A Contribution to the Struggle Against Prison and its World

News 2010

BC: Prison Guards To Stay Unarmed

December 30th 2010

The provincial government says B.C.’s prison guards won’t get arms. Solictor-General Rich Coleman says there’s too much chance of prisoners stealing those weapons and using them against the guards. Coleman says another reason they want to keep things status quo is that many of these prisoners are remand prisoners and prisoners serving less than two years. He says that means many of these prisons are relatively low-risk. The prison guards had been demanding batons and pepper spray to deal with problems within the prisons.

AB: Edmonton prisons to be expanded

December 23rd 2010

The Edmonton maximum security prison and the Edmonton women’s prison are going to be expanded, federal documents show.

Public Works and Government Services Canada said in a procurement posting that it is “seeking drawings and specifications for a maximum security housing unit to be located at the prison,” which is officially called the Edmonton Institution but is known locally as the Max.

As well, Public Works is calling for work to “adapt existing drawings and specifications for a new 40-bed living unit to be located at the Edmonton Institution for Women.”

The Institution for Women is a multi-level prison that “opened in 1995 and can accommodate up to 123 inmates,” the Correctional Service Canada said on its website.

The federal government is expected to officially announce details about the Edmonton projects in mid-January.

In October, the federal government said it will spend $155.5 million to expand prisons in Ontario and Quebec.

Of that, $95 million will go toward building new “living units” at the Bath, Collins Bay and Millhaven institutions. The remaining $60 million will be spent on new beds at three minimum security institutions in Laval, Que., and the Federal Training Centre Montée St-François Institution in Laval, as well as the federal prison in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Que.

At the time of the announcement, the Conservatives said the expansions will improve the protection, safety and security of Canadians.

“Our government is proud to be on the right side of this issue — the side of law-abiding citizens, the side of victims who want justice, and the side that understands the cost of a safe and secure society is an investment worth making,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said.

Read more:

SK: First Nations pushing plan to finance, build and own new jail

December 15th 2010

Saskatchewan First Nations are working quietly with their provincial government on an idea that would see a First Nations consortium building and owning a $90-million remand prison in Saskatoon for people awaiting trial, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has learned.

The new First Nations-owned facility would be built adjacent to the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, according to sources with knowledge of the proposal. They say it would also include a detoxification or “dry out” unit with medical supervision, and possibly a women’s unit.

In an interview earlier this week, provincial Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert acknowledged the idea was raised in a recent provincial cabinet meeting. The concept, still in its infancy, appears unprecedented in Canada. However, the government is committed to increasing First Nations and Metis involvement in the corrections system and would “welcome” further discussion, he said.

Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Guy Lonechild said the situation for First Nations people in the correctional system, particularly those on remand in Saskatoon, “has been an ongoing concern.” He said the province’s chiefs, as well as those in Manitoba “are looking at being more innovative.”

“We are going to make this a priority. What we are doing has got to change,” Lonechild said.

Lonechild said he and other First Nations leaders intend to discuss these issues with Premier Brad Wall, Huyghebaert and their colleagues in a meeting early in the new year. Lonechild said he preferred not to discuss specific details of the remand centre proposal at this point.

Right now, hundreds of convicted criminals are housed with men on remand who are awaiting their day in court. Hardened gang members and career criminals are under the same roof as those accused of relatively minor crimes.

Officials repeatedly have called it “the perfect gang recruitment scenario.”

Last year, the provincial government said a new Saskatoon remand centre is a top priority, but it couldn’t afford the $90-million price tag.

According to the sources, First Nations would secure financing to construct and own the new building. Funding could come from bank loans, other levels of government, or the bands’ “own source revenue” from casinos and other First Nations businesses.

The most likely scenario would see the provincial government operate the facility, paying an annual per-bed amount back to the First Nations consortium, said the sources. Labour agreements, programming and other issues have not been discussed to this point, they said. It would be built close enough to the correctional centre to achieve efficiencies in meal preparation and other areas, but separate enough to avoid contact between these very different types of prisoners.

First Nations already partner with governments on a number of small “healing lodges” for inmates across the province, but this proposal would be unique in scale and ambition.

In a Corrections Ministry report issued last year, the first promise listed was to “build a new remand centre in Saskatoon.” The report, entitled The Road Ahead: Towards a Safer Correctional System, notes the province’s jails have only 833 cells for housing inmates.

“The average number of inmates in 2008 was 1,365 peaking at 1,411. To January 31 of 2009, the average number of inmates had increased to 1,498.”

Most of this increase is in the remand area, where populations have more than doubled in the past 10 years.

The prison overcrowding affects the security of staff, inmates and the public, states the report. In the current situation, staff are reluctant to engage and communicate directly with inmates, a practice known as “dynamic security.” It notes dozens of staff failed to detect a 2008 escape of six dangerous Regina inmates.

Montreal, QC: Bell Canada Vehicles Vandalized

December 14th 2010

Reposted from

In December 2005, Mohamed Anas Bennis was shot by the Montreal police outside a Bell building on his way home from morning prayers at a mosque. Cameras on the Bell building captured the entire scene, but Bell refuses to make the footage available to the public inquiry at the behest of the SPVM.

In memory of Anas Bennis, approximately twelve Bell vehicles were covered in paint stripper and had their tires slashed. No more police killings, no more police.

NS: Truro women’s prison expanding

December 10th 2010

A women’s prison in Truro is expanding by 18 beds.

The federal funding for the $2.5 million expansion is part of a Tory commitment to get tougher on crime, while also ensuring that “women offenders have access to appropriate facilities and programs while paying their debt to society,” Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong said this morning at the Nova Institution for Women.

Four of the new spaces will be for mental health treatment in the structured living environment, warden Adele MacInnis-Meagher said.

The extra beds will allow the facility to accommodate the increases in the female prison population.

There is room for 82 offenders right now, with 64 offenders currently incarcerated.

QC: Solidarity with Roger Clement

December 8th 2010

Three thousand flyers were distributed in the Montreal metro system during rush hour on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 in solidarity with Roger Clement, and against all prisons and the world that needs and maintains them. On Tuesday, Roger was sentenced to 4 years in prison for arson and vandalism of a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa, Ontario after negotiating a plea deal earlier in November. The plea deal ensures that Roger will not have to inform on his two co-accused, whose charges relating to the firebombing were dropped and stayed. The text from the flyer was posted here.

BC government seeks new jail in the Okanagan

December 7th 2010

The B.C. government is promising that it will build a jail in the Okanagan within the next five years, but it has not yet decided which municipality will get the jobs it will bring.

Solicitor General Rich Coleman says the province plans to open a new 360-cell facility somewhere in the region by 2015 to relieve crowding at other provincial jails.

Years ago, plans were drawn up and land purchased for a provincial jail in Winfield, located just outside Kelowna, but people who lived nearby balked at the idea and it was scrapped.

But this time round there could be several municipalities hoping the jail will be built in their towns, according to Lumby mayor, Kevin Acton, who says the jail would be a boom for his village, where jobs are hard to come by.

“It would be huge for our village and it would be huge for the areas around us. We’re a small logging town that has no more mills left. We’re down to one small operation. I know they pay pretty decent wages and provide a lot of jobs for residents,” said Acton.

The province plans to consult with Lumby and 10 other municipalities, from Armstrong to Penticton, before there is a decision. Acton says he expects there will be a lot of competition.

“I must admit there’s not one town or city on there that probably wouldn’t benefit from it. However I think probably Lumby has probably been hit one of the hardest out of all these areas,” he said.

More jails in the works

The union that represents B.C. prison guards is happy the province has finally agreed to build a jail in the Okanagan.

Dean Purdy of the BCGEU says they’ve been lobbying for years to have one built, but now worry about the timeline.

“We’re pleased with the announcement, although it’s still four to five years away before anything can be finalized, so that is a concern for us,” he said.

The announcement follows a federal promise to expand several federal prisons in the Lower Mainland last week. And last year the province announced plans to build a new 180-cell remand centre next to Surrey City Hall for the Lower Mainland.

But Purdy says another provincial jail is still needed in the Lower Mainland to ease overcrowding there.

Provincial jails are used to hold people sentenced to less than two years in jail, while federal prisons are used for those with sentences of two years or more.

Ontario: Man Sentenced in Bank Firebombing

December 7th 2010

(AP: Roger refused to snitch and name his accomplices, while taking responsibility for the attack. Roger, thank you for showing your commitment to our struggles. Stay strong!)

The masked man in black who firebombed an Ottawa bank, issued a manifesto urging attacks at the G20 summit and vandalized another bank seems an unlikely violent anarchist: a soft-spoken, generous, 58-year-old retired civil servant whose most valued asset is a library of 1,600 books.

It will be years, though, before Roger Clements will again be sorting his book collection; a judge in Ottawa Tuesday sentenced the former Industry Canada bureaucrat to nearly four years in prison for attacks on the Royal Bank that caused $1.6-million in damage.

The apparent disconnect between a lifetime of peaceful social activism and honest work was grabbled with in court.

Clements admitted his role as the man wearing a balaclava, seen on video pouring gasoline across the floor in front of the automated teller machines of an Ottawa bank in May. An accomplice then threw a Molotov cocktail, starting an explosive fireball.

Clement was also identified as the author of a manifesto that was published online, along with a video of the fiery attack, professing it was on behalf of aboriginal peoples, workers and the poor. The Royal Bank was the target, the manifesto said, because it was a major sponsor of the Vancouver Olympics Games and investor in the Alberta oilsands.

