Canada's prisons overcrowded, increasingly violent: ombudsman -

Canada’s prisons overcrowded, increasingly violent: ombudsman

Less than 25 per cent of inmates participated in correctional programs last year


Canada’s prisons are overcrowded, increasingly violent and lacking in rehabilitation programs, says a new report from Canada’s prison ombudsman. “It is a sobering and cautionary experience to walk through any of Canada’s federal penitentiaries or provincial jails today,” the report said, which was authored by federal correctional investigator Howard Sapers. The watchdog also reported that corrections staff are showing and drawing their guns more often, and lockdowns are becoming routine. The number of inmates sharing cells has also increased by 50 per cent in the last five years. Sapers’ message to a news conference today was that “conditions are undermining corrections,” and stated that an increase in minimum mandatory sentences has led to the overcrowding.

Montreal Gazette

Filed under:

Canada’s prisons overcrowded, increasingly violent: ombudsman

  1. This guy is a Liberal sycophant at heart.To start prisoners do not need ombudsman old people living on the poverty line need them.Here they seat in warm surroundings recreation needs taken care of .food paid for,clothing paid for menus at every meal.I think it is time all us old buggers started robbing banks rather than live in cold apartments paying high rent and high medical costs .This ombudsman is a laugh to anyone who was ever in the military in the old days or a POW.Get rid of these deep thinkers they are all stupid and over paid.

    • DO even know what an ombudsman does?!

      Did you finish high school?

      • Do you know who has to pay for all these goodies? Prison is supposed to be punishment, not a vacation. Bureaucrats are mostly out of touch with working peoples needs and wants.

        • Ideally, prison is supposed to be a place away from society while they get rehabilitated so that when they get out (and if there's overcrowding, they're getting out all the sooner) they don't go an commit yet another crime.

          Prison is not supposed to be violence training school.

          • Exactly, Thwim. I don't know why people are so into punishment. Revenge. I guess. We don't want to punish someone who has a broken leg. Why punish one with a broken brain.
            I'm sure that 90+% of those have some sort of mental illness. All we have to do to Those who don't conform to society's rules, is to separate them from society until they agree comply. I don't mind paying taxes to rehabilitate them as soon as possible.
            Or better still use the money we now waste on defending someone who is not attacking us. How many billions is that?

    • 1) clothing paid for? what?
      2) menus? what? you eat what you're given (which is fine, criminals don't deserve a menu, but don't lie about it)
      3) i'm sick of old people thinking they deserve sh*t just cuz they're old, be a citizen like the rest of us

      EDIT: and I don't mean veterans– they deserve all benefits and more– I'm talking about seniors thinking they deserve special treatment by virtue of simply being older than 65

      • AWW ! There is a choice of Food………..First thing in an Officer does is make his Menu list for the day.
        Some get Protein, some get Kosher , some get no Meat or a High Calorie diet ,ETC …..Its a joke……

        So yes there is choice and you have other options as well. Clothes , well they all wear wonderful coveralls in different shades ………..So ye sit is supplied.
        Federal is different of course but Provincial is that way.

        • In Federal Prison If you have dietary Issues as determined by the Healthcare Personel,your put on a special diet, If your religion dictates certain foods, same thing I.E: Kosher, as far as clothing, there is a scale of Issue..3pairs pants,3pr. shirts, 3 pr ,.t-shirts,4 pr. socks,4 pr.underwear, 1 pr. shoes,1pr work boots, 1 jacket, Pesonal hygene kit. Lets have Supper just for conversations sake…Salad bar (usually unlimited.) Pork chops x2 mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetable,,,coffee tea,milk, juice .(unlimited) Dessert..usually A.R.O. 8:00 P.M. ''Night trays'' consisting of fresh fruit, cookies, protien bars, and juice are brought into the common area of the cell block for those who wish to snack before Lights out. What are you having for Supper to-night ??

    • __OK Gar go to jail, lets see how luxururious you think it is… you think any of them like it?? Are you retarded, I have seen people I don't even know leave a prov. jail and it's mid winter and they don't care that there frezzing to death with no jacket walking down the street just to get the HELL away from there, and then there's the people that are fighting because they did nothing wrong and guess what they are living a nightmare because they refuse to admit something they didn't do, if they plea to a crime they didn't do they would get less time and be more comfortable in a fed. institution, the prisoners need someone on there end because (I'm guessing you have never been to an institution) but it's the worst most dehumanitizing situation you could ever be in…………….hey why don't you go for a week and see how it feels, your inococent right you have done nothing wrong, say it's just a wrong time wrong place sort of situation and poof your there…………………..after that week tell me how you feel!!!!!!!!!

