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Posts Tagged ‘super-maximum security’

“Since 1977, the Service has operated separate units for those inmates who are considered to seriously threaten the safety of others. Originally, Special Handling Units were established within Millhaven Institution and the Correctional Development Centre. These units were subsequently replaced by purpose-built facilities at Saskatchewan Penitentiary and Regional Reception Centre (Quebec).

A relatively small number of inmates, because of their violent behaviour in the institutions, have demonstrated that they require controls beyond those found within a maximum security institution. Since the inception of special handling/high maximum security units, 558 inmates (to 1989.10.05) have been
incarcerated in these units. In general, these inmates are more likely to have been sentenced for a violent crime (only 15 had no previous record of violence), more likely to commit indictable violent acts while incarcerated, and more likely to commit violent acts when released than is the rest of the offender population. Specifically, this small group of individuals have been involved in 974 staff and inmate assaults within the institutions, 155 murders, 44 attempted murders, and 208 hostage incidents.

WHAT IS NEEDED
Violence within the institutions cannot be tolerated. Those inmates who commit violent acts must be removed from the normal inmate population and subjected to increased controls until such time as they indicate that they can control their violent behaviour and return to normal association. During the period of removal from the normal inmate population, the inmate must be required to address his violent tendencies, and thus, the Service must provide him the means to do SQ.

It is important to note that the removal of the violent inmate from the normal inmate population serves two purposes. Firstly, it reinforces the Service’s stance that violent acts will not be tolerated, providina a denunciation of violence. Secondly, it reduces the risk of violence in the institutions, creating an
environment in which staff and inmates can interact with a reasonable assurance of safety and in which an active intervention approach is tenable. 

OPTIONS CONSIDERED
A number of methods of removing inmates from the population were examined. The approaches considered were: punitive dissociation; administrative segregation; transfer to another institution; transfer to a Regional Psychiatric or Treatment Centre; and transfer to the currently existing high maximum security units. As well, a more controlled maximum security institution and a small hiah maximum security unit in each region were considered. It was the consensus of the committee that these approaches met neither the needs of the violent inmates nor the responsibilities of the Service in relation to these inmates.

PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE
It is recommended that a regime be established for the violent inmates, which will provide both reasonable controls and programming designed to meet their specific needs, especially those related to their violent behaviour. Such a regime could be implemented in the existing high maximum security facilities. 

I. WHO SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO A SPECIAL UNIT?
A Service-wide policy of “zero tolerance” is warranted for homicide, hostage-taking, and serious assault. All inmates who commit these acts of violence should be automatically transferred to the special unit for a set period of time during which a comprehensive assessment would,be undertaken. The assessment would be used to determine whether the inmate requires the intervention and controls afforded by the regime established in the unit or whether other options such as placement in a Regional Psychiatric Centre are viable. 

Other inmates who commit less serious acts of violence, who are strongly suspected of committing a violent act, who make serious threats, or who otherwise show a propensity for violence may be considered for transfer to a special unit, if such a transfer is determined to be the only viable option to ensure the safety of others. If transferred to the special unit, these inmates would remain in the unit for a set period to undergo a comprehensive assessment to determine whether the inmate should remain in the unit for treatment or whether other options should be pursued. 

II. DIFFERENTIATION OF VIOLENCE
Violent behaviour is symptomatic of a variety of underlying causes. Violent inmates can be considered as falling within one of the following broad categories:

i) those who are.psychiatrically disturbed;
ii) those who are behaviourally disordered; and
iii) those who resort to violence to achieve their own objectives.

These different underlying causes of violence have implications for any program regime for the affected inmates.

i) The psychiatrically disturbed inmates must have access to appropriate treatment. This treatment could be provided bv Regional Psychiatric Centres or by provincial psychiatric institutions. However, the transfer of these violent and unpredictable inmates to these facilities would likely prove disruptive and hinder or curtail treatment programs for others. – Therefore, it is recommended that a psychiatric wing be created within the unit designated for violent inmates.

ii) Behaviourally disordered inmates are those with fundamental control problems, whether they lack internal behavioural controls or whether they choose not to apply any control. Included in this group are inmates who react explosively to situations, those who act impulsively, and those who act violently under the influence of an intoxicant. An appropriate regime for these inmates must combine a decrement of external controls while fostering the development of internalized behaviour control. Specific programming approaches should include components such as conflict resolution, anger management, and alcohol and drug treatment.

iii) Functionally violent inmates are those who consciously and deliberately resort to violence as a means of achieving their own objectives. These inmates may use violence to effect an escape, to collect debts, or to intimidate others; Many of these individuals are capable of participating in prescribed activities but it is difficult to assess their commitment to altering their violent behaviour. These inmates should be constructively occupied and should be counselled to reject violence as a means of accomplishing goals. 

III. CONTROL
It is evident that any regime for the management of violent inmates must have an element of control. These inmates have demonstrated by their violent behaviour that they require control beyond that found in a normal maximum security institution.

However, the controls should be no more restrictive than that required to ensure a reasonable level of safety for staff and inmates. Although inmates may initially be subjected to severely restricted freedom of movement and association, these
restrictions should be gradually lifted as the inmates show that they can behave more responsibly.

Restraint equipment should be applied on an exceptional basis, only for those inmates whose performance indicated a need for such control. Face-to-face contact, free of barriers, is a vital element of any counselling’or treatment program. Staff safety in such situations can be assured through a team approach or interviews can be conducted across a table with the staff member’s back to the door if necessary. 

V. ASSESSMENT
Each inmate transferred to the special unit would be required to undergo a comprehensive assessment in order to determine an appropriate intervention strategy and the required level of control. In view of the high incidence of mental disorders revealed bv the “Mental Health Survey of Federally Incarcerated
Offenders”, psychological and psychiatric components to the assessment are crucial. As a result of this assessment, a detailed correctional treatment plan to specifically address the inmate’s violent behaviour would be prepared for and with the inmate, clearly defining expectations of and potential outcomes for the inmate. The ultimate objective of the plan should be correcting the violent behaviour so that the inmate may return to a normal population at the earliest reasonable time. A critical element of the plan would be in which institution, treatment facility or special unit the intervention strategy would be most effective. Therefore, at this point, a decision would be made to transfer the inmate from or to retain him in the special unit. If the inmate is transferred, the receiving facility would be expected to use the correctional treatment plan developed following assessment as a base document. 