The manifesto also noted the G8/G20 summit was being held in Toronto the following month, adding: “We will be there.”

The promise of a masked, black-clad violent protester appearing at the summit draws immediate links to the violent portions of the subsequent summit protests that featured rampaging gangs of loud, colourful, young people rallying under the anarchist’s black flags.

But that is not Clements, said his lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, who described him as a “fundamentally good man.”

Thin, with greying hair and beard, his head down in court, he appeared a world apart from the darting, masked man in black, splashing gasoline.

“Everyone described him as someone who is generous, who gives up his time and money to the homeless, to the less fortunate, to the poor, to strangers. He has taken in people who were strangers but needed a place to stay,” said Mr. Greenspon in an interview.

Clement is involved in Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association and has supported a family in Cuba for many years. He was politically active in the late 1970s with the NDP.

That moved dramatically, however, into what assistant Crown attorney Mark Holmes described as “urban intimidation” and “terrorist acts.” Compounding that, Clement’s manifesto and video release attempted to “radicalize” others to do the same.

“He is a lifelong activist committed to social justice on the one hand and then you have the video of him wearing a mask and spreading gasoline to be lit by a Molotov cocktail,” said Mr. Greenspon.

“It is two contrasting images. Why? I’m not a psychologist,” said Mr. Lawrence, “but it seems to me this fundamentally good man who just snapped” under the stress of family circumstance.

Clement’s father had significant health problems and committed suicide before the family’s health insurance ran out. He spent years caring for his mother who suffered a brain haemorrhage and then took early retirement from his government job after 19 years to be a companion to his sister who had breast cancer. When her cancer recurred, she too killed herself.

And the day before he engaged in the firebombing he drove his schizophrenic brother to be committed into a mental institution, where he remains. He never married and has no children.

At Clement’s sentencing yesterday, the former bureaucrat who pleaded guilty to arson and mischief again returned to shuffling paper, holding a crumpled sheet as he quietly told court: “I regret the inconvenience to so many people my actions caused.”

Judge Celynne Dorval said his statement did not amount to an apology or an expression of remorse. She also did not accept the stress of his family troubles as an adequate reason for his sudden departure.

“A free society cannot survive when zealots — however passionate — break the law and impose their will on others,” said Justice Dorval.

Mr. Greenspon said Clement’s time in jail prior to his sentencing has been hard for him because he only had access to a collection of comic books and science fiction novels, the television blared constantly and he was surrounded by aggressive young men.

At least in a federal prison, he said, Clement will have access to more substantial reading material.

The identity of Clement’s accomplice remains unknown.

Canadian cash keeps Afghan prison guards on the job

December 8th 2010

KANDAHAR city, Afghanistan — It may house hundreds of captured insurgents, as well as some of Afghanistan’s most hardened common criminals, but the real threat for guards at notorious Sarpoza Prison lies outside its high stone walls, razor wire and armed guard towers.

Baqi Jan was recently shot by a masked gunman as he walked out the door of his home. Whether it was by the way he collapsed or just the nervousness of his would-be killer, Jan survived.

“He ran away. He thought I was dead,” said Jan who returned to work as soon as the bullet hole in his thigh sufficiently healed.

The attack came after the Taliban had posted several night letters on his door, warning him to either quit his job or die.

“I don’t have any other option — what else should I do?” said Jan, who has six children but 12 family members who depend on him for support.

A Sarpoza prison guard’s life away from the job is exceedingly dangerous. One of the warden’s lieutenants was killed in November, two guards have been targeted and killed in recent months, and night letters and threats are common.

It’s why the warden is praising a Canadian initiative giving his staff better pay in recognition of the risks. The threats and the fear were having a debilitating effect on Sarpoza’s staffing levels at a time when Correctional Services Canada mentors are preparing to exit Kandahar in the new year.

“You feel for them … but we were training people and they’d quit,” said Ian Chinnery at the Camp Nathan Smith reconstruction team in Kandahar City.

After a roadside bomb attack last spring on a vehicle filled with guards returning from a training session with Canadian mentors left one dead and the 11 others injured, Sarpoza saw close to 80 per cent of its guards resign in fear.

That’s when the Canadians began bringing boxes of Afghan cash into Sarpoza to top up the guards’ wages. It’s not a lot — about $50 a month per guard which would pay for enough flour for a household’s bread for the month — but it stemmed the flood of staff leaving.

“The retention pay has had a huge impact … it’s great for morale,” said Sarpoza’s warden, Brig.-Gen. Ghulam Dastager Mayar.

The extra pay — Chinnery says the cost is “peanuts” compared to the value of retaining newly trained professionals — has been recognized by the Kabul government as a necessity. Chinnery is hopeful his latest trip to Sarpoza with the “jingle box” Tuesday was his last since Afghanistan’s Central Prison Directorate has promised to start paying higher salaries.

SK: Prison Phone Call Surveillance

December 7th 2010

Amendments to The Correctional Services Act have been passed in the Legislature that will allow the Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing to listen to suspicious calls recorded on its inmate telephone system.

According to Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Yogi Huyghebaert up to now inmates could operate drug smuggling operations, direct assaults in the facilities or in the community and harass victims or witnesses over the phone.

Inmates in all of Saskatchewan’s four secure provincial correctional centres have had their phone calls recorded since June 2010, when the system was installed.

With passage of the Bill, Corrections officials now have the legislated ability to listen to recorded conversations.

The authority to listen to these calls will be based on reasonable grounds, and the ministry is working with the Privacy Commissioner to best balance security and individual rights.

Privileged conversations, such as with an inmate’s lawyer, will not be recorded.

Ottawa, ON: Somali inmates say guards beat them

November 27th 2010

More than a dozen Somali inmates labelled as gang members were segregated and allegedly beaten last month by members of the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre’s tactical unit, sparking an internal review.

Mustafa Malamud, who was behind bars on an assault charge, says he was one of 13 inmates forced out of their cells, kicked, stomped and beaten on Oct. 27.

“They went from cell to cell basically beating up everybody and constantly asking you whose house this is,” Malamud said in a phone interview after his release. “They wanted you to scream out, ‘It’s your house, it’s your house.'”

The alleged beating is said to have taken place after the inmates were moved to an area of the jail that Malamud says is no longer used and doesn’t have video cameras.

Tony Brown, a Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokes-man, said that area is still in operation and does have security cameras.

Brown said the inmates were “disruptive,” but he wouldn’t go into details.

Brown said when staff and a crisis negotiator weren’t able to calm the situation, the jail’s Institution Crisis Intervention Team — a team of more heavily armed guards trained to deal with violent situations — was deployed to move the inmates.

Brown said no one was injured and the team acted in accordance with ministry guidelines. He said the jail received a complaint about the incident from a member of the public.

A superintendent reviewed the incident and found that the “matter was handled appropriately,” Brown said.

Malamud said jail staff told the inmates — about 90 per cent of them of Somali descent — that they had been segregated because of their alleged gang ties. The ministry would not confirm the reason for the move or where the inmates were relocated to.

“A lot of people think this was racial profiling,” Malamud said. “I didn’t want to throw around the race card, but I didn’t see one Caucasian male in there.”

Once the inmates were moved, they were not fed lunch and couldn’t shower or go to the yard, Malamud said.

Protesting their treatment, some inmates began to bang on the bars of their cells.

That’s when, Malamud said, the jail’s tactical unit marched in.

Malamud said he was forced to the ground by an officer who came to his cell.

He was hit in the back of the head and then had his head banged against the wall several times, he said. Then, Malamud said, a jail guard jumped on his back “like it was a trampoline.”

Once the alleged beating was over, Malamud was taken to a segregation unit.

Ahmed Saqi, 27, who has been in jail for five months for drug trafficking, said he was taken to the same area of the jail. Saqi said he didn’t resist the guard and put his hands up.

He was still beaten, he said.

After Saqi was strip-searched and handcuffed, a jail guard stepped on his head and his back, he said. Then, Saqi said he was beat with a stick before he was taken to a segregation unit.

“Everybody was crying for their life. We were terrified,” Saqi said in a phone interview from the Innes Road jail. “I can’t sleep because I think these guys can come back at any time.”

Abshir Bogor, a 26 year-old inmate, said the guards told him nothing would happen if he co-operated.

Bogor, who was doing time for drug possession, said he was punched several times in the back of the head before a guard jumped on his back.

“They dragged me out of my cell like a dog and beat me down,” said Bogor, speaking in a phone interview from the Innes Road jail. “I was really shocked what they did to us. We were treated like we had no rights.”

He, too, was handcuffed and taken to segregation.

Some of the inmates tried to call an anti-racism number to report the violence and the apparent targetting of Somali inmates. One got through before the jail’s phone line was disconnected, Malamud said.

Malamud also spoke to a jail supervisor about the alleged beating, but was brushed off, he said. “This was supposed to be kept on a hush-hush notice — just forget about it and let it be. This was a little bit too much and nobody wanted to forget about it.”

Garfield Dunlop, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives’ community safety and corrections critic, criticized the department for being a “secret ministry” and accused them of ignoring the problems in Ontario’s jails.

“It could have easily happened, but will the government do anything about it? Absolutely not,” Dunlop said. “They couldn’t care less as far as I’m concerned.”

Dunlop said the culture of jails in Ontario has to change. Inmates aren’t given access to adequate rehabilitation and guards are viewed by the ministry as the “loser cousins” of police, he said.

