as high as the Ontario Premier’s office.
He has sent accusatory letters to ALL. So many in fact that he has previously been charged with criminal harassment, AND is currently back in jail for the same, as he has refused to comply with a court ordered ‘cease and desist’ order.

When I say this guy’s got a SERIOUS glitch goin’ on, I ain’t kiddin! Hundreds of letters…..to ALL members of city council, even to Kathleen Wynne’s office.
Now, I think I’m a pretty intelligent guy and the more I listened to his argument, the more holes I begin to see in his theory.

So I asked him….”What do you want to accomplish with your…..campaign?”
He says he wants them to publicly acknowledge that he was in fact defrauded, an overhaul of the welfare system (as the corruption is systemic)….AND, he wants financial compensation for the past 5 years of unpaid monies he feels he’s owed!

HOLY!….is this guy for real?

Many of the questions I put to him, he avoids. The more I challenge his ideology, the more upset he becomes. I tell him that after 5 years of battling without results, maybe it’s time to move on….

NOPE!

So then, I point out that what he’s asking for is too much….NEVER gonna happen. Look at yourself….in jail just to prove a point? Crazy! He does NOT like talking to me.
We end the conversation and he goes to bed. Sunday morning, we wake up for breakfast and he begins to question me as to how much ‘damage’ I think he’ll endure before the guards come and break up the fight? I tell him I don’t know, probably just 1 or 2 punches before the guards intervene…..why?

Then it occur to me…..’This guy wants to further his position of being a victim, and strengthen his argument that the city, and the government are targeting him simply because he’s standing up to a corrupt system.’ The cops kicked in his door, beat him up, dragged him – in handcuffs – off to jail unlawfully, and now his personal safety has been put at risk, as he is being housed with violent criminals! When I put this to him, he admits that ‘it’s an idea’. He had court in a week (February 29th) so time was short, and he had to execute his plan soon.

We talked about who would be the best to pick a fight with; you know, minimal damage and all that. I told him, “I don’t know, but whatever you do, PLEASE DON’T PICK ME! I’ve got too much to worry about with facing possible D.O. status, and I don’t need no misconducts for fighting or assault.” He doesn’t respond.

I lay down for an afternoon nap; he paces in the cell…..brooding.
Dinner comes. He starts asking me about segregation. Is it quiet, do you get your own cell, what’s the easiest way to get there, etc.?
I begin to answer some of his questions, but in the end I tell him to leave me alone, and I go stand by the cell door to watch the Raptors game.

He’s still pacing….brooding.

Suddenly he comes to the door. I give him a bit of space. He calls through the hatch that he want to get out of this cell. I ask him why does he want to leave……”Because I don’t want to get beat up!” “Who’s gonna beat you up? Yur crazy!”

So, the cleaner goes and alerts the guard (CO Casciani) that my cellie wants out. When she comes to the cell, I’m standing by the door and he’s just about finished gathering up his belongings.

He leaves the cell.

Ten minutes later, CO Casciani and another officer come back to my cell and ask me, why did I push my cell partner?
“Hey, hey…..I didn’t touch him!”
“Well, he says you assaulted hime and I wanna find out what happened.”
“Nothing happened. He’s a bug!”

So, then I quickly explain to her—-I fill out an inmate statement form regarding the situation as I see it.

Nonetheless, CO Casciani clearly disregards my explanation – clearly holding a grudge due to our previous encounter – and places me on lockup status pending investigation. No mention of a misconduct per se.

Monday rolls around and Sgt. Tsenga informs me that I will be moving to seg “pending misconduct.” As you can imagine, I was NOT (am not) a happy camper, especially when I know exactly what game Mike is playing. CO Casciani is just loving it. I can tell by the smirk on her face.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my cell got searched – no, ransacked – that morning at 4 – 4:30am February 22 by three officers and a captain no less. They searched so well that it took an hour to clean up.

So now I get down to segregation……now I am not the most cheerful of persons on the best of days, and this day my mood is sour. But whatever, I figure they’ll check the cameras and see that I’ve done nothing and let me go…..right?

WRONG AGAIN!

Two days later, February 24, Sgt. Boccega comes to my cell and tells me that she has found me guilty of the misconduct for assaulting my cell mate, and she has sentenced me to 10 days closed confinement. “Ya don’t say!” She then handed me the decision sheet, as well as the Misconduct Notice sheet which I was supposed to receive, quote “prior to the misconduct investigation.” Nobody interviewed me, nobody informed me that I was even on a misconduct. I was told by Sgt. Tsenga that I was being put in segregation “pending an investigation.”

Suddenly, without notice, I find myself being found guilty for an assault I did not commit. Mike had no injuries, there was absolutely no evidence to support the claim. Yet, I’m guilty? Where am I…..the TWILIGHT ZONE? No adherence to policy, no due process, nothing. WOW! Okay….so what. Ten days. No problem.

…..written by Brennan Guigue, and dated Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Editor’s note: It would be incorrect to label practices at the Toronto South Detention Centre (“The $1-billion hellhole”) as consistently contrary to Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services policies, or to colour all staff members with the same brush. However, it would be an understatement to say aberrations are prevalent. After all, the TSDC is one institution that has prompted the many lawsuits which the Ontario government is now facing.

This narration concludes with the next posting.