VI. PROGRAM SCOPE
Programming within the special unit should be designed to assist the inmate in addressing his need to change his behaviour, to allow him to participate in constructive activities, and to allow him to demonstrate increasing capacity to interact with others with decreased controls. The following elements are considered as essential programming components:

• psychiatric and psychological intervention;
• treatment programs, such as anger management, conflict resolution, or substance abuse treatment;
• employment opportunities ranging from in-cell activities to a workshop setting;

personal development opportunities, such as living skills, self-help groups, or culturally-based activities;
• recreational opportunities designed to foster effective use of leisure time;
• pastoral counselling. 
….

CONCLUSIONS
1. The Service needs a special facility for the control and treatment of violent inmates. The current approach and operation of the high maximum security units does not adequately address the needs of those individuals.

2. All inmates who commit murder, hostage-taking, or serious assault will be transferred to such a facility for assessment.

3. Other inmates who demonstrate a propensity for violence may be considered for placement alternatives, including transfer to the facility.

4. An individualized correctional treatment plan will be developed to specifically address the causes of the violent behaviour, prescribe treatment options, and outline a plan for return to a normal population at the earliest possible time.

5. Psychiatrically disturbed violent inmates require separate and special intervention within the facility.

6. Participation in programming and-success in addressing identified needs will determine transfer to normal population.

7. The operation of the facility shall include:

a) comprehensive assessment capability to identify the causes of the inmate’s violence;
b) active intervention with inmates to encourage them to address their violent behaviour;
c) capacity to address the individual needs of inmates with psychiatric problems; d) the lowest level of control possible; restraint equipment to be used only as response to threatening or violent behaviour and based on individual assessment of risk; .
e) open contact among staff and inmates;
f) a team approach to programming involving case management, security, program staff and the inmate;
g) incentives to encourage and motivate constructive use of time;
h) ongoing staff training to increase awareness/understanding of violent behaviour and appropriate intervention techniques; and
I) the maintenance of clear and close links with case workers responsible for the follow-up with the violent inmates in the normal institutions.

8. Admission to and release from the facility will be determined by a committee with national authority.”

High Maximum Security: A Discussion Paper. Ottawa: Correctional Service of Canada, 1989. 

Photographs: Special Handling Unit and

Regional Reception Centre at Saint-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec, 1986-87.

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“‘Super Max’ – It’s a solitary life of misery for convicts in special unit,” Globe and Mail. September 12, 1980. Page 05.

By VICTOR MALAREK

One at a time a few extremely dangerous convicts trudge out of their cells to exercise by themselves for an hour.

They are being punished, and for about a month their life will be sheer misery in a prison within a prison because they have no physical contact with other prisoners or with their keepers.

But their woes will not end after those 30-odds days of strict solitary confinement. Then they start a long stretch of living under intense security, segregated from the rest of the prisoners.

Their world will revolve around a tiny cell constructed completely of steel, cramped recreation areas that are monitored by cameras and close contact with prisoners, who like themselves, are some of the most violent criminals in the country.

Their world is known as the special handling unit or ‘special max.’ There are only two in Canada – one at Millhaven penitentiary in Bath, Ont., and the other at the correctional development centre in Laval, Que.

According to Millhaven’s warden, John Ryan, the units are used to protect prison society from those convicts who are bent on using violence on both the guards and fellow prisoners.

Rehabilitative value is nonexistent
Until a few weeks ago, the total population at the two units was about 50. That figure got a sudden spurt of new blood as nine inmates, who took part in the hostage-taking incident at Laval penitentiary in Quebec, were transferred to the unit at the Laval centre.

Criminologists, psychologists and prisoners alike maintain that the units have no rehabilitative value.

Pierre Landreville, a professor of criminology at the University of Montreal, said the way the units are run ‘right now, they are inhuman. I think I would have to say their only function is to break the spirit.’

But he added that he thought the units are necessary because ‘some of these people are quite dangerous.’

Fred Sweet, chairman of the prisoners’ committee at Millhaven, said in a recent interview at the penitentiary that the units should be eliminated.

‘Some of the guys they (the administrations) put into SHU are potentially dangerous convicts, but once they’re put in, you remove the potential and then they are dangerous,’ Mr. Sweet said, pounding his clenched fist – the letters F, R, E, and D tattooed on his knuckles – on a bare wooden table.

Bryan Reynolds, a 29-year-old convict serving life for murder at Millhaven, described the unit as ‘a breeding ground for violent animals.’

‘Think of living in a room the size of a toilet (bathroom) day after day after day for months on end, only the cell is worse than a…doghouse. You’d get charged by the humane society for treating dogs the way convicts are treated in SHU,’ Mr. Reynolds said angrily. He has spent nine months in the unit.

Mr. Sweet maintained that if the prisoners were treated with ‘human dignity in the first place, SHU would not be necessary.’

Dragan Cernetic, former warden of the British Columbia penitentiary, who now works in operations at Correctional Service of Canada headquarters in Ottawa, hotly defended the units in a recent interview.

‘There are only two ways you can deal with violent inmates. You can impose stringent security on, the whole prison population or you can segregate three or four of the trouble-makers in a place where they can…rot as far as I’m concerned.’

Mr. Cernetic said the kind of convict he would recommend for incarceration in a special handling unit ‘is a man who I could not take home for dinner and feel safe with him.’

On a recent tour of the unit at Millhaven rarely given to outsiders, David Page, the officer in charge of the unit, tersely described the living conditions.

‘All the cells have been completely converted to steel. A steel desk, steel walls, steels sinks, and steel toilets. All the steel is painted. The beds are bolted to the walls.’

During the visit, the convicts were locked in their cells behind massive steel doors. Lunch was being passed to them through a hole in the middle of the door. Intense security was ever present through a maze of electronically controlled steel portals.

Every movement outside the cells is closely monitored either visually or by television cameras. Guards patrol the cell block about every 45 minutes when the men are locked in their cells and peep through a tiny glass opening in the doors to ensure nothing is amiss.

Red panic buttons, in case of trouble, prominently protrude from the walls in every cubicle in the ranges.

One hour a day to exercise alone
On the Phase I block, the tightest security area, a convict’s wiry hand jutted out of a hole in the door where meals are passed. Another prisoner yelled for a guard. ‘Can you come here for a mine. It’s important. I want to discuss my welfare.’

In Phase I, Mr. Page said, inmates get out of their cells one at a time for only an hour a day to exercise.

Conditions improve as the prisoners graduate to Phase 2 and 3, where periods outside the cells and contact with inmates is increased to a little more than six and eight hours a day respectively.

It’s in those latter phases, ‘other than the fact that their movement is contained, the prisoners are a lot better off in some cases than the other inmates. The other inmates don’t have television in their cells,’ Mr. Page said.