    • Guess what the people in the detention centers have not been convicted of anything, just a holding space(like tourture) and the judicial system takes so long, makes people say they did something they never did just to get to the more comfortable Fed. system. I am not nor have I nor ever will I be in custody but let me tell you from my experiances and what I have learned, it's very cold in jail, the food is worse then a nursing home or hospital or REally anywhere else on the planet, there is no menu it's here's the slop eat it it's all you get,

  2. Don't do the crime if you ain't got the time (Barreta)

  3. So apparently the government is somewhat justified in expanding prisons if not the prison population.

    • maybe non violent people can be put under house arrest via gps devices! the real criminals shouldn't be let out unless they can prove that they aren't a danger to society… for minor crimes it would make more sense to have big fines which then pay for the criminal justice system in general

  4. But of course we don't need to build new prisons. What we need are shorter, more "progressive" sentencing guidelines. Or at least that's the argument that normally gets trotted out.

  5. Rehabilitation programs (may it be drugs, alcohol, psychological, psychiatric, behavioral rehabilitation) should be mandatory in our prison system. If prisoners don't participate, no parol should be given. To shorten sentences just for the sole reason to clear out prison is way stupendous.

    • REhabilitation programs are stupendously ineffective when the participant doesn't want to be in them.

      • Also, the Charter guarantees the right to refuse treatment. No prisoner can be forced into a program.

        • Why can't it be part of a sentencing process? Say 2 years rehabilitation + 2 years incarceration(for a 4 year sentence). Yes you could not force change, but at least it give those with addiction a chance to clear their minds for a certain period of time to really be able to think.

      • You are right. Many counsellors and psychologists will agree with you. Motivation is key. But what psychologists call "psychoeducation" to the prisoners may be effective for some; that is, those who get incarcerated may benefit from rehab. providers and/or those who went through rehab. can speak on what programs are effective before inmates make a decision whether they want to participate. Such psychoeducation have been in place in some places in the U.S. and Canada, nevermind some other parts of the world. If anyone read the info. in the Province today, it can cost around or over $100,000 to incarcerate some offenders-a ridiculous high price for taxpayers to pay for some inmates who are capable of changing. (Some are probably not, but it has to be case by case; I'm not an expert). One big area not discussed is doing more PREVENTION with youths and their families. It is also important to note that a good number of those incarcerated have been subjected to RACISM, OPPRESSION, and are victims of crimes themselves, some very violent.

  6. The funny thing is, with Stockwell Day's crusade to build more prisons for imaginary crime, he'll actually be making improvements in the lives of the criminals the CPC so loves to spook the public with.

    • He'll also be improving the lives of the people who work in correctional institutions. And by creating more room, our correctional system will be that much less subject to human rights complaints, and there will be that much less pressure for early releases. The last point, of course, is by far the most important. For that reason alone we should build more prisons. Let overcrowding NEVER be a reason to turn someone loose before his time is up.

  7. When they say sharing cells, how many actually are in one cell? Families who have a hard time meeting up their financial obligations, have their children sharing a room. So what do they want, one room per prisoner? Oh why not add a walk in closet/washroom, a TV for each room (LED or 3D) so they do not need to mingle with other prisoners, thus lessen the risk of having a fight. While we are at it, why not give them wifi lap top, to keep their mind busy? God Forbid, we will be known around the world, as a country who do not provide for our poor, unfortunate, and misjudged prisoners! Merde! Our international reputation is on the line here people! Seriously though, we do need rehabilitation programs for our prisoners as sooner or later, these people will be released back to society. We rather lessen the risk of them reoffending or worse, while they are still inside, can still be monitored, and we are still able to do something about them and their behaviour.

    • When they say sharing a cell it usually means two convicts per cell, segregation sometimes four convicts … the average ''single'' Federal Prison cell is 4 ft x 8 ft..containing a sink, toilet, wall mounted reading type desk, foot locker and bed, also most inmates have their own personal T.V.'s and/or mini-stereo systems. Sharing a cell requires a metal bunkbed.

      • Thanks for the info, I only saw them in movies . Even that I would not know what is real and what is just make believe. That is way better than our homeless though. God forbid, Should I be homeless someday, I know where to go! I knew of law abiding people who just happen to be poor, with 4 children sharing a room just good enough for sleeping. TV has to be shared by everybody in the living room. Their dining table serves as their study table as well. Too bad for them, there is no ombudsman to expose their parents for not financially capable in providing well for their needs, nor are the kids able to stage a big fight that disrupt society so people would pay attention and provide for what they lack.