“The employees aren’t happy because they get no recognition from the government,” Dunlop said.

The alleged beatings took place in a jail that is often the subject of complaints to Ontario’s Ombudsman.

Linda Williamson, an Ontario Ombudsman spokeswoman, said the Ottawa-

Carleton Detention Centre placed sixth on a list of the province’s 20 most-complained-about organizations.

The ombudsman’s office received 234 complaints about the jail between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010. Only two other jails had more complaints during that time, Williamson said.

The jail has a long history of problems, including overcrowding. Some judges, citing the deplorable conditions inside the detention centre, began handing out three-for-one credit for time served.

Feds to spend millions expanding Fraser Valley prisons

November 29th 2010

Prisons will be a growth industry in the Fraser Valley under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government’s new hard-line sentencing provisions.

That was made clear when the Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews was in Abbotsford Monday to announce a $77.5 million expansion project for five prisons in the valley.

“The expansion of [prison] institutions in the Fraser Valley not only reaffirms our government’s commitment to British Columiba, but helps ensure that criminals serve sentences that better reflect the severity of their crimes,” said Toews.

The money will be used to build three new 96-bed facilities at Kent and Matsqui Institutions and the Pacific Institution/Regional Training Centre in Abbotsford. The cash will also be used to add a 50-bed living unit at Ferndale Institutiion in Mission and 24 new prison spaces for women at Fraser Valley Institution in Abbotsford.

The new facilities are expected to be completed in 2013 and 2014.

The Harper government is expected to spend $2.1 billion by 2014 to accommodate almost 4,500 new inmates expected in federal prisons under his government’s tough on crime agenda.

Critics question so much money being spent on prisons when statistics say crime is actually going down, but Toews thinks spending billions on prisons is “the cost of a safe and secure society [and] is an investment worth making.”

SFU criminology professor Neil Boyd questions the Conservative government’s strategy.

“The sadder reality about the prison construction is that there’s no sound evidence to suggest that we’re going to be safer as a result of this,” said Boyd. “You can look around the world and in fact what you find is that the societies that have more confidence in their justice system have lower rates of imprisonment not higher. And so what [Toews) is doing is fundamentally a move in the wrong direction in my view.

“It’s a huge mistake, it’s costly and it’s counter productive. There is no available and empirical evidence which would suggest that we will be safer as a result of spending that money.”

Feds adding beds to two New Brunswick prisons

November 19th 2010

RENOUS, N.B. – The federal government has announced a $42.5-million expansion to increase the capacity of two prisons in New Brunswick.

A new 96-bed living unit will be built at the maximum-security Atlantic Institution in Renous by 2013-2014.

As well, a new 50-bed unit is going up at the minimum-security Westmorland Institution in Dorchester by 2012-13.

The Correctional Service of Canada says it expects to add more than 2,700 beds to men’s and women’s prisons across the country in the coming years.

In his recent annual report, federal prison ombudsman Howard Sapers says the country’s prisons are overcrowded and crumbling.

He also says the number of prisoners in federal institutions is expected to rise due to a flurry of legislation that will result in longer sentences.

CSC announce federal prison expansion in Manitoba

November 13th 2010

The Harper government will spend $45 million over the next four years adding more cells and beds to Manitoba’s Stony Mountain prison and the nearby minimum-security Rockwood Institution.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews made the announcement Friday at the prison located 15 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg as part of the Conservatives’ countrywide expansion to the federal corrections system.

All new facilities are to be built within existing prison walls — no new jails are being built.

Toews said while the price tag for prison expansion is high, it’s worth it to keep Canadians safe from dangerous criminals.

Prison guards and the John Howard Society, on the other hand, said the new space will rapidly be filled — if not overfilled — as a result of the new tough-on-crime measures that have been a key part of the Tory platform in recent years.

Overcrowding, they say, will remain at least as bad as ever.

Stony Mountain, a medium-security federal prison, will add 96 beds to its current 456; the Rockwood annex will add 50 to the current 167.

The additional space at Stony will be designed to hold more convicts classified as maximum security, rather than transferring them to maximum-security prisons outside Manitoba.

Construction begins next year.

“The additional prison cells are not required because more people are committing crime, but because of a number of legislative changes,” said John Hutton, executive director of the John Howard Society in Manitoba.

“Going forward you’ll see the population increase very quickly.”

Those changes include the end of the so-called “double-time” credit, two years accredited on a prison sentence for every one year spent in pretrial custody, and the proposed rewriting of how inmates are released.

Read more:

Bank robber Stephen Reid back in custody

November 15th 2010

Bank robber Stephen Reid is back in jail, apparently after breaching his parole conditions. But his wife, poet Susan Musgrave, says she has no idea what happened.

“This is not clear-cut. . . . I don’t know what they have breached him for,” said Musgrave, speaking from Haida Gwaii.

It appears to have something to do with turning up late for a urine test on Nov. 5, but information has been difficult to get, Musgrave said.

Jaswinder Frenette, National Parole Board spokeswoman, said Monday that no information is released on specific cases.

However, the general rule is that parole officers have the right to issue an arrest warrant if they believe a parolee has breached conditions of parole or is about to, Frenette said.

The parole officer then has 30 days to decide whether to refer the case back to the National Parole Board for a review.

Reid was released on day parole in January 2008 after serving almost half of an 18-year prison sentence for his part in a dramatic bank robbery in Victoria.

The charges included attempted murder. One of his parole conditions is that he spends five nights a week at a halfway house. Other conditions include abstaining from drugs and alcohol, staying away from anyone involved in criminal activity or substance abuse, and participating in substance-abuse programs and counselling.

Last year, when Reid’s parole was previously revoked, he spent three months back in jail.

The Musgrave/Reid family splits its time between homes in North Saanich and Haida Gwaii. Reid, 60, underwent open-heart surgery last year and, after a quadruple bypass, two heart valves were replaced, Musgrave said.

In 1999, Reid, who has struggled with heroin and cocaine addiction, walked into the Royal Bank on Cook Street carrying a sawed-off shotgun.

He gathered up $92,924 and escaped in a waiting car.

As the vehicle sped through Beacon Hill Park and James Bay, Reid hung out of the passenger window, shooting at police officers.

Reid first became famous as a member of the notorious Stopwatch Gang, a group that carried out about 100 bank robberies in the 1970s and 1980s. The gang, which netted an estimated $15 million, wore stopwatches to make sure every heist took under two minutes from start to finish.

One of their first scores was in 1974, when they made off from Ottawa airport with $750,000 worth of gold bullion that had been headed for the Canadian mint.

Reid spent much of his life in prison, where he wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Jack Rabbit Parole, and submitted the manuscript to Musgrave.

The couple married in 1986 while he was still in prison.

Nine bank heists lands Maritimer nine years jail

November 8th 2010

A Maritimer who came to Alberta in 2008 to work on the oil rigs, but turned to robbing banks when he lost his job because of the economic downturn, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

“He fell on hard times with respect to employment,” lawyer Mitch Stephensen said on Monday after pleading guilty to nine heists — seven in Calgary and two in Edmonton — on behalf of his client, Dylan Samuel Day, 20.

“Basically, the motivation was to try to survive until work started back up on the rigs. You might recall there was a lull in the economy for awhile and a lot of the rigs shut down temporarily. It’s unfortunate that a young man with no criminal record engaged in this activity.”

Stephensen said his client co-operated with police when arrested and has always been prepared to admit to the robberies and plead guilty.

Provincial court Judge John Bascom agreed with the joint sentencing submission offered by Stephensen and Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson for the stiff penalty.

“Banks are easy targets. This is where the money is,” said Bascom.

Earlier, Ewenson detailed the spree that occurred between Nov. 24 and May 12, including hitting two different Royal Bank branches in Calgary twice each and the same TD Canada Trust in Edmonton twice.

He noted Day never used a disguise and, although he threatened that he had and would use a gun, no such weapon was ever seen. He said the total haul was $13,480, including $5,000 twice plus smaller amounts on others.

The double heists were of the branches at 8220 Centre St. North on Nov. 24 and May 3 and the one at 3919 Richmond Road S.W. on Nov. 27 and April 15.

Other Calgary robberies were of the Royal Bank at 3810 Bow Trail S.W. on May 3, the Scotiabank at 1829 Ranchlands Blvd. N.W. on Dec. 1 and TD Canada Trust at 803 Chaparral Drive S.E. on May 5.

As well, Day robbed the same TD Canada Trust branch on 82nd Ave. in Edmonton on Nov. 26 and May 12.

Day was ordered to provide a DNA sample and was prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm or other weapon for 10 years.

Federal prison expansions underway  

[keep in mind that this information comes prior to the announced prisons in Ontario and Quebec, see below]

September 2nd 2010

OTTAWA — Prison expansion to make room for an expected inmate influx is moving ahead in Canada, with the federal government rolling out plans in recent days to spend $105 million on new cells at three prisons in Western Canada and one in Nova Scotia as part of a major building spree in the next few years.

The announcement of 600 new beds is the first stage of an expansive plan to build 2,700 new spots within three years to accommodate a projected 25 per cent increase in prisoners being jailed as a result of Conservatives’ tough-on-crime legislation, which is expected to put more people in jail and keep them there longer.

“We knew this was going to happen. The writing was on the wall,” said Craig Jones, executive director of the John Howard Society, a prisoner-rights group.

There are currently almost 14,000 federal prisoners serving sentences of two years or more in 57 federal penitentiaries.