A couple of cells have been converted into recreation rooms and mini-gyms where inmates can either play guitars, listen to music or pound out their frustrations on a heavy punching bag.

Inmates can also go outside occassionally to a yard aptly referred to by the guards and prisoners as a ‘cloister.’ They get movies twice a week.

James Hayes, a psychologist at Millhaven, said that sicne the program was started at the penitentiary ‘we’ve had no returnees. The recidivism rate is nil.

Mr. Hayes said that ‘the inmates knows very clearly what he has to do to get his release back to the normal prison population.’

The operative word is co-operation. Inmates must not be mouthy to the guards and must show they can get along with their fellow inmates in the unit.

No limit is placed on the number of visits by family members to inmates in the unit, but the convict and visitor are separated by a cage, glass and screens.

‘The visits are inhuman,’ said Mr. Sweet. ‘The prisoner sits in a cage while he visits with his family. It’s degrading.’

Of his stay in the unit, Mr. Reynolds said the intense security ‘bothers you at first but you get used to it…We’re human beings. What they’re doing in SHU is illegal…(It) is morally illegal because it is cruel and unusual punishment.’

Frank Steel, a member of the three-man board at the Correctional Service of Canada in Ottawa that decides who goes into units, said inmates who take hostages during an escape attempt are almost automatically sent there.

Other infractions leading to an incarceration are murder or or assault on a prison guard or another convict.

‘SHU candidates are those who are determined to be dangerous…inmates perceived to be particularly violent while under sentence,’ Mr. Steel said.

Confinement in the units is relatively free of bureaucratic red tape. A warden holds an in-penitentiary review of the cases and makes a recommendation that goes to regional headquarters and then to the special handling unit in Ottawa.

The board is made up of the deputy comminisioner of security, the head of offender programs and the director-general of medical services.

‘Once we recommend SHU, the case is reviewed monthly at the institution and every six months at national headquarters. Every six months we go to the SHUs and interview those inmates who wish to be interviewed. Usually they all want to be interviewed,’ Mr. Steel said.

Cases reviewed every month
‘We talk about thee progress he’s been making and sometimes give him an indication of when he can expect to be released to the normal population. Our biggest complaint (from the inmates) is the perceived capriciousness of the system and the uncertainty of when an inmate can expect to be released.’

The average stay in the unit is between 18 months and two years, Mr. Steel said.

One convict, who was involved the hostage-taking incident at the B.C. Penitentiary in June, 1975, in which Mary Steinhauser, a classification officer, was killed by prison guards, was released last June from the Millhaven unit.

Paul Caouette, executive secretary of the Union of Solicitor-General Employees, vehemently defended the use of the units, ‘especially when it involves the safety of the guards.’

Mr. Caouette warned that if politicians ever fell to the demands of prisoners’ rights groups of convicts to ban the units, they would see a rapid dwindling in the number of guards.

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fuckyeahanarchistposters:

For A Society Without Prisons

In 1993, the guerilla group the Red Army Faction bombed the
construction site of a new super maximum security prison in Weiterstadt,
Germany. Over $90 million in damage was caused, the opening of the
prison was delayed by four years, and no one was seriously injured. This was the final action of the RAF before disbanding.

“For a society without prisons!”—Commando Katharina Hammerschmidt, Red Army Faction, March 30, 1993

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“A New Home for Tough Guys,” The Globe Magazine. August 30, 1958. Cover and pages 03-05.

Millbrook has a bad name, and its officials are just delighted

…a big bit is preffered

By DAVID MacDONALD

It was a sunny morning in June, the traditional time for graduations. In a rambling red-brick building overlooking the Ontario village of Millbrook – a building with the glass, tile and pastel decor of a modern high school – superintendent Hartley Paterson shuffled a sheaf of papers and glanced up at the youth who stood before him.

‘You’ve done well here,’ he said. The compliment was acknowledged with a quiet smile. ‘So you’re going to have the honor of becoming Millbrook’s first graduate. Tomorrow we’re sending you to Burwash. Congratulations.’

Though the prospect of going to the provincial prison farm at Burwash is normally not cause for rejoicing, the youth in faded blue denims broke into a wide grin and took the superintendent’s outstretched hand. After the months he’d spent behind the towering walls of Millbrook, Ontario’s tough new maximum security reformatory, the chance to serve out the rest of his sentence somewhere else seemed almost as welcome as a parole.

A petty but promising criminal and never a model prisoner, he’d been among the charter inmates of Millbrook when it was opened last September to isolate troublemakers from other reformatories in the province. Some had been released earlier after completing their time – one has since returned for a second stretch  – but this was the first to win a good-behavior transfer.

That same day, a few minutes later, another inmate came before Paterson with a special request. Soon due for release, he wanted to complete the last few days of his term in a regular reformatory. ‘Just having a record is bad enough, he explained with feeling, ‘but a discharge from Millbrook is a worse black eye.’

WITH the men who know penal institutions best – i.e. residents – Millbrook is scarcely the most popular, a fact readily acknowledged by its superintendent. ‘This isn’t the nicest place to do time,’ says Paterson, former governor of Toronto’s DDon Jail,’ and it’s not meant to be.’

What Millbrook is meant to be, what it was specially designed for shortly after an outbreak of rioting at Guelph reformatory in 1952, is a place of stern no-nonsense discipline for the more difficult inmates of other provincial institutions. It differs from most reformatories about as much as Dorchester Penitentiary differs from Disneyland. Unlike the unfenced so-called open institutions – where prisoners usually live in barracks-like dormitories, eat together and enjoy comparative freedom of movement and communication – Millbrook is tough, and a man imprisoned behind its 23-foot wall has a monastic time of it.

The first 16 days of his term there are spent in his closed-in cell, cut off from contact with everyone but his jailers, the reformatory psychologist, chaplain and doctor. His meals are pushed in to him through a small opening in the foot of his cell door and he gets out only for short solitary walks in a small exercise yard.

IF behaves well in quarantine, his life at Millbrook improves slightly. He’s allowed cigarets, visitors, a novel from the prison library and a nightly half-hour period to mingle with the other 25 occupants in his cell block. He also gets to work eight hours a day, scrubbing floors.

In time, he can win other privileges – a thin mattress for his steel bunk, newspapers, mail, movies, sports in the yard, a job making license plates, hobby periods or high-school correspondence classes. At Millbrook, a prisoner has no privileges but those he earned by good behavior. He can lose any or all of them easily – by sassing a guard, loafing at his job, or even swearing at another inmate – and he also runs the risk of solitary confinement ‘behind the little green door’ or, for really serious offences, the strap.