        • Glad to help….

    • Hey Ariadne,

      Your friend True North was talking about Fed. jail, Prov. jail is very much worse, 2 to 3 guys per 4 x 8 room (2 in bunks and one on the floor) a toilet a desk type area for all of them and 1 TV outside of the cells against a wall that most can't see, there beds are blow up matresses that deflate all night long, the lights are bright and stay on 90% of the time, the food is horrible, even for institute standerds, they line up once a week for a razor to share (hep C??) and other desiese, and not to mention the violence (that many guys is a small space) one is chattering all night every night makes you nuts. I could really go on and on and OMG on, it's not the palace true north was speaking of.

  8. Hold on everyone, while I get a towel & beer to cry in for these criminals who are so hard done while serving prison time & being punished for their criminal acts!

    • that's okay, the Harper government will dry your tears by building new prisons so criminals have a proper amount of space to live within.

  9. I wouldn't want to lump all people of one culture as the same, neither should criminals be stereotyped. I have no empathy for any serial murderers or rapists. But there is a large number with serious mental health issues that end up doing crime to try to survive. Most people don't want to hire those with no addresses or mental health issues; not everyone can get proper help. So definitely more rehab. and counselling (some medications) are needed. They should expand treatment centres instead of building oversized jails. Those who actually work in the field would know better.

    • SO let them become politicians or lawyers. Most of them seem to have mental health issues and make lots of money.

  10. Certainly nobody ever won a vote by suggesting humane treatment for people accused or convicted of committing a crime.

  11. Well there you have it………Who was this person and maybe they should spend a few days working there or better yet ….Ask someone who has suffered at the hands of one of these Criminals.

    Ok ! I guess we let them all go and come live on your street OK!

    Lock them and treat them like the people they Killed or attacked .
    Maybe a good Flogging twice a year so they have something to look forward to.
    Now that is what prison should be………Not a country club vacation with Education and knitting classes……..
    Like that has been working…………How many crimes are committed by reoffenders…….OH Missed that info didn't we.
    No fear is what the problem is…..Just a minor pitstop in a life of crime.

    • Of course, if someone committed a heinous or violent crime, they should receive stiff penalties, eg. a life sentence. No one is suggesting that those who committed a murder should be set free or get a short sentence. But if you have worked with those who are both victims of crime and criminals and/or you actually look at real research (eg. from criminologists as one example) there are other alternatives. A large number have addiction and other issues (including traumas, eg. victims of serious abuse); they will have a better chance to stay out of jails and crime if they are educated and get proper rehab. and HOUSING…It is cheaper than locking those with such issues up in medium/maximum prisons. The research over many decades around the world (and I have reviewed some) clearly states that tough on crime (eg. long term incarceration for a number of offenses ) does not work. Restorative justice (even with some violent offenses) is useful and effective in some cases. Jails are not country clubs. Talk to some correctional officers if you ever meet any. Or google some research/info online. (P.S. and I have been a victim of crime.)

      • Well written post……

    • You say that we need to put fear in place to defer criminals, but if you look at states with the death penalty in The United States of America, they show different results.

  12. Not all crimes have an actual victim. Canada has several victimless crimes. One of the most egregious is mandatory jail time for people who merely possess a text or story about child sex. There's also no real child in a cartoon, but that's illegal to own too. You can't justify thought crimes.

    • If a person is in possession of a story about child sex…..unless he/she is a Medical Person, Certified Researcher, etc,etc , then my Question to that person is…Why do you have this material..?

      • I don't think the origional poster was expressing personal feelings about child sex because obviously we all feel strongly against such things, he was merely pointing out an example of a victimless crime in Canada. A story about child sex, is repulsive to normal people, but I agree it is indeed vitimless.

  13. If you do the crime you should do the time and pay to stay.

    • Do you think it's a hotel or something, and BTW most guys have paid buy working and paying taxes, there not all murderers, some are imigration problems, some are not paying there child suport, some have outragous traffic tickets, you have know idea what your talking about, maybe have a visit yourself and stay a bit (2 weeks otta make you see sence) if you ever do I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT IT!! LOL!!

  14. #1 they have paid in more ways then one, they paid there taxes before going there, they have lost jobs because of it, the now single mom gets to go in debt because of it and oh ya did I mention he didn't do what "THEY" say he did, stop being such closed mided idiots and think. The Prov. system is just a holding area, people come and go, people plea to crimes they didn't commit because in a fed. system life is easier…… you think that right??? Let the true cons go while others plea because they see know other option for themselves??

    • your so right