What's going on in Canada's prisons? - Macleans.ca

What’s going on in Canada’s prisons?


Guards are using force more often and violence is increasing as prisons become more crowded and the number of prisoners with mental health problems isn’t being tracked.

The data has not been publicly reported by correctional authorities, but in an exclusive interview with the Star last week, Canada’s chief prison investigator Howard Sapers first flagged a trend that shows no sign of waning. It includes more inmate-to-inmate violence, inmates assaulting guards, as well as guards who are violent toward inmates, across all federal facilities housing male and female offenders in Canada.

Over the past three years ending March 31, 2012, the total number of assaults Correctional Services Canada reported behind bars rose from 1,415 in 2009/10, to 1,566 in 2010/11, to 1,669 in 2011/12. That’s an increase of 15 per cent in just three years.

Corrections Officers are worried that new legislation will mean further overcrowding. Meanwhile, the Harper government is considering privatizing some services within prisons.


What’s going on in Canada’s prisons?

  1. Privatizing prisons has been the plan since day one in Harp’s party….the only problem was figuring out how to convince Canadians to go that route.

    Overcrowding….a riot or two…. and the constant preaching of austerity should do it.

  2. I anticipated Harper would privatize Corrections Canada because Cons have been approving minimum jail sentences lately and increasing crowding. In the US, for-profit Corrections Corporation of America required minimum sentencing to ensure profitability, which is part of their contract. Many US states have already learned how expensive this system is and have been releasing prisoners. Corrections Corporation of America has to find work elsewhere, so Harper is bringing them to Canada!

  3. Is this another no bid contract?

  4. Increasing numbers in prison lead to increasing violence affecting both staff and prisoners. The John Howard Society of Canada and others will be holding a Symposium on Prison Crowding on August 25, 2012 in Ottawa to examine current conditions and their implications for human rights. This is a serious problem and I hope you will continue to cover prison conditions in Canada.