At a time when the trend in penology is clearly toward open institutions for treating criminal offenders rather than merely punishin them, the $3,500,000 stronghold at Millbrook has been criticized for its iron discipline, steel bars, brick walls and bullet-proof glass. As one authority in the field of corrections put it recently, ‘How are you going to prepare a man for the outside world by keeping him in a cage?’

THEN is Millbrook, for all its modern custodial trappings, an anachronism? Far from it, asserts Ontario’s deputy minister of reform institutions, Hedley Basher. You can’t have effective minimum security,’ he says, ‘without maximum security to back it up. Just the fact that there is a place like Millbrook has greatly improved discipline in our other reformatories. Maybe it’s largely a fear of the unknown. At any rate, with the troublemakers moved to Millbrook, we’ve already been able to disarm the guard at Guelph and Burwash and we expect to do a great deal more there in the way of corrective treatment and rehabilitation.’ 

If most reformatory inmates stay in line, and out of Millbrook, what about the others who don’t? There are 125 of them at Millbrook now, in three categories. The first is made up of stars, a misleading term for problem prisoners. Most of these are younger men, in their late teens and early twenties, who have already done time before. Group Two is made up of 25 sex deviates. Not rated as security risks or troublemakers – though sex offenders can disrupt normal prison life – they’re confined to Millbrook chiefly for lack of a better place to keep them. Group Three includes 40 drug addicts.

The youngest convict at Millbrook is a baby-faced 17-year-old who knifed a guard at Guelph, the oldest a sex offender of 61. Most inmates have little education but there are some striking exceptions – a dope-addicted doctor and two high-school teachers, both in for sex crimes.

IT’S worth noting that the star prisoners – the troublemakers – cause little trouble at Millbrook, if only because they get little opportunity. Says Paterson: ‘Most of them come here with that hostile spit-in-your-eye attitude. But after a couple of weeks in their cells, with nothing much to do but think, they usually simmer down.’ One reason for this, the superintendent thinks, is the incentive system of privileges. ‘They soon realize that the kind of life they lead here is entirely up to them. If they behave, it gets progressively easier. If not, they can do hard time. The choice is as simple as that.’

Another reason is advanced by Douglas Penfold, a psychologist with the Department of Reform Institutions who spends most of his time at Millbrook. ‘A lot of these men just can’t seem to adjust to group living in an open institution,’ he says. ‘Here they get lots of time to themselves, away from the influence and distractions of other inmates, and they have a better chance to start thinking seriously about their problems and their future. I’d say the attitude of at least 25 per cent of our so-called disturbers had undergone a distinct change for the better.’

While Millbrook may never set any records for turning out model citizens – since its clients are judged to be the worst of a pretty bad lot – an attempt is being made there to reform them. As well as up-to-date medical and dental clinics, two psychologists, a psychiatrist and a case-worker from the John Howard after-care agency are on hand to help prisoners get at the causes of their criminal behavior and fix on some way of overcoming them.

AFTER careful screening and preliminary treatment at Millbrook, many Group Three prisoners have been sent on the provincial clinic for addicts at Mimico. In addition, one Millbrook psychologist, Gordon Johnson, has recently been working at the forensic clinic of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital, preparing a rehabilitation program for the reformatory’s sex offenders.

Perhaps the most significant development at Millbrook is the fact that its star prisoners will soon be introduced to group counselling, a form of psychotherapy that has proved highly successful in some of the world’s most advanced penal institutions. Members of the custodial staff, who will act as group leaders, are now attending a series of lectures by psychiatrists and sociologists – on their own time and by their own choice.

All such clinical work has the full approval and support of superintendent Paterson, a breezy 44-year-old onetime Royal Canadian Regiment colonel, and his chief aid, James Rea, a big greying man with 20 years’ experience in prison work.

‘This place could never justify itself,’ Paterson believes, ‘if it was nothing but a lockup for bad actors. True, it’s having a good effect on other reformatories. But we want Millbrook to have some positive value for the men who are here, to help them go straight when they leave. If so, Millbrook could be a big advance in penology in Canada.’

AS for Millbrook’s inmates, its strict discipline and rigid routine affect them in various ways. ‘I guess I’d better behave myself here,’ one prisoner wrote to his wife. ‘They’ve got more strap than I’ve got backside.’ Another, on the eve of his discharge, told Paterson that he’d never, never be back in Millbrook again. ‘Next time,’ he said, ‘I’ll make sure I get a big bit.’ In prison parlance, a big bit is two years or more, a term in a federal penitentiary. Perhaps the most remarkable reaction to Millbrook was expressed not long ago by a 19-year-old star prisoner. He arrived there spouting defiance, paid for it in solitary confinement and wound up meekly asking for vocational guidance and advice from psychologist Doug Penfold. When his behavior had improved so markedly that he was offered a transfer back to an open institution, he astounded all by declining with thanks. ‘I can learn a lot more here and keep out of trouble,’ he said. ‘So I’d like to stay till my time’s up.’

Millbrook officials were secretly delighted at this unlikely testimonial. But they didn’t advertise it. After all, the place just can’t afford to get a good name.

Mr. MacDonald was the author of a recent Globe Magazine article on problems facing the courts

Captions:

1) If he behaves, he’s allowed a mattress, mail, novels, prison company and visitors

2) The design of Millbrook is modern, but the walls that make a prison haven’t changed much over the years; Millbrook’s are 23 feet high

3) The job of making license plates for cars is a privilege, awarded for good conduct

4) Guard Lawrence Wiles keeps watch as one prisoner cuts another’s hair; at Millbrook, an inmate has to win the right of mixing with his fellows.

5) Head man: Superintendent Hartley Paterson; The resident chaplain, Dr. Harold Neal, conducts a service; Deputy Superintendent James Rea

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“L’enfer du Centre de
développement correctionnel,” Le Devoir. August 29, 1980. Page 06.

par Edgar Roussel

Alors détenu dans un «Centre de développement correctionnel», M. Edgar
Roussel avait adressé au député fédéral Mark MacGuigan, devenu ministre
des Affaires extérieures, une lettre manuscrite sur les conditions de détention.
La Ligue des droits et libertés qui en avait obtenu copie en avait publié la
teneur voici peu de mois. Ce document, daté du 12 avril 1980, prend une actualité
particulière à la lumière des événements survenus cette semaine à
l’Institut Laval, événements auxquels M. Roussel a présumément été mêlé. En
voici le texte intégral.


DEPUIS le 29 mars 1978, je suis détenu
au Centre de développement
correctionnel (CDC) où je sers une
peine d’emprisonnement à vie avec éligibilité
à 20 ans.

