July 6, 2021
In June 2021, the Correctional Service of Canada (“CSC”) invited dozens of community organizations to a “consultation” regarding Structured Intervention Units (“SIUs”) – highly restrictive prison units that subject individuals to prolonged, indefinite solitary confinement.
Entering the consultation, CSC had a fixed agenda. Concerns about the narrow scope of the consultation were largely ignored, and well-documented failings of SIUs were not addressed.
A number of the consultation attendees, as well as other community organizations and advocates, have signed an open letter criticizing the “consultation” and calling on the federal government to take immediate action to end the torture in Canada’s federal prisons.
The full text of the letter is below, and the press release is here. Individuals or organizations can sign the letter here.
Commissioner Anne Kelly 340 Laurier Avenue West Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P9 Canada email@example.com
On June 17th and 18th 2021, dozens of community stakeholders were invited by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to participate in a consultation on Structured Intervention Units in federal prisons in Canada.
Entering the consultation, CSC had a fixed agenda. None of the undersigned organizations were consulted regarding the topics to be discussed, and no community stakeholders were given the opportunity to add items for discussion. Concerns about the narrow scope of the consultation were largely ignored, and well-documented failings of SIUs were not addressed. When stakeholders attempted to raise concerns, they were redirected by Commissioner Anne Kelly back to CSC’s pre-determined agenda.
Absent from this consultation, then, were fundamental and urgent matters requiring immediate action by CSC and the Federal Government, including:
Without addressing these issues, these stakeholder engagements cannot be seen as anything more than a “check-box” – a mechanism to enable CSC to state publicly that they had consulted with stakeholders.
We urge the government (CSC) to turn its attention and efforts to open discussion of these matters and to resolving them without delay.
The John Howard Society of Canada* The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies* Canadian Civil Liberties Association* Prisoners’ Legal Services* Vicki Chartrand, Centre for Justice Exchange* Kim Beaudin, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples* Richard Sauve, St. Leonard’s Society* Lana Robinson, Clerk, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)* Volunteers, Millhaven Lifers Liaison Group Kathy Ferreira, Queen’s Prison Law Clinic Rev. Dr. Carol Finlay, Book Clubs for Inmates Mary Campbell, Independent Expert John T. Clinton (retired), Saint Leonard’s Society HamiltonBrianna BourassaHaleigh Prevost, AdvocateKerri ThomsonKatie Stevens, Registered Social WorkerDarlene MacEachern, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape BretonPhilip O’Donnell, SSWChristopher DymentMarlene MacDonald, Concerned CitizenJessica Bristowe, Manager, Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater VancouverAreejDenise Durette, Women’s Support Worker, Elizabeth Fry Society N.B.Quinn Saretsky, Executive Director, The Elizabeth Fry Society of ManitobaKathryn Londry, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry KingstonSydney TruaxLiz MacBeth, Private Sponsorship of Refugees CoordinatorKate Engel, Lawyer and CAEFS Regional AdvocateKara Menard, Educator, Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern OntarioDiane Serre, Manager of Community Programs and Services, The Elizabeth Fry Society of OttawaSarah Callaghan, Addictions Counsellor, Elizabeth FryRebeccah, Residential Staff, Elizabeth Fry SocietyZoe West, Program Coordinator, Elizabeth Fry Society of OttawaKathleenSuzy Racine, Residential Support Worker, The Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa * Indicates that the individual or organizations attended the June 17/18 consultation
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