Federal prisons overflow; Vic Toews clamps down on prison porn - Macleans.ca

Federal prisons overflow; Vic Toews clamps down on prison porn

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The Conservative government’s so-called “tough on crime” agenda is creating a predictable crunch in federal prisons. According to documents obtained by the Globe and Mail, prisoners have been sleeping in trailers, interview rooms and gymnasiums in recent years, even as the number of inmates sleeping two-to-a-one-person-cell continues to climb.

Federal incarceration rates have been climbing of late after remaining generally static or falling for decades. From the Globe:

Part of the latest increase can be attributed to the government’s tough-on-crime agenda. At the same time, the government will lose 1,000 beds after it closes aging penal facilities such as Kingston Penitentiary and Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que., but says it will more than make up the difference with new units.

The Office of the Correctional Investigator has fielded increasing complaints from both inmates and corrections staff about double-bunking. Two areas of concern are the Edmonton Institute for Women, where women have been housed in interview rooms and family visiting areas, and Kitchener, Ont.’s Grand Valley Institution, which set up a trailer for up to 16 women inmates. Across Canada, the percentage of inmates double-bunking rose from 9.4 in August, 2009 to 17.4 in April, 2012 – nearly three times the historic low of 6.1 per cent in 2004.

Meanwhile, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced plans Wednesday to make more inmates pay for their own room and board while incarcerated. One thing he doesn’t want them to pay for, however, is porn.

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