Sur les pénitenciers fédéraux, tout a été
dit, il ne me reste plus qu’à le redire, sauf
quand il s’agit d’unités spéciales de détention,
telles le CDC dont il sera question
dans cette lettre. La raison d’être de
ce genre d’institutions selon la directive
no 174 du Commissaire national est de
préparer la réinsertion pénitentiaire de
détenus considérés comme dangereux.

Pour ce faire l’administration offre un
programme que je vous propose d’examiner
soigneusement afin de découvrir de
quelle façon originale le système oeuvre
afin que se réalise la métamorphose tant
souhaitée, pour que le chrysalide devienne
papillon, comment en nous déconnectant
de la vie on prétend nous faire renaître
à la vie. On dénombré quatre paramètres
fixes comme des miradors à l’intérieur
desquels ce programme est élaboré:
une cellule, une salle commune, une
cour extérieure, et pour chapeauter le
tout, un département de socialisation.

C’est au CDC que le temps passé en cellule
se situe parmi le plus élevé dans les
pénitenciers fédéraux du Canada. Afin
d’éviter que le détenu ne sombre dans
l’ennui ou pis encore dans la folie, l’administration
accorde ce que d’autres institutions
refusent catégoriquement à leur population,
soit un appareil de télévision.
Ce cadeau dont le detenu est bénéficiaire
est on ne peut plus significatif quant au
désarroi dans lequel se trouve celui-ci
lorsque laissé à seul. Mais, c’est davantage
un aveu d’échec et aussi un manque
flagrant d’imagination, ce qui est plus
grave encore.

Les premiers jours, on s’en sert de
façon démesurée, pour diminuer graduellement
sa consommation et finalement
l’utiliser de nouveau mais cette fois, pour
couvrir les bruits qu’auparavant on ne
percevait pas.

La télévision agit tantôt comme une aspirine
pour calmer la souffrance tantôt
comme un prisme par lequel le monde
extérieur nous parvient. Après des mois
de ce régime c’est la nausée, la répulsion;
on ferme l’appareil pour faire connaissance
avec un phénomène nouveau: le bruit! Fouilles, rondes de gardiens, tout
est subordonné au bruit, qui en cellule est
omniprésent plus que partout ailleurs, jamais
d’accalmie. Quand très tard le soir on
parvient enfin à s’endormir, lorsque le
sommeil vient rétablir l’équilibre dangereusement
rompu durant la journée, c’est
la ronde de nuit qui commence. À chaque
heure, interminablement, le bruit des pas
du gardien effectuant sa ronde résonne
sur le plafond de la cellule. Au CDC on a
trouvé un moyen original de compter les
détenus, ça se fait par le haut; il est possible
au gardien d’avoir une pleine vue
sur le captif par un châssis à meme le plafond.
Cependant, il est toujours possible
de rattraper le sommeil perdu en sacrifiant
la marche quotidienne. Or, c’est justement
le temps que choisissent les gardiens
pour fouiller les cellules des detenus
qui sont à l’extérieur. Ils arrivent
dans la rangée telle une meute, le museau
en l’air, et bang! dans les murs afin de
voir s’il n’y a pas de trous, bang! au plafond
pour vérifier si le châssis nya pas été
coupe et bang! sur la trappe à air. Une
fois leur travail terminé, ils s’en vont en
n’oubliant surtout pas de faire refermer
les portes de cellules simultanément dans
un fracas infernal ; adieu sommeil et tranquillité
tant convoités!

 Pour ce qui est de l’aération il serait
difficile d’en parler parce qu’elle est inexistante:
pas de fenetre, des portes pleines
et cet air lourd qui pèse tel un voile
opaque.

L’été, c’est un four crématoire que l’inactivité
la plus totale rend intolérable;
nous suons à ne rien faire. Le matin,
symphonie de raclages de gorges, de
mouchages de nez, de toux rauques afin
de dégager les voies respiratoires.

Je couche à même le sol de ma cellule
depuis près de deux ans, la tête appuyée
sur le bas de la porte pour bénéficier de la
plus petite brise, richesse incomparable.

Pour les moments hors de la cellule,
une salle commune est mise à notre disposition
tous les soirs de 18 h 30 à 22 h 30
mais jamais plus de dix détenus à la fois.
Cette pratique fait partie de la socialisation;
on veut nous apprendre à être sociable
par petits groupes pour ensuite
nous plonger dans une population de trois
à quatre cents détenus avec les problèmes
d’adaptation que cela implique.

Quelques jeux de société, une autre télévision
et de la surveillance, beaucoup
de surveillance. Cette salle commune est
à toute fin pratique une cellule un peu
plus spacieuse que celle dans laquelle
nous sommes confinés la plupart du
temps faut bien le dire.

Nous disposons pour les activités extérieures
d’une cour de 75 pieds par 75
pieds où encore une fois jamais plus de
dix détenus ne sont admis, ni plus ni
moins; c’est une fixation administrative.
L’été, le vent est coupé par les hauts
murs tandis que, de l’asphalte dont le sol
est recouvert, monte cette chaleur accablante;
pas de verdure ni bancs, rien
sauf de l’asphalte, du ciment et du fer.

Comme activités physiques, nous pratiquons
la boxe sur un sac de guenilles payé
a même notre argent au prix de $172.
L’administration a raté une excellente
occasion de faire preuve de justice car
dans toutes les autres institutions cet article
est défrayé à même un budget (loisir)
réservé à cette fin. Toutes les activités
physiques sont pratiqués à nos risques
à cause de la surface asphaltée. La quasi
totalité de la population souffre d’un
problème musculaire quelconque; à cet
effet, il serait intéressant de jeter un coup
d’oeil sur les requêtes médicales et de
compter les détenus qui ont demandé des
espadrilles spéciales.

Notre plus grand réconfort et seul contact
avec le monde extérieur nous le devons
à nos visites; celles-ci sont fixées par
l’administration au jour et à l’heure qu’il
lui convient. Ce privilège est dispensé
parcimonieusement le mercredi et jeudi
de chague mois. Au CDC l’affectation est
considérée comme une faveur, prodiguée
au compte-gouttes et régie comme telle.

Pas de contact avec nos parents, femmes
et enfants, c’est de cette manière
que l’administration prône l’épanouissement
de l’individu.

Voici quelques années, les responsables
d’un «zoo» sont allés chercher un
éléphant-femelle à l’autre bout du monde
our que le mâle captif ne s’ennuie pas.
L’espace réservé aux animaux est réaménagé
sans cesse afin qu’il s’apparente le
plus possible à leur habitat naturel: toutes
proportions gardées, ils disposent
dans leurs parcs de plus d’espaces que
nous.

