This is How Abuses Occur: Part 1/3

I had planned to continue this blog by backtracking and explaining some of the static and structural conditions and policies of GVI, to help readers form a clear picture of the realities of imprisonment. I want to write objectively about this prison, because I don’t want this blog to just appear as some angry rant against the system, but instead to form a clear and knowledgeable narrative for people to form their own opinions from.

I still intend to; shortly I will post several pieces about everything ranging from how our units look, to what we eat, to what opportunities and restrictions we do and do not have.

However, in the meantime, another drastic change to the prison has just been announced to us, and I think it’s important to talk about it.

So many needless and abusive changes are occurring right now, all part of the radical transformation that the canadian prison system is presently undergoing. One came this morning in the form of a printed memo being left on our pods table, as they always are.

There are two major institutional changes in the memo, which I am going to address in the two subsequent posts. They are so major they require legislative amendments. They concern our visits, and in prison searches. Yet even the manner in which the changes were announced to us needs discussing.

The memo, titled, Consultation on Regulatory Amendments Affecting Searching and Visiting is comprised of 5 pages:

  1. A cover letter from GVI deputy warden Rob Campney
  2. A two page copy of an internal memo to EXCOM members’ by the assistant commissioner, policy dated June 20th
  3. A question and answer sheet about new search policy
  4. A question and answer sheet about visiting policy

Within the 2 page internal memo, which details the legislative proposed amendments that CSC needs to pass in order to make institutional policy changes, it interestingly states that as these are legislative changes, “ the process requires that consultations be conducted with all stake holders affected…” and that “CSC must consult with staff, visitors, inmates, and unions in order to report on any concerns or issues that these groups may have as a result of these changes.”

It continues, as written by Elizabeth Van Allen, that August 31st, 2012 is the deadline by which all comments must be submitted.

However, Rob Campney writes in his cover letter to us, that all of our comments must be submitted by July 26th, two days from today. Strangely, we only received the memo this morning (the 24th), and though the staff who we have asked have not heard of or read it, Campney listed the memo as having been written on the 19th, which would not have given us much time, but it would be more reasonable than two days.

There are no visits between now and then, the earliest is on the evening of the 26th, and this is only a max visit. How can we, and our visitors be reasonably expected to offer our insight to be heard in 2 days? Most of us do not have much money to call home, and the institution knows this… so reasonably, we ought have had time to send mail home about it, at least.

But we weren’t given that time and, in fact, today as I read the fine print and began to fret I was met with a ‘why are you doing anything?’ response, as usual.

But I can see clearly why we were not given adequate response time, and it is because they don’t want our involvement. They were legally obliged to notify us, so they send a memo with a 2 day deadline, and hope for the fewest and most ill-prepared responses possible. Nothing is done here in an upfront 6r transparent manner. This system thrives by keeping us uninformed and divided.

I invite you to read the two other posts to this issue, in which I will explain each of the proposed changes, and how they will actually affect us.

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