What Goes on Inside Prison?

Posted: April 28, 2013 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What goes on inside prison? We know what goes on inside a hospital. The public can visit their friends and family easily. hospital visitThey don’t have to fill out papers ahead of time, they don’t need clearance by the police. The authorities place hospitals near where people live and they make the visiting hours convenient.

Not so with prisons. Despite what their official statements say, prisons don’t want the public nosing around. When you visit an inmate in prison, you are often greeted by an attitude – “If you’re here to visit a scumbag prisoner, you must be a scumbag yourself.”

Cameras observe you in the visiting room. The chairs are attached to the tables so you can’t move them around and sit where you want. Each table has a microphone in it, so everything you say is recorded.

Compare this to a Mexican prison. My friend, Mike Oulton, spent two years in such a prison. He tells how families used to come into the prison, wives and children, and they brought meals with them. Since Mike had no family in Mexico, they often invited him to join in family celebrations.

Despite what they say, prison officials don’t want the public in their prisons. The way they have it now is good – Keep outonly the convicts see what they do and who listens to convicts? Even though the public is paying for the prisons, they can’t get in to see them. Officials feel that as long as no one escapes, then there’s nothing to worry about. Never mind that millions of dollars are spent for rehabilitation, which never happens.

We’re paying for an inefficient bureaucracy to care for the men and women in prison. What can we do to change things?

Images courtesy of:

  • open salon.com
  • lourdes.com
  1. Joanne says:

    Yes and what is even worse is prison officials can keep you out even if you have someone to visit, sometimes for arbitrary reasons. And they can accuse you of things you didn’t do and, contrary to the universal declaration of human rights, they do not have to give you a chance to prove your innocence. It is their domain and they behave like they have total control over what happens there, all in the name of security. And the courts will back them.

    What can we do? Just keep visiting and keep complaining to the right people about it and hopefully one day someone will listen.

  2. While the Harper government’s increasing tendency to secrecy and fabrication is affecting all government agencies, CSC has always been a “absolute system” and has had these characteristics for many years, perhaps always, if only because they can. Their Annual Reports are models of obfuscation and fanciful invention. They do have a lot to hide. CSC routinely ignores or violates all of the provisions of their Act, Policies and Procedures and the Commissioner’s Directives wherever they are intended to benefit inmates, most dangerously (for the rest of us) in the area of reducing recidivism. It is as if the Harper government wants to change the last forty years’ declining crime rates, so that they will have more excuse–and get more votes–for their foolish, malicious and destructive “tough-on-crime” legislation. CSC’s inclination to suppression and fabrication seems to have progressed from habitual to compulsive, even in situations where there seems no point to it.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Thank you, Chris. As usual, your comments are well-informed and guaranteed to make us think. Hopefully this terrible era will give way to a more thoughtful government, but it’s hard to change things that are already engraved in law.
      Ed Griffin

      • Hi Ed,
        Actually, what is most frustrating about CSC’s many failings, particularly to us former bureaucrats, is that they are not “engraved in law” but rather are constant violations of it. Generally, when a part of government is not working productively, the solution is to reform its legislation and/or policies and procedures. This is not the case with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, not its regulations nor the policies and procedures, or the Commissioner’s Directives that function as a field manual for this service. They are all excellent and have a major focus on prisoner support and rehabilitation. The problem is that CSC does very little of what they are supposed to do, and that is done–deliberately, presumably–so badly as to be ineffective. The only part on which is act is locking people up. There is no part of the government that so routinely ignores and violates its statute and other prescriptive documents. Apart from not doing half their job, CSC constitutes and major danger to Canadians generally.

      • Joanne says:

        Hi Chris,
        Just wanted to say I agree with you! So much of the CCRA is not followed and it makes one wonder why some commissioner’s Directives are even written, as they are also not followed.

  3. jailmail says:

    it would be amazing if family members could come in and actually be treated with some respect and dignity

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