Pour compléter le programme, un département
de socialisation, composé d’un
agent de classement ainsi que d’un
psychologue, c’est sans contredit le secteur
qui présente le plus de carences. Ces
spécialistes en sciences humaines, nous
les rencontrons quand nous sommes au
bout du rouleau et que tout risque de basculer,
alors nous bénéficions de leurs «lumières».

Leur préoccupation première est de savoir
si, dans l’état où nous sommes, nous
envisageons d’attaquer un membre du
personnel ou, ce qui est beaucoup moins
grave, l’objet de notre agression sera
intra-spécifique. Une fois cette tâche accomplie,
ces suppôts de l’administration
vont rendre compte de leurs conclusions
et c’est sur ja foi de leurs témoignages
itérera un déque
le comité national transférera un détenu.
Donc, plus souvent qu’autrement,
le jugement des membres du comité,
quoique bien intentionné, sera fondé sur
des rapports faussés au départ parce que
puisés à même une situation faussée alors
que le détenu est en proie au désarroi le
plus total.

Tous les spécialistes sont unanimes
quand ils affirment qu’une détention de
plus de cinq ans cause des troubles irréversibles
et ils ne parlaient pas d’unités
spéciales. Ce que nous subissons ne vise
qu’à nous rendre bestiaux, à développer
des instincts de tueurs. Il existe plusieurs
exemples de criminels ayant séjourné
plus pu moins longtemps en ségrégation
et qui sont autant d’exemples de ce que
j’avance.

Je me contenterai d’en citer quatre,
que j’ai personnellement connus, et dont
il m’a été possible de suivre le cheminement,
il s’agit de Jacques Mesrine,
Richard Blass, Jean-Paul Mercier et Jean
Lachapelle.

Tous ont certains points en commun:
ils ont passé plusieurs années en ségrégation
et tous sont morts aujourd’hui pour
avoir refusé de revivre, ne serait-ce
qu’une journée, ce qu’ils avaient connu
dans le passé.

Il serait peut-être utile ou enrichissant
de connaître leurs agissements après
avoir connu la ségrégation.

Jean Lachapelle, enfermé environ six
ans dans une cellule, a plaidé coupable à
neuf accusations de meurtres à son retour
derrière les barreaux; sans compter
qu’au cours de son évasion, l’ultime il va
sans dire, il fut lui-même troué de balles.

Quant à Richard Blass sa mort lui a
évité d’être accusé d’une quinzaine de
meurtres. Pour ce qui est de Jean-Paul
Mercier (trois ans, comme Blass, de
ségrégation) il avoue être l’auteur du
meurtre de deux garde-chasse, alors qu’il
était évadé, pour éviter d’être reconnu,
ce qui lui aurait valu quelques années de
ségrégation (isolation). En ce qui concerne
Jacques Mesrine, une lecture attentive
des deux volumes qu’il a rédigés est
plus que révélatrice quant à l’état mental
où l’ont conduit les années d’isolement
en cellule.

Aucun de ces quatre individus n’avait
été condamné pour meurtre avant de
faire de la ségrégation; est-ce que cela est
dû au hasard? Libre a vous de conclure
comme vous l’entendez. Le système vise
à rapetisser le criminel, comprimer la
moindre initiative, en un mot assassiner
sa personnalité pour la rendre conforme
au microcosme dans lequel on le force à
évoluer. Quand le détenu est devenu suffisamment
fourbe, hypocrite et menteur,
qu’il peut feindre de la reconnaissance
pour ses bourreaux, alors là, il est éligible
a un transfert.

Les individus considérés comme cas
«dangereux» sont le fruit d’un folklore
perpétué par les rites dont la fonction est
de garder intact le souvenir de nos actions.

Rien ne peut effacer une action, et
croire que le châtiment pourrait provoquer
une rédemption est un leurre.
Quand on tient à changer l’individu, ce
n’est ni plus ni moins qu’un effort par un
acte arbitraire pour le rendre semblable à
nous, alors que moi, je réclame le droit à
la différence.

Tous les détenus amenés ici en même
temps que moi ont été transférés depuis.
Alors, seule une soif inaltérable de vengeance
peut expliquer ma présence au
CDC. Le dernier détenu du groupe est
parti le 10 avril 1980 et son palmarès parle
par lui-même; dernièrement ce type écopait
d’une sentence d’un an pour agression
avec couteau.sur deux officiers du
CDC. Il avait été préalablement accusé de
tentative de meurtre mais les jurés ont
accepté de réduire l’accusation; selon
eux, le détenu était incapable de juger du
caractère de son geste à cause des conditions
inhérentes a sa détention qui avait
altéré sa raison.

II y a quelque temps on libérait un détenu
du CDC pour le remettre directement dans la société. Quelques mois auparavant,
cet individu était considéré
trop dangereux pour être transféré dans
un pénitencier à sécurité maximum.

Par cette longue lettre, j’ai tenté de
vous fournir le plus d’éléments possible
qui pourraient vous permettre de percevoir
de l’intérieur la situation qui est
mienne depuis trop longtemps. Aujourd’hui,
il m’arrive de parler seul, de
rire sans raison ou encore d’être secoué
par des spasmes nerveux. Je sens que
quelque enose détraque dans le mécanisme
et si personne n’intervient en ma
faveur, le pire est à prévoir. Le degré de
saturation est atteint, un incident si minime
soit-il pourrait être le déclencheur
pouvant conduire à une action désespérée.

Depuis deux longues et interminables
années, je n’ai pas serré ma femme, ma
mère ni ma fille et deux longues années
aussi j’ai été sans voir le clair de lune, les
étoiles; au plus vil des animaux, ce droit
n’est pas nié. Konrad Lorenz affirme
qu’il est dangereux de cerner un animal
dans un coin sans aucune chance de fuite.
Frederic Nietzche postule quant à lui
dans son oeuvre intitulé «Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra»
que l’homme a fait du loup
un chien et de l’homme lui-même le meilleur
animal domestique de l’homme. Il
dénonce aussi la cruauté vêtue des oripaux
de la justice, en introduction de ce
même volume: «C’est lors des tragédies,
des combats de taureaux et des crucifixions
que l’homme s’est jusqu’ici senti le
mieux sur la terre; lorsqu’il s’inventa
l’enfer, ce fut son paradis sur terre» (P.
XXIV) 

C’est au nom et en vénérant la pensée
de ces grands hommes que je vous demande
aujourd’hui d’intercéder en ma
faveur. Déjà en 1976 alors que vous agissiez
à titre de président d’un sous-comité
enquêtant sur la violence dans les pénitenciers,
vous dénonciez l’ineptie des administrateurs.
Votre nouvelle fonction
vous donne le rayonnement, le pouvoir
suffisant pour améliorer ma condition,
c’est le but de ma requête. 

