The theory is that prison will teach a man (or woman) how to live in society. It doesn’t work. It’s the farthest thing from what actually happens.

The man gets up at a certain time, marches to the mess hall, and sits with the same three fellows he’s sat with for years. Never does a staff member ask if he could join them. This is an Us and Them world.

The day goes on, the man can only move from one place to another at specified times. He used to have freedom of movement during a good portion of the day, but no more. The staff discovered that it’s easier on them if they put in a military type regime.

This is training to live on the outside?

Then there are programs to take, Cog Skills, Anger Management etc. It doesn’t matter so much whether a man needs a program, the important thing is to keep the classes full. The man has no say in what programs he would like to take. This, of course, guarantees that poor teachers can retain their jobs.

Programs are made conditions of parole. I had a learning experience in this area. I had worked with an inmate for seven years. I knew him thoroughly – he was ready for freedom or at least for a halfway house. I was asked to be interviewed about this man and I agreed. The interviewer was a private individual who prepared reports on inmates. He and I had good conversations, but as we talked, I began to realize that no matter what I said this man was going to report that the inmate wasn’t ready yet. I further suspected that this is what the man always said – this is why the prison system kept him around – he kept filling the prisons, guaranteeing further work for the staff.

“There should be no jails. They do not accomplish what they pretend to accomplish. If you would wipe them out and there would be no more criminals than now. They are a blot upon any civilization.”

Clarence Darrow, 1857-1938

  1. CSC has a substantial, carefully designed and fully modern set of policies and procedures, as specified in their Act and Commissioner’s Directives, for rehabilitation and reintegration, which, they claim, begins the moment the prisoner first enters the institution. In fact, they don’t do it, although their public documents are full of lies claiming that they do. They don’t do it because they detest the prisoners, and are, in any case incompetent and incapable of carrying it out. This becomes worse the longer that the Harper government continues. Consequently, Canada has an extraordinarily high rate of recidivism, which is getting worse. Canada’s Correctional Services are worse than useless for any purpose other than for warehousing and coarsening human beings.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Of course, Chris, I agree with you. I was particularly impressed with your last line: Canada’s Correctional Services are worse than useless for any purpose other than for warehousing and coarsening human beings.
      That bit about “coarsening” was especially good.

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