A man in one of our local prisons has written a book about his trial and the fact that two DNA experts don’t find him at the crime scene. It’s hard to believe that such injustice can happen in Canada. The book is called Overlooked (the testimony of the DNA experts was overlooked.) He’s giving the book away, so he doesn’t run into a violation of profiting from his so-called crime. (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286867)

Does the prison system encourage people to write? Do they believe with Aristotle that “Art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul?”

I got a letter from this man yesterday.

Hi Ed, Denied education. Denied French Classes, Punished for writing. Another year, another ebook with more retaliation by the prison system courtesy of …, the head of … This man has promised me, “I’ll ban you from computers.” (computers are very limited in all our Canadian prisons. There are usually a few in the library and a few in the school. Out of a population of 300 inmates, there may be 10 computers. Compare this to American federal prisons which now allow email and the computers to send an email.)

The man goes on to say that he can’t use the school computers to write on, and some of his work that was already there has been deleted by this official without his permission.

We don’t have to go to Russia or China or the Ukraine to find human rights abuse. This abuse is in institutions that our tax dollars are paying for.

The man ends his letter with this note: “I keep plugging away with writing.” He reminds me of the struggles Olympic athletes often have. He struggles to write despite difficulties that would stop the normal person.

  1. We are so sorry for him but he is steadfast in his belief in himself. He is an amazing fellow really and I believe the prison staff know that he is innocent but they have to follow orders. He certainly does not give them any trouble. HOw can this happen in the Canada? And in Canadian prisons? It does and it has and he is not the first one it has happened to. Somehow this has to come to light and to an end in our broken ‘injustice’ systems. I am glad you wrote about this. maybe enough people will read about it. We have read the Water War crimes story online about the judge that put him there. Why? What did he gain by it? He died just a few months later misteriously according to the article. Only the person who was being unlawfully protected gained his freedom but I think the universe will deal with him (them) to. Too bad it is taking so long. Kudos to all the people who are supporting him through whatever means is legally available to them. Some questions he asks many times over, does DNA lie in this century? And is lieing under oath legal now?

  2. More evidence that CSC staff actively prevent rehabilitation. My guess is that this is done for a combination of reasons. Prison staff are often poorly educated and trained (due to lax or absent or ignored requirements) and resent inmates doing better than they (a friend who used to teach at Stony Mountain was told that by staff there). Generally, they have a very bad attitude towards the inmates (and, apparently, towards everything else). That they have a legal requirement to engage in rehabilitation for every inmate is normally also ignored and, to cover this up, lied about. There is probably no more incompetent and counter-productive corps in the public service.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      I wish you were wrong, Chris, but I have experienced the same thing myself. When I and my students started to show some great progress in English and in writing, we were stomped on. Some students were moved to maximum security, some were threatened, and efforts were made to stop the class.

  3. jcommittedk says:

    Reading this post and Chris’ comment made my blood boil! It is only more proof that prison officials are able to control just about everything a prisoner does, in direct contravention of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act of Canada. And yet it seems that no one can do anything about it. Although I do agree Ed that writing is important and that it represents a lot more that what is seen on the surface, this is just one symptom of our very broken and corrupt justice system. It is difficult not to feel hopeless at times.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      While I often feel hopeless, too, I hope we both can overcome that feeling, Joanne. To me the prison system seems like a humongous wall build around a segment of our society. The good thing about walls like this is that if you take a bottom stone out, you weaken the whole wall.
      We are little people who stand in front of this wall and we hammer at it with our tiny hammers. It’s crazy and hopeless, but the only thing that keeps us going is to look over at others who are hammering away. I hammer at the wall in B.C. and I look over to Alberta to see a woman hammering there. That helps me.
      Keep hammering, Joanne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s