Correctional Service of Canada spokeswoman Melissa Hart said the service anticipates a 3,400 increase in prisoners over the next three years as a result of one piece of legislation alone —_the Truth in Sentencing Act.

The new law, which took effect in February, ends two-for-one sentencing credits for time already served in custody.

“There will be an increase in shared cell accommodation and the addition of over 2,700 spaces across our penitentiaries over the next three years to handle this population growth,” she said in an email, confirming numbers released last spring by Don Head, the commissioner of corrections.

Head also said in a June news release that the service is “working on a long-term plan that takes into account the need to replace some penitentiaries that have stood the test of time for many decades and no longer meet the requirements of a modern correctional system.”

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, in a report the same month, estimated the Truth in Sentencing Act would add 4,000 new prisoners to the system over five years.

Other Tory promises that would increase the number of federal prisoners include imposing mandatory incarceration for drug-related crimes, curtailing the use of conditional sentences, and ending automatic statutory release after serving two-thirds of a sentence. Their impact on the prison system has not been released.

The government, which is expected to roll out further plans for prison expansion in the coming months, also will not publicly divulge which prisons will be overhauled.

The Kingston-Whig Standard, however, recently published a list of 35 prisons that are on board for retrofits.

The prison service also plans to double-bunk more offenders to cope with the increase in offenders, a practice that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has said is legal, constitutional and “not a big deal.”

Jones said he fears that double bunking prisoners will explode in the next couple of years because the new cells will not be ready to house new offenders already entering the system.

“What concerns us is that it takes time to build and that the expansion of the population is going to run ahead of the construction,” said Jones. “When you crowd, you amplify the kind of problems that are associated with capacity, and we already have serious problems dealing with mental illness and self-harm, so as we get tighter in those confined conditions, concerns are always paramount.”

Ottawa doctoral candidate Justin Piche, a strong critic of federal prison policy to incarcerate more offenders, said that Canadians deserve answers on which prisons will be expanded, to ensure that the government is not engaging in “penal patronage” by building in Conservative ridings.

Piche noted that two of the four prisons announced for expansion — Springhill in Nova Scotia and Drumheller in Alberta — are 43 years old and he questioned why the government would overhaul the rusting facilities instead of putting its money into newer institutions.

A government-sponsored task force, in a 2007 report on the future of the prison system, recommended the government should shut down old prisons and build new ones.

Hart said that “construction will take place at institutions in locations where we expect the greatest increases in offender population.”

Defence [sic] Minister Peter MacKay announced two weeks ago that the building boom will kick off by adding 192 new spots by 2012 to the medium-security Springhill Institution, which currently houses 400 offenders.

At the other end of the country, Treasury Board President Stockwell Day announced this week that government will break ground on a new $15-million unit on the prison grounds of Mission Institution in British Columbia.

In Alberta, Conservative MP Kevin Sorenson outlined plans to add 100 new beds at Drumheller Institution and another 100 at Bowden Institution, at a total cost of $50 million.

Government spending estimates, released earlier this year, show the prison system’s tab for capital expenditures this fiscal year will increase 43 per cent over last year, to $329.4 million.

Prison death probe set to expand beyond Ashley Smith’s case

November 3rd 2010

A coroner’s inquest into the prison death of Ashley Smith is on the verge of broadening into an intensive probe of how the use of solitary confinement and multiple prison transfers can harm mentally ill inmates.

The expansion became probable Tuesday when Eric Siebenmorgen – counsel to Ontario coroner Bonita Porter – said that probing Ms. Smith’s treatment throughout her incarceration in prison is “certainly fair game.”

Mr. Siebenmorgen told the coroner that she has enormous leeway to consider evidence, provided it will bolster public confidence in the inquest system and help explain why the 19-year-old woman tied a ligature around her neck and died as prison guards looked on passively.

The development was welcome news for Ms. Smith’s family and a coalition of prison advocates who see the inquest as a rare opportunity to shine light on a penitentiary system they view as opaque and devoid of fundamental human rights.

Their concerns were highlighted Tuesday when Julian Falconer, a lawyer for the Smith family, used a previously confidential report to illustrate how correctional authorities subjected Ms. Smith to forced medication.

Prepared by Quebec psychiatrist Paul Beaudry, the report found that Joliette prison officials successfully persuaded a psychiatrist to prescribe anti-psychotic drugs for Ms. Smith in spite of the fact that she was neither delusional nor sufficiently dangerous to warrant being drugged involuntarily.

Dr. Beaudry expressed deep concerns that, while at Joliette, Ms. Smith was intimidated by staff and physically restrained for long periods with little regard for her comfort or personal hygiene. He said that she was treated as if she were a dangerous individual with little or no actual evidence that she was.

His report also stated that, in spite of being found on eight occasions during her year of incarceration to be certifiably ill, Ms. Smith was nonetheless uprooted from one penitentiary to another 17 times without the guidance of an overall treatment plan.

“The fact that it was necessary to have Ms. Smith certified eight times in less than one year of incarceration should have highlighted to the Correctional Services the urgent need to have a comprehensive mental health assessment completed for this young woman,” Dr. Beaudry wrote.

“A concrete, comprehensive treatment plan was never put into place for this young woman despite almost daily contact with institutional psychologists.”

Mr. Falconer told Dr. Porter that the Smith family has requested a full RCMP criminal investigation into the forced drugging incidents at Joliette, but have received no response.

In his report, Dr. Beaudry said videotape of three separate incidents at Joliette in July, 2007, indicates that Ms. Smith was not as agitated as prison officials claimed.

In view of this, he said it was worrisome that psychiatrists prescribed medication based solely on telephone accounts of Ms. Smith’s behaviour from correctional officials.

It was also disturbing that Ms. Smith was given four injections over the course of two and a half hours on one occasion – considerably more than even a severely psychotic patient would be given, Dr. Beaudry said.

In general, Dr. Beaudry said, Ms. Smith was a terribly troubled youth who had been involved in 150 security incidents during her year of incarceration. Most involved acts such as self-strangulation, head-banging and superficial cutting of her arms.

Most of these incidents resulted in staff using physical force, sprays or restraints to overpower her and bring the incidents to an end, he said.

The inquest will focus largely on whether Ms. Smith was genuinely intent on ending her life, or whether abuse and isolation had reduced her to such a state of depression that she fashioned ligatures as a cry for help and a form of stimulation.

“If you or I or anyone else in this room were taken off the street and forced illegally to submit to anti-psychotic drugs, they would be subject to the rule of law,” Mr. Falconer said Tuesday.

“It is shocking that correctional services staff feel they are entitled to act in this way to mentally ill offenders in the system,” he said. “It means that the system is horribly broken.”

Dr. Porter said that she will decide on expanding the inquest by Nov. 15.

USA: GEO Group plans prison for illegal immigrants

September 22nd 2010 [for our american comrades]

A private prison operator has plans to build a 2,200-bed detention center that holds illegal immigrants on 51 acres near two other local prisons.

City Council will decide on Wednesday whether to approve the GEO Group Inc.’s development plan and conditional use permit to construct a new correctional facility on the northeast corner of Raccoon Avenue and Rancho Road.

But the proposed facility also hinges on GEO Group winning a federal contract from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Adelanto City Manager Jim Hart.

Earlier this year the Department of Homeland Security posted a notice saying it would be looking for contractors to construct a possible detention center that can hold up to 2,200 illegal immigrants and others suspected of violating immigration laws. The notice said the center should be located within 120 miles of downtown Los Angeles and privately owned and operated.

However the official request for proposals for the new ICE center has not yet been issued, according to ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice, while the agency undergoes a comprehensive overhaul of its detention system. Currently the bulk of Southern California immigration detainees are held at Mira Loma Detention Center in Lancaster or Los Angeles County and city jails.

“As part of that process, ICE is seeking to move away from its present decentralized, jail-oriented approach to a system wholly designed for and based on ICE’ civil detention authorities,” Kice said in an email.

In the meantime Adelanto staff is recommending that council approve GEO Group’ proposed project, which Hart said would benefit the city in two ways: The detention center would create about 500 estimated jobs, and facility fees would feed about $600,000 more annually into the city coffer.

“There are few companies in the United States who build facilities to this level,” Hart said, adding at least one additional company has contacted the city about a similar project.

The Florida-based GEO Group also owns the Desert View Modified Community Correctional Facility, which neighbors the city-owned prison on Rancho Road west of Highway 395. In August GEO Group secured council approval to buy the city-owned Adelanto Community Correctional Facility for $ 28 million, pending state approval.

If GEO Group moves forward with both the ICE center and purchasing the city-owned prison, the private operator will own roughly 80 acres of prison facilities in southern Adelanto, according to Hart. GEO Group declined to comment Monday.

Federal inmate serving life dies in Saskatoon prison

November 2nd 2010

SASKATOON – An inmate serving time for first-degree murder has died at the federal psychiatric prison in Saskatoon.

The Correctional Service of Canada says Gary Richard Underwood, 62, died of natural causes following a lengthy illness.

He died in hospital at the Regional Psychiatric Centre.

Underwood was found guilty in 2005 of the execution-style murder of a drug dealer in Calgary after three trials and an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

He was found guilty in the fatal 1991 shooting of Patrick Campbell.

Canadian Killed in Mexico tied to Prison Industry

November 2nd 2010

Details are beginning to emerge about the business dealings of a Canadian man who has been missing in Mexico for days and whose burned remains may have been found inside the trunk of a rented car.

