There is something that always doesn’t sit right with me when I read about detention centers in the media or the statistics behind the populations within those detention centers.
The most recent story I read today was featured in the LFpress and it was entitled “EMDC: Behind the jailhouse beefs”. You can also see the amount of articles written on this detention by doing a simple google search. The list of the top searches appear HERE.
Then on my friend’s Facebook status update I also read this:
First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples are 3.8% of the Canadian population, while they comprise nearly 25% of the incarcerated population.
Even more disturbingly, the number of Native people in federal institutions increased by 21.7 percent at the same time prison populations declined by 12.5 percent (from 1996 to 2004). During the same time period the number of incarcerated Native women increased a 74.2 percent!!! Aboriginal young people are also criminalized and jailed at earlier ages and for longer periods of time than non-Aboriginal youth. Grwar.
If you look at FN males pop and FN (first nations) female population, the rates of First Nations women is gross. At one point, all women in solitary confinement in Canada were only FN women.
At one point ***50%*** of the women in Kingston Penn, were Aboriginal women. <–I am almost certain that this is uniform for all federal penitentiaries across Canada.
So, the thing that bothers me in all these stories about crowded prisons and the state of prisons in Canada is, you never hear the voices or the stories told by females. In almost all media, you hear the voice of males, whether it is their lawyer, the inmate, or the former inmate.
It is quite evident that the non-inmate female voice is being silenced even after mentioned in the first article listed in this post that Trish Goden, president of Local 108 of the Ontario Public Services Employee Union (OPSEU) was silenced with a letter of reprimand.
Females also do reside at this detention centre but obviously in a different area. Females also are affected by the closing of Kingston Penn. It must be remembered that in 1994 at the Prison for Women in Kingston, an incident had occurred between an emergency response team made up of entirely males and 8 female inmates. The team was ordered to take the female inmates out of their cells in the segregation unit and strip search them. An inquiry was held to investigate this incident and the commission reported in 1996 that the “CSC was not responding to outside criticism and was not prepared to give an honest and fair account of its actions. Instead it was choosing to deny any errors in judgment and resist any criticism. Also, it was failing to properly investigate allegations of misconduct.” The commission also reported that the “CSC was part of a prison culture that did not value individual rights” and that the “CSC was failing to promote a ‘culture of rights.'” (Colin Goff, Criminal Justice in Canada, 5th edition).
So where are the rights and voices of the females and/or their families that are affected?
Here is an interesting blog on the treatment of female offenders/prisoners/victims in prison systems around the world: Prison State Canada.