C’est le but de ma requête.
Si ce document devait servir pour une
défense ultérieure devant les tribunaux,
c’est que la mutation de chrysalide au papillon
aura été un échec. 

J’ose espérer, M. le ministre, que mon
appel ne sera pas vain malgré toute la responsabilité
et le travail que représente
votre nouvelle fonction.

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“Over the last year, I have been conducting a piece of research in Close Supervision Centres – the units within high security prisons that hold prisoners too dangerous or difficult to manage to be held elsewhere in the prison system. In the course of this project, I have spent a lot of time during long lunch hours sitting in staff rooms, writing up notes and eating sandwiches while officers take their break. I have watched quite a lot of episodes of Storage Hunters and Bargain Hunt, and taken part in some long discussions about holidays, Brexit, Donald Trump and the best kind of domestic vacuum cleaner. Officers have sometimes asked me about my life, but rarely about my research. Sometimes they have asked me very little, preferring to sleep, zone out in front of the television or discuss the internal politics of the prison. This is their back-stage, and I feel quite conflicted about whether it is a legitimate source of data.

In these ambiguous research zones, officers have also talked about prisoners, sometimes sympathising with their situations and showing insight into their lives, but more often sounding off, using language that is sometimes very distasteful. Prisoners have been routinely described as ‘dickheads’, ‘shitbags’ and ‘fruitloops’. In these situations, officers have been at pains to emphasise to me that this kind of venting is not to be taken at face value, and is the same kind of ‘gallows humour’ that is found among almost all frontline occupational groups. This is something that I can understand and appreciate, particularly in this very extreme and intense part of the prison system, while at the same time it strikes me that the things that we say but don’t quite mean still mean something. The hard part is knowing exactly what that something is, and whether it needs the kind of direct confirmation that, as researchers, we often seek out.

The most illuminating lunchtime discussions have been about matters such as care, trust and authenticity. One day, sitting on institutional chairs on the wing, I started a conversation with one officer, Graham, about whether he cared about the prisoners on the unit. He was slightly ‘old-school’, someone for whom the language of care did not come very naturally, but who prisoners regarded as ‘a do-er’, someone who – to draw on Sarah Tait’s (2011) work in this area – delivered ‘care on the side’ through his reliability and professional commitment. What he cared about, he explained, was his colleagues and the running of the unit. He cared – he said – in the sense that he gave prisoners what they were entitled to, and tried to reduce their complaints. Described in this way, care was somewhat limited and instrumental.

Graham’s comments seemed inconsistent with his behaviour, which, to me, looked – at the very least – like a form of practical care, and often more than this: a recognition of prisoners’ humanity through a commitment to meeting their needs. But Graham did not provide me with the kind of direct expression of this position that a literalist might have wanted.

Over lunch, in the company of several of his colleagues, he took the discussion further. ‘There must be things you want to ask us’, he said. ‘What about the stuff you asked me about earlier?’ And so began a kind of informal focus group about care and compassion. Staff said little initially that I had not heard many times before in discussions of this kind: ‘you develop relationships, but you have to detach a bit’; ‘you can’t let compassion affect your work’, and similar statements. And then one officer revealed that: ‘you do sometimes want to hug prisoners’; that the reason you don’t is that you’ll be the subject of security information reports, or because of what the prisoner will then think. But once she had hugged a prisoner who was dying: ‘I thought “sod the rules”’, she said; ‘it was human to human’. This was a unit in which officers often challenged each other, and reflected on their and others’ decisions. On this occasion, no-one questioned her sentiments, but nor did they support her. The silence felt like reluctant recognition that care was there, somewhere, and it was okay.

In the fieldnotes that I completed later that day, I wrote the following:

‘The fact that it was initiated by Graham was not coincidental, I think. I wonder if it had played on his mind after I talked to him about it on the wing. The conversation was held without bluster … I think the staff were genuinely thinking through their own behaviour. It is taboo, to some degree, to say you care for prisoners, but they were describing care and I’ve seen them display it in their behaviour too’.

My encounters with ‘trust’ were similar. Uniformed staff reinforced to me that while CSC prisoners could – to quote – be ‘superficially charming …. they’d ‘slash your throat in an instant if they needed to’ … ‘that’s why you can never trust them’. But they clearly trusted prisoners enough to play pool with them, to sit with them drinking tea, to be alone with them in an art workshop, to let me wander about around them; and in all kinds of minor ways, they trusted them sufficiently to do what they said they were going to do. When one prisoner’s laundry needed to be moved to another room, another prisoner – the most litigious and challenging man on the unit – assured the officer that he would inform his friend what had happened. ‘I’ll make sure he’s not suspicious’, he said, and the officer thanked him. This was a rather limited form of trust, but it was trust nonetheless.

At lunchtime, I asked officers if they trusted this particular prisoner more because he had a legalistic mindset, and was therefore a stickler for people doing what they said they would do. Did they see him as a ‘man of his word?’ ‘No’, they said. ‘the golden rule is that you never trust them’. But, in certain ways, it was clear that they did.”

– Ben Crewe, “Asking and Observing in Prison Research.” Border Criminologies blog, Oxford University Faculty of Law, May 4, 2018.

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Correctional Development Centre

110. The Correctional Development Centre in Laval, Quebec, has had several
names since it opened in 1968, beginning with Special Correction Unit (which meant
“supermaximum” to planners and inmates) to its present name, Temporary Detention
Unit. In reality it is a microcosm of the entire penitentiary system in Canada,
containing all the ills of maximum security in tight concentration, within a structure
that was originally intended to have been a small specialized prison. All three of the
Directors who tried to administer it had the common objective of creating a busy,
involved therapeutic community for the 3 to 4 per cent of the inmate population who
are the most difficult and intransigent prisoners in Canada. Full programs of job
training, work, education and recreation were to be maintained in this special
institution to prepare the inmates for lesser security. It was never instituted because
of lack of support from Regional headquarters in Quebec. 

111. Despite the fact that this institution is treated as though it is the
unwanted foster child of the system, the present Director, Pierre Goulem, is still
striving to establish the original aim and design of the institution. 

112. Within 18 months after the CDC was opened in 1968, under Director
Roger Jourdain, the carefully designed program was abandoned because Region
claimed the population was too low. The Director protested. He was moved to Cowansville and replaced by Jean Page, deputy warden of Leclerc Institution.
Protective custody cases were moved in despite the fact that there were no programs. 