Daniel Dion was last seen alive on Oct. 23 in Acapulco, Mexico.

Since then, Dion’s Canadian family members have been searching for him in Mexico and asking for help from anyone who may have seen the Ontario businessman.

On Monday, forensic investigators were examining charred remains found in a car rented by Dion, but said it would be weeks before they could confirm whether the remains belonged to Dion.

“We can’t say whether it’s the person you say it is, they’re taking DNA samples,” said Desenia Estrada of Forensic Services Secretariat in Chilpancingo.

Family members of the Carleton Place, Ont. man have travelled to the remote location where the remains were found, about 130 kilometres south of Acapulco. They found a watch they believed belonged to Dion, according to reports.

The family also issued a statement saying they believed Dion had been executed by professional killers performing a “contract execution.”

However, Martin Jimenez, of the ministerial police service’s headquarters, said it was too soon to make any presumptions about the motives behind Dion’s apparent murder.

According to reports, Dion often spoke openly about high level political connections in Mexico, as well as his ability to wrangle deals to hire prisoners to make the purses he sold.

“He was about to have some serious breakthroughs for business in Mexico. He probably stepped on the wrong feet or was a problem to someon,” Shanny Bolduc, Diona’s nephew and one of the family members who went to Mexico to look for him, told the Canadian Press in an email.

The 51-year-old was experienced at travelling and doing business in Mexico. In media interviews he once bragged about his special status under “verbal” agreements with state safety officials.

“I’m trusted….The (labour) law doesn’t permit it. In Mexico it could be very complicated…I have a verbal agreement with everyone,” Dion said in an interview with Irza, a Guerrero-based news agency.

Dion’s family said he was carrying between US$500 and $5,000 in cash, when he disappeared.

It’s unclear what happened to Dion. According to some reports he was kidnapped from his apartment the night he was seen dining in Acapulco.

Local authorities were able to track his rental car after Ontario police identified the company Dion had rented from, through his credit card records.

Once the rental company and car were identified, local authorities were able to find the vehicle though its GPS transmitter.

The statement released by Dion’s family said “the people that killed Daniel were professionals and went greatly out of their way to leave as little trace of the vehicle and his body as possible.”

NS: New Jail to be built in Pictou County

November 1st 2010

Nova Scotia’s new provincial jail will be built in Pictou County.

Justice Minister Ross Landry announced Monday that the 100-cell jail will be built in Coalburn, next to Highway 104, just southeast of New Glasgow.

Landry, who represents Pictou Centre, said the $31-million facility will create 70 jobs.

The facility will replace the aging Antigonish and Cumberland correctional facilities, which were built in 1948 and 1890 respectively.

However, Nova Scotia’s opposition Tories accused the governing New Democrats of political “manipulation” Monday, moments after Landry announced the new jail.

The government upset people in Springhill — a Cumberland County town that is also home a federal medium security penitentiary —when it scrapped a promise by the former Tory government to build a new provincial facility there for the northern mainland.

Premier Darrell Dexter described the promise as a political one.

On Monday, Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie said the NDP’s decision to build one jail near Coalburn, instead of two smaller ones in Springill, was “tarnished by the broken promise behind it and fuels the public’s mistrust of the NDP government.”

“It may well be good for Pictou County, but it’s not a good day for all Nova Scotia because this is a decision that was made long ago for political reasons, not on a business case basis,” Baillie said in an interview.

But Landry said the decision to build the jail in Coalburn just made sense.

“A business case prepared by Department of Justice staff compared three candidate sites using standard criteria and recommended the Coalburn site,” Landry said in a release. “I agree with that recommendation.”

The previous proposal would have built two 50-cell facilities in Springhill. By building one 100-cell facility, Landry said the province is saving about $5.5 million in construction costs and $1.7 million every year in operating costs.

“The Department of Justice carefully examined factors like cost, location, operational efficiency, and proximity to courthouses and emergency services,” Landry said, “and the Coalburn site is clearly the best option from both a cost and operational perspective.”

The new jail, with two beds per cell, will serve the courthouses in Truro, Amherst, New Glasgow, Pictou, Antigonish, and, to some extent, Port Hawkesbury.

Joan Jessome, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, said the announcement was long overdue.

“The facilities in Amherst and Antigonish were definitely outdated and inadequate,” she said in a statement.

The union has long complained about overcrowding at the province’s jails, particularly the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility near Halifax. Jessome said it was too early to tell what impact the new facility will have on the province’s largest jail.

NFLD: Prison escapees get more time in slammer

November 1st 2010

Two men who escaped from a prison in western Newfoundland in September learned Monday they will spend more time in their cells.

Timothy Gunn and Terrance Payne tunnelled underneath a fence at the West Coast Correctional Centre in Stephenville on Sept. 7.

Police recaptured the pair two days later, when they surfaced in their respective home communities of Peterview and Bishop’s Falls.

On Monday, Gunn was sentenced to an extra 12 months in prison for charges of prison breach and being unlawfully at large.

Payne was sentenced to an additional 15 months on the same charges.

Investigators found that Payne and Gunn had found a weak spot in security at the renovated Stephenville prison, and had forced out a sheet of plywood that was covering a shower-room window and kicked out aging bars.

The pair then made their way to the prison fence, where they were able to dig their way underneath.

Corrections Seeks Speedy Prison Builders

October 13th 2010

Corrections Canada is scrambling to build more prison cells to house thousands more inmates who’ll be imprisoned because of the Tory tough-on-crime agenda, but they’re mindful of appeasing those convicts with frozen treats. It’s all there on the government’s contracting website, MERX, where Corrections has hastily issued an appeal for bidders to plan and supervise the construction of spaces for 192 more inmates at Bath Institution, a medium-security prison near Kingston, Ontario. On the same website, you can find a Corrections call for proposals to deliver ice cream to several federal pens in Quebec, including the prison where serial child killer Clifford Olson is housed. The ice cream deal is worth a cool $43,000.

Just two days after Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was in Kingston to announce that nearly $100 million worth of new cells will be built at three area penitentiaries, the request for proposals appeared on the government’s website seeking architects to spearhead the construction of two new units at Bath Institution. It’s clear that authorities are rushing to get it done fast, another signal that the inmate population crisis – a Tory induced circumstance – already is beginning to bite. Corrections says that both of the new units, each with space for 96 prisoners, have to be “substantially” complete just 100 weeks after this contract is awarded. It’s a $17.4 million deal. That’s not the total cost of the Bath project. Toews said $35 million will be spent to build new cells at Bath. Here’s the complete call for proposals, with a November 17 deadline:

Toronto, Ontario: Home of the Worst-Fed Inmates

October 18th 2010

If you are going to be arrested, you’ll likely be healthier if it happens in Newfoundland. Consider, for example, the food.

Prisoners locked in courthouse holding cells during the midday recess in their cases have a rotating lunch menu that includes grilled salmon, roast beef and mashed potatoes, and a grilled chicken pita and coleslaw.

All are accompanied by skim milk, with the province spending $5.89 on each meal.

In Toronto, by comparison, lunch served to inmates at courthouses – most of whom are awaiting trial and presumed innocent – consists of a sandwich, often cheese, and glass of water mixed with artificial flavour crystals.

Vegetarians get a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato on a hamburger bun.

The Toronto Police Service, which is responsible for the lunches, pays $1.19 per meal.

On Tuesday, a lawyer representing the alleged president of the Toronto chapter of the Hells Angels plans to challenge the adequacy of the meals, asking a judge to order that his client be provided with more to eat and drink during his four-month trial, set to begin Oct. 22.

“My client is presumed innocent and has a right to defend himself against the charges at his trial,” Craig Bottomley, a lawyer representing John Neal, told the Star.

“It is impossible for him to do so if all he can focus on is the fact that he is starving.”

Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said the lunches represent a balance between meeting the needs of prisoners and making reasonable use of taxpayers’ money.

In absolute dollars, the city spends more on feeding Toronto Zoo animals than accused people — $927,000 a year, according to the zoo’s website, versus approximately $200,000 for inmates.

In fact, lunches served to accused people in Toronto courthouses may well be the most nutritionally inadequate in North America.

A Star investigation has found they lag behind what’s served in Newfoundland, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New York, Arizona and parts of the deep south, including Florida and Alabama.

The Star also called the province’s nutrition hotline, part of Eat Right Ontario.

When asked about the contents of the vegetarian lunch served at Toronto courthouses, a registered dietician said the meal is insufficient because it includes items from only two of the four main food groups and is missing essential nutrients, such as iron. Yet it’s what Neal can expect to be served every day of his trial.

The 60-year-old was arrested following a raid on the Eastern Ave. clubhouse in April 2007 and charged with conspiring to traffic in liquid ecstasy and contributing to a criminal organization. He has been in custody ever since and was placed on a vegetarian diet on the advice of his doctor.

In an affidavit filed in support of Tuesday’s motion, Neal, who has no criminal record, said on the days he has been to court dealing with pre-trial matters the food has been so meagre that, “I am unable to focus on the proceedings and find it difficult to provide my lawyer with meaningful input.”

Adequate food and drink for prisoners is considered a basic right in domestic and international law, Bottomley says in court documents. But Toronto courthouse lunches fail to meet Health Canada standards or United Nations rules for the treatment of prisoners, he argues. He also suggests they violate his client’s right to be treated in accordance with principles of fundamental justice, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

There appear to be no province-wide standards for the meals, even though they exist in other jurisdictions, such as Florida, where the Florida Sherriff’s Association has established benchmarks for inmate food.

