Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prison News this Week August 21-28 - Hunger Strike Needs Support - Overcrowding Women

Please check back through the week for links to analysis on issues of overcrowding and the use of hunger strikes as a means of prisoner protest.

Here's one the mainstream press is ignoring.  Its important that prisoners know the public has heard their protest for help and that we show support however we can.  If anyone knows anyone imprisoned here or have other suggestions about how to connect with prisoners at Prince Albert facility please share them here!

Prince Albert Prisoner Hunger Strike

And more overcrowding issues sure to lead to increased violence and abuse of prisoners.

New women's jail already overcrowded

CBC News has learned the women's prison in Headingley, which opened 7 months ago, is already over capacity.
There are 212 inmates at the Women's Correctional Centre, but capacity is 168.
Critics say the facility has been overcrowded since it opened in January and the reason is the backlog in the court system.
142 of the prisoners are on remand awaiting trial.
Tracy Booth, who delivers anger management counselling for the Elizabeth Fry Society to inmates at the centre, blamed the overcrowding on the number of inmates on remand.
Booth said most of the women shouldn't be there and the space should be used for more violent criminals.
"They are in limbo," she said.
The province said it was addressing the number of inmates on remand by adding Saturdays to the court schedule and planned for it in the budget.
But that was over a year ago and there have been no changes.
Progressive Conservative justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said there's more to it than just the numbers.
"Why are people just going out of the prison system and causing another crime (often) within two to eight months," he said.
"There's nothing that's happening within our corrections system that corrects behaviour," he added.
The Headingley facility is supposed to offer more programs than were available in the former Portage Correctional Centre.
But Darren Sawchuk president of Criminal Defence Lawyers Association (Manitoba) doubts the value of more programming, given the overcrowding.
"How are they going to be able to cure the problem now with the capacity problems they are having?" he said.
Sawchuk also said security is a concern.
"When you start to double-bunk then you have a more difficult time managing. There's safety not only for the inmates but the staff," he added.
The province said double-bunking is not unique to Manitoba and happens across the country.

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