113. Mr. Page’s attempts to carry on his duties between 1969 and 1971 met
with as many frustrations as do Mr. Goulem’s today. Despite two reports made on
the institution by investigators, the situation did not improve. The investigators
stated: 

“The Board feels that the Superintendent of the institution is a capable officer
who is well motivated, who has clear-cut and up-to-date ideas on theories about
corrections in general, and the function and operation of the SCU in particular..
. The Board feels that the Superintendent of the SCU has not been getting
support or cooperation, or even advice, from the Regional Headquarters…”

And again: 

"The Regional Director has been very tardy in answering direct enquiries put to
him by the Superintendent and in some instances has not replied at all. He has
at least on one occasion declined to give advice when it was specifically asked
for." 

114. With the return of Mr. Page to Leclerc, Pierre Goulem, the present
Director, was brought in from the Federal Training Centre. Another study was
ordered at this time and it was turned over to the Regional Director in June, 1972. It
agreed with previous recommendations—that the institution remain maximum security
for difficult cases, but said that the treatment method should be changed totally.
It should be centred around the Therapeutic Community concept. A total of 27
recommendations were given in order to allow the program to start; these included
staff hiring as well as general physical restructuring of the institution. 

115. The Solicitor General accepted the recommendations on September 27,
1972, and the program was publicly announced in October. Director Goulem was
ready to move on the program, with specialists hired and the construction of two
common rooms and five offices started in April 1973. By June 1973 everything came
to a halt following the escape of five inmates. All who remained in the unit were the
Director, his secretary, Assistant Director Paul Williams in charge of socialization,
and Andre Thiffault, clinical consultant. The inmates were moved out. Mr. Goulem
was demoted but on appeal was re-instated March 1974. 

116. On April 8, 1974, the then Commissioner Paul Faguy ordered the
institution re-opened. Once more staffing started, in the fall of 1974. When the
September, 1976, riot occurred in Laval, the CDC was being used as the Regional
Psychiatric Centre. When the Laval rioters were moved in, the psychiatric patients
were transferred to Pinel. 

117. The history of the construction to meet the announced plan in 1971 of a
Therapeutic Community also seems to have been frustrated at the regional level: 

(i) In October 1973, two common rooms and five offices begun in February at a
cost of $165,000 were halted. 

(ii) April 1975—Phase I of the new program, five common rooms and two
towers (the common rooms identical to the ones built in 1973)—now the cost
was $700,000. 

(iii) April 1976—Phase II, administration, kitchen, visiting area, recreation
facilities, cost $919,132.
23 

(iv) December 1976—Phase IIIA, gymnasium, outside recreation yard, one
tower, cost $674,000.

(v) Phase IIIB (the plan was still under review when the Sub-Committee was
there)—industrial shops and maintenance shops, cost $230,000. 

118. Always there were delays. The cost of this waste was never calculated for
the public. It took 18 months between Phases I and II because Region refused to
proceed with the project despite requests from Ottawa to proceed. The delays in each
instance were due to differences between Region and Ottawa, and delay in presenting
projects to the Treasury Board. 

119. The delay meant non-use of the institution for three years, excessive costs
that increased because of inflation, an explosive situation today, a sudden need to use
the facilities without gymnasium, outside yard, work shops, or school or library
facilities. 

120. The Sub-Committee was told of an almost perpetual lock-up of inmates
in small cells and saw themselves that the cell doors were opened only a few inches
even for dialogue with the Members of Parliament. The Members knew most were
not dangerous and in fact later talked with them in their cells. Inmates’ representatives,
however, were brought before the Sub-Committee shackled and heavily
guarded, a reflection of the guards’ dramatization of danger that the Sub-Committee
did not accept. 

121. Evidence was given of gassings without the follow-up health and safety
requirement of a shower to remove the corrosive residue. Witnesses, including
inmates involved in these incidents, said they were left eight and nine days without a
shower after gassings; one developed a serious scalp infection that required shaving
off all his hair. 

122. Another inmate came before the Sub-Committee with bruises from a
recent beating he claimed was administered by guards, whose names kept recurring
as problems in the institution. 

123. Several young guards who were concerned about the situation talked
privately to teams of the Sub-Committee saying they want to do the job but there
are a few "thugs in the system” who live by brutality, harrassment and even invited
hostage-taking “so we can negotiate better pay”. They were fearful of appearing
before the Sub-Committee because like the inmates, they could be beaten up. 

124. Mr. Goulem testified that he knew that there were on his staff several
people who were more dangerous than inmates:

“Sometimes when I am in my office and there are two officers outside I
wonder, if I yell for help would it not take some time before they come. I do not
know; it depends on which one it is.” (13:89) 

125. Paul J. Williams, Assistant Director of Socialization, referring to what he
described as “many conflicts between inmates and staff, between security and the
director, or the director and the Alliance, and in reality …of normal conflicts
because the situation is so abnormal,” stated: 

“What we are trying to do is rectify problems here and there and, as far as
I am concerned, based on my experience, it is a situation that cannot be
corrected, but must be done away with. I assess the present situation as being
inhuman, unrealistic and arbitrary and potentially very dangerous. I think some
of the comments brought up by some of my staff, for example, the psychologist’s, the classification officer’s, the social workers’s questioning their roles
here, I just say honestly I do not see any role for a professional psychologist, a
professionally trained classification officer nor a professionally trained social
worker under the present circumstances. I think the same might be said for
many other people who are professionally trained or even not professionally
trained. One of the members of Parliament—I forget which one—made reference
to the fact that we only have two psychologists or only two classification
officers. I think we probably have too many, simply because really what can
they do? I suspect God himself could not do much under the circumstances.”
(13:82-3) 

126. The C.D.C. gave the Sub-Committee graphic insights into why prisons
explode, why there are hostage incidents, why there are slashings and suicides. But it
also shows that tax money was wasted on an expensive human warehouse. The CDC
not only shows the deterioration of the system but the poor leadership which cannot
build a program, or allow others to build a program, despite the availability of
money for construction. 

127. The Sub-Committee was so appalled by what it saw at this institution
that on its return to Ottawa it made private recommendations on the immediate
problem. As a result, the institution has been opened up to some extent and the
inmates have been given increased privileges for recreation and visits.

– 

Mark MacGuigan, Chairman, Report to Parliament of The Sub-Committee on the
Penitentiary System in Canada & Standing Committee on
Justice and Legal Affairs
. Second Session of the
Thirtieth Parliament, 1976-77. pp. 22-25.

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