The quantity and type of food served is determined by individual police services, said Tony Brown, a spokesperson for Ontario’s ministry of community safety and correctional services.

Alok Mukherjee, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said there should be province-wide standards and the board was assured by Chief Bill Blair that the menus were devised with input from Toronto Public Health.

The board has asked police to review whether the meals are adequate.

Pugash said if inmates are still hungry after eating their lunch, they can ask for a second sandwich.

But Bottomley said the food falls “woefully below” basic nutritional requirements set out by Health Canada, which includes 7 servings of fruit or vegetables a day.

It would take an entire cup of lettuce to count as one serving of a vegetable, he says.

Before Neal leaves for court, the Metro East Detention Centre will provide him with a breakfast of Rice Krispies cereal, two pieces of toast and tea or coffee.

The dietician with Eat Right Ontario said the breakfast is also inadequate because it’s not a high-fibre cereal and the meal is missing fruit.

For dinner, Neal can expect rice, beans, another vegetable, pudding and tea or coffee – if he makes it back to the jail in time and isn’t delayed in traffic.

Joe Arpaio, the tough-talking sheriff of Maricopa Co., Arizona, likes to dress his prisoners in pink underwear and black-and-white striped outfits and boast about how little he spends on their food – 90 cents per meal.

But inmates in Phoenix and Scottsdale courthouses still fare better than accused people in Toronto. Arpaio feeds them two hoagie rolls, 4 oz. of peanut butter, a package of cookies, three pieces of fruit (usually oranges) and juice.

The Toronto Police Services Board recently voted to extend its contract with a supplier at a cost of $1.24 a meal, which consists of a sandwich and a drink made of water and flavour crystals. (Accused young offenders get a juice box.)

A police spokesperson said a sandwich consists of four ounces of deli meat or cheese.

Here’s how that stacks up with other jurisdictions:


Menu: A cheeseburger, French fries or a hash brown patty and a soft drink, from A & W, McDonald’s or the Canadian Legion

Cost: $4.50 to $6

Who pays: Ministry of Justice court services division

New York City

Menu: Two sandwiches (either peanut butter and jelly, or cheese, on whole wheat bread. A piece of fresh fruit. Fruit juice or milk.

Cost: N/A

Who pays: New York State Dept. of Corrections

St John’s (and rest of Newfoundland)

Menu: Rotation including grilled cod with mashed potatoes. Beef tacos and Mexican rice. Pea soup and a turkey sandwich. A grilled chicken pita and cole slaw. Fish cakes. Roast beef and mashed potatoes. Grilled salmon. Chicken pot pie. All are accompanied by skim milk.

Cost: $5.89

Who pays: Nfld. Dept. of Justice

Vancouver (and elsewhere in British Columbia)

Menu: Two sandwiches, a cookie, a piece of fruit and a fruit drink.

Cost: N/A

Who pays: B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General Sheriff’s Services

Guelph, Ontario

Menu: Choice of a meat or vegetarian sandwich and juice

Cost: $4.52

NS: Inmates Sent Home Due to Overcrowding

October 2nd 2010

A central Nova Scotia jail has been turning away inmates on the weekends and sending them home because of overcrowding.

The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside is too crowded to safely pack more people in on Saturday and Sunday, the provincial government says.

Justice Minister Ross Landry said he only found out about the problem this week, but Sean Kelly, the province’s director of Correctional Services, said inmates receiving passes to stay at home is a practice that has been going on for more than 20 years.

He said few inmates break the rules or commit crimes during their special absences, but he could not provide exact numbers.

“We would do a fairly rigid assessment to determine if they are a risk and, if they meet our eligibility criteria, we would look at them coming into the facility, signing a certificate of temporary absence, and then they would be directed to go directly home,” he said.

Kelly said an average of 15 inmates are turned away each week, with phone checks routinely placed to ensure the inmates stay under house arrest.

Landry said the public is not in danger because the inmates are low-risk offenders and that 105 new beds would be installed at the prison in the next few months. He also said the problem would be eliminated when a proposed new jail was built in the next two to three years.

But Liberal justice critic Michel Samson said the problem shows the NDP government isn’t managing Nova Scotia’s jails properly.

“The fact that they’re having these weekend passes is unacceptable and we’re certainly going to be looking for a review of this in order to see who exactly was getting these passes and did they get into any trouble with the law,” he said.

According to the provincial government website, the jail was opened in October 2001 and has a bed capacity of 224 males and 48 females.

Federal Crime Bill Swelling Alberta Jail Population

October 7th 2010
Edmonton – The inmate population in Alberta jails will swell by 23% over the next five years as a result of tougher crime and sentencing laws imposed by the Harper government in Ottawa, says a new Alberta government report.

Jim Cook, a director with the provincial solicitor general’s department, says the jail population could climb even higher if the federal Conservatives push ahead with further Criminal Code changes, including prohibiting conditional sentences for certain crimes.

“The conditional sentence population is out in the community, under supervision by probation officers,” Cook told the Calgary Herald.

“Further restrictions to the conditional sentence of imprisonment will certainly contribute to the growth in the inmate population.”

Most of these offenders would end up in provincial facilities, not in federal prisons, which house inmates with sentences longer than two years.

While the number of inmates serving provincial sentences has grown, Alberta’s remand population – people in provincial custody waiting to face trial – has expanded at a greater pace.

People awaiting trial comprised 58% of the province’s inmate population last year, a figure that troubles the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association (CTLA).

“The increases are alarming,” says CTLA president Deborah Hatch, referring to Alberta’s overall inmate growth.

“More than half of those who are in prison in this province are in remand facilities,” Hatch added. “They are people who are presumed innocent.”

The Herald says Alberta has been straining for some time with overcrowded jails. The number of adult inmates has climbed 58% since 2000 from an average of 1,842 annually to 2,907 last year.

That figure is expected to swell 23% by 2015, the new annual report of the solicitor general notes. This would raise the inmate population to roughly 3,600 men and women.

Quebec: Ban on Smoking in Prisons Deemed a Failure

October 6th 2010

MONTREAL—Quebec’s move to merely restrict smoking in prisons has not only failed to improve the health of inmates, it has led to cigarette trafficking and even prostitution behind bars, a new study says.

Besides the Northwest Territories, Quebec is the only province where smoking is still allowed in provincial prisons.

In February 2008, the government intended to ban smoking outright in prisons, but three days after the law came into effect it backed down, allowing prisoners to smoke in outdoor courtyards to which they have access about an hour each day.

A study undertaken for the province’s public health institute says that the policy has not significantly decreased tobacco use among prisoners.

Worse, it has created new problems, including cigarette trafficking, intimidation, even cases of prostitution, according to what inmates told researchers.

“One thing that’s certain . . . the rule has increased tension in the prisons,” said lead researcher Serge Brochu, a criminologist at the Université de Montréal, in a university newsletter. Brochu was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.

As the study states, the inmates feel the new rules have “incited detainees with few financial resources to commit illegal acts to maintain their tobacco usage.

“They also indicated that the use of tobacco in detention has evolved, passing from the status as trading currency to contraband in itself.”

The problem arises as the prisoners are restricted in where and thus when they can smoke, but are legally able to buy cigarettes at the prison canteen. Since demand outstrips supply, it has engendered a thriving black market.

This has led to an increase in the price of contraband tobacco, which has gone from around $11 to $18 a pack since the new rules were introduced. Sixty per cent of smoking and non-smoking respondents said the situation had gotten worse since the new rules were adopted.

Non-smokers are also participating in the trafficking to furnish smokers with cigarettes. This is a way to “enrich themselves,” but those who are less interested in participating in the scheme also face intimidation to do so, according to the study.

The study, for the l’Institut national de santé publique du Québec, was based on interviews with 113 male and female inmates and 27 staff at three detention centres in Montreal and Quebec City.

Quebec’s public security ministry decided to soften the law because correctional authorities feared “disorder” associated with depriving detainees of tobacco.

A spokesperson for the ministry on Wednesday said there still is no plan to ban smoking outright.

Mario Vaillancourt wouldn’t comment directly on the study’s findings but added it was carried out in the first year of the rule’s application.

Smoking kills about 45,000 Canadians each year, according to the Canadian Lung Association.

The idea behind a smoking ban in prison is the same as elsewhere — to improve public health.

However, the study reports that more than 80 per cent of the prisoners were smokers and 93 per cent of them smoked on a daily basis.

And even if some study respondents reported smoking less, 55 per cent said the situation hadn’t improved their health.

The study also found that 93 per cent of prison smokers lit up inside the prison, despite the rules.

Prison Farm Workers to Work for Military

October 6th 2010

Remember the controversy over the federal government’s decision to close prison farms? Turns out some of those inmates who toiled in the fields are now tending to the repairs of Canadian military vehicles.

Earlier this year, the federal government decided to close the working farm at Frontenac Institution in Kingston, Ont. — one of six prison farms in the country, which produced eggs and milk and other produce.

The decision remains controversial. In August, police arrested 24 protesters outside Frontenac as the dairy herd was being moved by its new owners.
Even today Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who was at Frontenac to announce more money to build more cells, defended the government’s plan.

Toews said most inmates move to cities after their release and that fewer than one per cent of them ever work in agriculture. He added that Correctional Service Canada, “came to us and said these farm programs aren’t working.”  

