I’d like to welcome our frequent commentator, a man in a Fraser Valley Prison:prison hands

As I watch the prison being built out in what used to be part of the yard draw close to its completion, I wonder to myself what kinds of opportunities are being squandered with the construction of this new warehouse parked outside the old warehouse.

The government takes the view that its about enhancing the capacity of prisons to deal with the influx of new inmates that are sure to come into the system as a result of their tough on crime legislation. Let’s overlook the fact that the projected numbers of new inmates are yet to be seen and that Mr. Toews himself has admitted that they are not seeing the numbers that they are planning for by constructing new prisons inside the old prisons.

Let’s just look at squandered opportunities and not at squandered taxpayer money.

So many things could be done with a new space and a new idea but instead the government is just building another cell block. What if it was built with some new ideas in mind, like rehabilitation and preparing inmates for their eventual reintegration. It could have been built with classrooms so that inmates could do evening programming and school but that would require some really forward thinking on the part of our justice minister and the government.

Think about a computer lab so that inmates could learn how to use a computer, a tool that has now become an almost essential part of life out in the community. Of course we have computers in the library like the one I am writing this piece with but there is no internet and the computers that we have access to are, in essence, typewriters do to the restrictions put in place. The prison administration says that internet access is a risk to security and therefore an inmate can’t have access to the internet, even restricted access for educational purposes. I know this, because I lost the argument with Ottawa for supervised restricted access to a university site while I was doing a university course that I had paid for. So much for helping someone do something to improve themselves that isn’t part of the prison system’s correctional planning. Apparently there is no one in the the administration that can figure out how to restrict access. Maybe they need to hire some smarter people.

Think about what kind of person you would want released from prison. Is it someone whom you believe has the skills and jailWriterthe preparation to meet the challenges of life outside of prison, or is it someone who has just whiled away his time sitting in his cell watching the latest batch of reality TV shows to come out this season?

  1. Heather says:

    A well written piece. I suggest most of the people making decisions regarding inmates and their activities are precisely the same as those mentioned in the last sentence: dumbed down after a decade of “watching the latest batch of reality TV shows.”

  2. Joanne says:

    Well said! Unfortunately I believe the will to find the people with the know-how to restrict access is missing. It’s all part of the new punishment orientation.

  3. Aina Baron says:

    Well said and of course as usual VERY TRUE! DO YOU THINK ANYONE IS LISTENING?

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