Submission to the Sub-Committee on the Penitentiary Systems In Canada HearingsPublisher: Prisoner's Rights Group (PRG), Canada
Year Published: 1977
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX447
A list of recommendations on how to fix certain issues in the prison system.
Abstract: Besides the brief itself, the Hansard for the day also reports the discussion with Mrs. Culhane at the hearing.
W e begins by quoting "Crime in America" by the former U.S. Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, to the effect that prisons make prisoners a threat to society. Dealing meaningfully with crime means coming to terms with racism, poverty, ignorance and violence, unemployment, mulnutrition, sickness, addiction, and anxiety.
Four recommendations follow:
1) Encouragement of private citizens' visiting committees in order to provide maximum access to the entire
prison system by responsible, concerned people.
2) The total elimination of solitary confinement as a violation of elemental concepts of decency in our society.
3) A moratorium on all new prison construciton. Since less than 20 per cent of offenses are acts of violence
against persons, releasing the other 80 per cent for supervised work, training and therapy would
eliminate the need for prison construction.
4) Operative alternatives need to replace the existing prison system. "We must stop placing the blame
for the immense problem of our society on a criminal class.
The community must go back into the prison and prisoners must be accepted and welcomed back into society, integrated, not alienated. Prisoners must be given full civil rights, fair speedy trials, right to vote, furlough programs expanded, family ties maintained, opportunity to earn decent wages....they should be able to become doctors, nurses, architects, lawyers, licenced technicians, recreation directors, etc."