Canada’s prison farms located in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, are all at different stages of being wound down.

In addition to eggs and milk, some produced pork and beef. The food was sold to an array of clients including other correctional facilities while some of it was donated to food banks. The program lost roughly $4 million/yr and employed about 300 inmates.

A spokesperson for Correctional Service of Canada says approximately 30 inmates are now repairing military vehicles at Frontenac.


Tories Announce $115.5 Million Prison Expansion

October 6th 2010

The federal government will spend $155.5 million to expand prisons in Ontario and Quebec, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced Thursday.

Of that, $95 million will go toward building new “living units” at the Bath, Collins Bay and Millhaven Institutions; the remaining $60 million will be spent on new beds at three minimum security institutions in Laval and the Federal Training Centre Montée St-François Institution in Laval, as well as the federal prison in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.

The Conservatives say the expansions will improve the protection, safety and security of Canadians.

“Our government is proud to be on the right side of this issue — the side of law-abiding citizens, the side of victims who want justice, and the side that understands the cost of a safe and secure society is an investment worth making,” Toews said.

Liberals accuse the Conservatives of “trying to transform Canada into the disaster that is California,” where spending on the notoriously overcrowded correctional system is expected to top $9 billion in 2010-2011, representing more than seven per cent of the state’s budget.

“Just like California, when we build all of these prison spaces, it sucks money like a vacuum out of health care, education, out of home care, out of priorities that Canadians have,” public safety critic Mark Holland said earlier Thursday. “And guess what? It just doesn’t work.”

In total, the Conservatives pledged to add 580 new beds to the prison system, including:

  • Two 96-bed units at Bath Institution, a medium security prison west of Kingston.
  • One 96-bed unit at Collins Bay Institution, a medium security prison in Kingston.
  • One 96-bed unit at Millhaven Institution, a maximum security prison in Bath.
  • A total of 196 beds at the Federal Training Centre and Montée St-François Institution in Laval, and the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines Institution.

All of the units are expected to be completed in 2013-2014.

Dropping crime rate ‘unacceptably high’

Construction of the new units is prompted by the country’s crime rate, which Toews described Thursday morning as “unacceptably high.”

He did use the occasion, however, to take a swipe at the Liberals, accusing them of gutting legislation the Conservatives considered tough on crime, such as Bill C-9, which would have limited the availability of conditional sentences for serious violent crimes.

“We believe that dangerous, repeat offenders should remain in prison until their debt to society has been paid,” Toews said. “The rights of law-abiding Canadian citizens should trump the interests of [criminals].”

Toews dismissed reports from Statistics Canada that the crime rate is falling. In July, the statistical agency reported that “both the volume and severity of police-reported crime fell in 2009,” three per cent from 2008 and 17 per cent from 1999.

“The crime isn’t going down,” Toews insisted. “It is still unacceptably high. Canadians should not be subjected to that kind of crime rate.”

Tory plans for U.S.-style prisons slammed in report

September 24th 2010

The Conservative government plans to bring in an American-style prison system that will cost billions of taxpayer dollars and do little to improve public safety, according to a report released Thursday in Ottawa.

“It tramples human rights and human dignity,” University of British Columbia law professor Michael Jackson, co-author of the 235-page report, titled A Flawed Compass, told reporters.

Moreover, there is “a near total absence of evidence” in the government plan that its measures will “return people to the community better able to live law-abiding lives,” said co-author Graham Stewart, who recently retired after decades as head of the John Howard Society of Canada.

Their report provides a scathing review of a government blueprint for corrections called A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety. A panel led by Rob Sampson, a former corrections minister in Ontario ex-premier Mike Harris’s Tory government, drafted the plan, which is being implemented by the Correctional Service.

In addition to constructing super prisons and implementing work programs, the program will eliminate gradual release and deny inmates rights that are now entrenched in the Constitution.

However, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said the plan is not based on a U.S.-style prison system at all. “I don’t know where that suggestion comes from,” he told CBC News in an interview.

“We don’t have a capital program for creating and building new prisons right now, so attacking the government is a little odd.”

Rather, “the changes we’re proposing [are] to improve our system, protect society more and make sure offenders get the help they need,” particularly mental illness treatment, Van Loan said.

The government wants to create an incentive system for prisoners to participate in rehabilitation programs, “because that’s important for not just the safety of society, which is … the most important principle, but also for the prisoner to integrate into the community ultimately,” he said.

The current practice of statutory release is the “wrong approach,” he added.

“That means somebody has a nine-year sentence; at six years, even if they’re not participating in their programs, they’re automatically … released into society.”

But Jackson said the plan undermines public safety by making prisons more dangerous places and constricting inmates’ reintegration into society.

By keeping prisoners locked up longer, the plan places an enormous financial burden on taxpayers, he added.

Perhaps worst of all, Jackson said, it “will intensify what the Supreme Court has characterized as the already staggering injustice of the overrepresentation of aboriginal people in the prisons of Canada.”

A recipe for prison violence: Jackson

By stressing punishment rather than rehabilitation, the plan ignores lessons of the past, which led to the prison riots and killings that dominated Canadian news in the early 1970s, Jackson said.

“My greatest fear is with this road map’s agenda and its underlying philosophy, we will enter a new period of turmoil and violence in Canadian prisons,” he said.

“I do fear that prisons will become more abusive, prisoners will become more frustrated and that we could go back to a time not only when the rule of law was absent but a culture of violence is the dominant way in which prisoners express their frustrations.”

Stewart called the blueprint “an ideological rant, which flies in the face of the Correctional Service’s own research of what works to rehabilitate prisoners and ensure community safety.”

“The fact is that you cannot hurt a person and make them into a good citizen at the same time,” Stewart said.

The government has already allocated hundreds of millions to the plan, even though it has had no input from either Parliament or the public, according to the report.

Read more:

Halifax, NS: Last two men sentenced for 2009 jail riot

September 25th 2010

Two men have been handed four-month sentences for committing mischief by damaging property during an April 2009 riot at the Dartmouth jail.

Aaron Gregory Marriott, 20, of Halifax was sentenced Friday in Dartmouth provincial court.

Lee Corey Elliott, 35, of Dartmouth was dealt with Monday.

About 60 inmates rampaged in the north unit of the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility for more than five hours on April 8, 2009, causing an estimated $30,000 in damage.

Correctional officers used pepper spray to eventually regain control of the unit.

One inmate was treated on-site for smoke inhalation. No one else was hurt.

Halifax Regional Police ended up filing charges against eight men, all of whom entered guilty pleas rather than go to trial.

Six men were handed jail sentences earlier this year ranging from six months to three years.

Burnaby, BC: Making Noise for Jailed Tamil Refugees

September 25th 2010

Saturday marked the third noise demonstration outside of Burnaby jail where Tamil women and children are detained.

More than two dozen people gathered outside of a Burnaby jail today to make noise and show their support for the 25 Tamil women and 44 children being held inside the jail.

Four hundred and ninety two Tamil refugees arrived on the shores of Vancouver Island aboard the MV Sun Sea on August 12.

It is believed that many of the Tamils on the ship were fleeing Sri Lanka after their release from internally displaced peoples’ camps, where they were living during the intense war in their territory. According to Fathima Cader, from No One Is Illegal, when Tamil people are released from the camps, they return to bombed out villages and face harsh conditions, including disappearances and sexual harassment.

Save for access to translators from the Canadian Border Services Agency, the women and children inside the jail have little contact with the outside world. “Having some sense that there are some people out here, I think in some senses it humanizes their detention,” said Cader. “We want for them to know we’re here, and the noise, we get people out to make noise and make it an interactive experience.”

Today’s noise demonstration, which featured Tamil music and demonstrators with air-horns, pots and pans, and horns, was the third consecutive weekend effort to let the people inside know that they have support on the outside.

“We do know they can hear us, because we’ve seen them through the window waving, and from the little that we do know, they do understand why we’re here, and they like hearing the Tamil music,” said Sozan Savehilaghi from No One Is Illegal.

The men who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea are being held in a jail in Maple Ridge, and at least one father is being kept away from his son, who is in the care of one of the women.

“We don’t know very much about their situation at all,” said Savehilaghi.

Harsha Walia, also from No One Is Illegal, spoke at the demonstration, noting that other migrants who are in detention in Ontario are aware of the noise demonstrations that have been happening in support of the Tamil women and children.

“They want us to know, and they want us to remember that one of the most meaningful things they have heard about since their time inside is that is the fact that people are out here,” she said.

There is another noise demonstration planned for Sunday, October 3rd.

Rioter at Brandon Correctional Centre gets House Arrest

September 24th 2010

A young man’s attire became an issue in court yesterday, a clue, perhaps, as to whether he has turned his life around since taking part in a riot at the Brandon jail.

Arguing for a conditional sentence, defence lawyer Giselle Champagne told court her client, Daniel Cote, no longer associates with Native Syndicate gang members.

Dartmouth, NS: Guard attacked at jail

September 8th 2010

A female guard suffered two black eyes and needed stitches after a female inmate attacked her at the province’s largest jail on Friday, has learned.

Const. Brian Palmeter of Halifax Regional Police wouldn’t provide many details but said they received a complaint of an attack Friday afternoon at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.

“The nature of the report was that at approximately 1:40 p.m., a guard was assaulted,” Palmeter said.

“The matter is still under investigation.”

Justice Minister Ross Landry said Tuesday that the guard is doing well but is not back to work yet.

“That’s business as usual,” he said of the attack. “This is not something new.

“This incident occurred because we are dealing with violent people.”

Landry said the number of incidents in Nova Scotia jails is comparable to the numbers in other provinces.

Two male guards were assaulted at the jail last month. One was punched in the face on Aug. 6 and another was stabbed in the abdomen with a pen the next day.

John Roderick Fraser, 21, of New Glasgow was later sentenced to five years in prison for the stabbing. He had been in custody awaiting trial for a different stabbing.

As a result of the guard being stabbed, protective vests have been made mandatory for guards who deal with inmates.

Also, police recently laid mischief charges against 17 male inmates who were involved in a three-hour disturbance at the jail in June.

Conservative justice critic Murray Scott said there have been too many assaults against guards and other inmates in recent months.

“If you talk to the guards . . . they don’t think it’s business as usual and I’m sure they’d take objection to that,” Scott said.

He also said the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, which represents the guards, is too silent on the matter. That’s because the union is too close to the government and doesn’t want to criticize the New Democrats, he said.

A mid-morning call to the union seeking comment was not returned by 5 p.m.

Nova Scotia: Police lay charges after prison riot

September 2nd 2010

Police say 17 men are facing mischief charges in relation to a prison riot.

The incident occurred on June 15 at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, a provincial institution in Dartmouth, N.S. The inmates caused property damage, police said.

Halifax police were called to the scene but did not enter the facility because staff were able to control the situation, said Const. Brian Palmeter.

Three of the men are also facing an additional charge of proclamation, a prison-related offence that occurs when an inmate fails to stop or obey orders.

Guelph, Ontario: Arson Damages New Cop Shop

August 5th 2010

Police have confirmed that arson was behind a fire at the new Emergency Services Station, still under construction in the south end.

The fire was started in the elevator control room on the building’s second floor and spread to the loft area on the third floor, a news release said.

The fire was quickly extinguished with no injuries to any fire fighters involved, but damage to the building is estimated at between $300,000 and $500,000.

The nearly $9 million project was originally scheduled to be completed by late October, but it could now take an additional six to eight months, said Pflug.

The building, which will eventually house police, fire and emergency medical services all under one roof, was intended to help reduce emergency response times to homes in the south end, said Guelph Police spokesperson Sgt. Doug Pflug. “This criminal act has potentially put people’s lives in danger, because those response times are not going to be reduced,” he said

Emergency Services director Shawn Armstrong said representatives from the three emergency services departments will be meeting with the contractor and architect next week to assess the damage and determine the impact on construction and operations. “It’s disappointing, because the project was on track,” he said.

Guelph Police are continuing the criminal investigation…

Immigrants’ Incarceration Helps Pack BC Jails

Metro Vancouver corrections centres are expecting to house 400 men, 60 to 70 women and as many as 30 children from the Tamil migrant vessel Sun Sea, in a move the B.C. Government Employees Union said could turn the “pressure-cooker situation” of Metro’s already overcrowded jails into a public menace.

BCGEU spokesman Dean Purdy said Friday that many of the 550 male inmates at Maple Ridge’s Fraser Regional Corrections Centre, an institution built to house 254, are already being housed in 50-man tents due to lack of indoor space.

The arrival of 400 men at Fraser and 60 to 70 women at Maple Ridge’s Alouette Correctional Centre for Women would make these two institutions the most overcrowded prisons in the province, he said.

“The overcrowding, stress, violence and staff turnover rate carries a significant human cost to the corrections system. And putting migrants or refugees into the equation just exacerbates the already severe overcrowding,” Purdy said.

The ratio of inmates to guards at Fraser Regional is already 40 to 1, he said. “Adding more than 400 additional refugees means that the facility will house almost 1,000 people — nearly four times the number it was designed for,” he said. “Our concern is not only for the correctional officers that work in such onerous conditions, but also for the communities with prisons. This can only lead to an increase in violent behaviour and deteriorating working conditions for corrections officers.”

Purdy says most of the migrants aboard the Sun Sea will be processed through the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre before being bused to Maple Ridge, as happened with the 76 Tamil migrants aboard the Ocean Lady, which landed in Victoria in October 2009.

“Last time they were housed for approximately three months, but that was only with 76 of them,” Purdy said. “The count is significantly higher this time.”

Purdy said the 30 children thought to be aboard the Sun Sea will be sent to one of the province’s three youth corrections facilities in Victoria, Burnaby or Prince George, or placed with social services.

Prison Guards Given Pepper Spray

MONTREAL – Guards in Canada’s medium-security and maximum-security prisons will soon have access to pepper spray canisters on the job, QMI Agency has learned.

“There will be canisters posted in the units where the guards have direct contact with inmates,” explained Melissa Hart of Correctional Service Canada. “At the end of their work day, these guards will have to return the canisters so they are available for guards on the next shift.”

Correctional Service Canada “made the decision” to provide the aerosol cans containing oleoresin capiscum, a substance derived from cayenne pepper, after a few guards made the request.

“There was personnel that expressed a desire to be better equipped,” said Hart, adding the safety measure will allow guards to better manage groups of prisoners and to “contribute to public safety”.

The cans will be available for situations in which inmates cannot be physically restrained.

Correctional Service Canada began equipping the guards with pepper spray “a few weeks ago” and all of the medium and maximum security prisons in Canada will receive the aerosol containers within two months, said Hart.

The guards will not receive any formal training using the spray because using it is part of their “standard training”, Hart said.

Hart was unable to provide an estimated cost for the new measures.

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers is happy about the news.

National president Pierre Malette said being provided with pepper spray was a “big victory” for the guards.

Saint John, NB: Jail Riot Accused Return to Court

SAINT JOHN – All five of the men charged in connection with a Jan. 9 riot at the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre asked for more time before they enter an election or pleas on two indictable charges each of mischief over $5,000. In setting the matter over until 10 a.m. on Sept. 2, provincial court Judge Alfred Brien suggested he might elect their method of trial for them if they weren’t ready by that time. Charged in connection with the riot, which resulted in more than $300,000 worth of damage, are Luke Banks, 25; Kayne Crothers, 25; Terrence Keleher, 23; Michael MacKinnon, 29; and Charles Ross, 27. Banks did enter a not guilty plea to an unrelated charge of damaging a sprinkler head at the jail on May 14. His trial on that matter for set for 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 8.

Cons’ inverted Maple Leaf T-shirts condemned

Against Prison: As if locking people in cages wasn’t enough for you Vic, you had to go ahead and spell it out: “I am the reason why people burn the flag.”

OTTAWA – An outraged Public Safety Minister Vic Toews called it “offensive and unacceptable” that a group of federal inmates was allowed to order and wear T-shirts with an upside-down Maple Leaf as part of a Prisoner Justice Day protest.

“It dishonours those who have upheld Canadian laws in the line of duty and fought in support of Canadian values at home and abroad,” said Toews in response to a QMI Agency report. “The government strongly condemns this officially-sanctioned misuse of our national symbol and will direct the Correctional Service of Canada to ensure this episode is not repeated.”

More than 200 T-shirts were ordered at one penitentiary alone – and inmates marking the event across the country also went on a one-day food and work “strike.”

CSC told QMI the shirt design at Ontario’s Joyceville Institution – which featured the upside down Maple Leaf with two hands grasping bars – was not meant to desecrate a Canadian symbol, and that the inverted image was designed to represent the distress felt by inmates who died in custody.

But Toews said the design is an insult to victims and those who serve in uniform wearing the Maple Leaf.

“The flying of an upside-down flag is an international symbol for distress. But any distress felt by inmates at Joyceville Institution pales in comparison to the real trauma felt by law-abiding Canadians who have been victimized by those incarcerated there,” he said. “That senior officials of the Joyceville Institution would approve this disrespectful misuse of the Maple Leaf – our national symbol – is both offensive and unacceptable.”

Each federal prison’s T-shirt is designed by an inmate artist and approved by the warden in consultation with the management team.

Prisoner Justice Day originated in 1976 on the anniversary of the death of an inmate in segregation at Millhaven Institution in Ontario. The nation-wide event now commemorates all inmates who died of unnatural causes behind bars.

Every Aug. 10, inmates stage one-day “peaceful protests” by refusing to work or eat. Inmates do not face disciplinary action for participating, but are not paid if they refuse to work.

Inmates paid for the T-shirts, which cost about $13 each.

Prisoners’ Death Raises Questions about Parole

KINGSTON, Ont. – Foul play is not suspected in the death of an imprisoned child killer who was convicted nearly half a century ago.

Robert Harold Billyard, 63, died Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. after collapsing, Corrections Canada says. He was rushed to Kingston General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“It was unexpected,” said Michele Vermette, an assistant warden at Bath Institution, where Billyard was incarcerated. “It was health related but at this point we don’t know exactly what the cause was.”

Vermette said a post mortem is planned.

Prison staff provided first aid and CPR until Billyard, who was known as “Bobby,” was taken to hospital.

He was serving a life sentence for non-capital murder that began in 1966. It is the equivalent of the modern sentence of second-degree murder.

Billyard murdered six-year-old Michael Clancy in Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 17, 1966.

A letter he wrote to a girlfriend was presented as evidence at his trial.

“I will be doing time for a while … I choked a little boy to death … and I hope God will forgive me for what I have done … I am worried sick now.”

He also gave police a confession, admitting that he choked the child to death.

Billyard attracted national attention in 1973 when he escaped, while he was free from a Saskatchewan prison on an escorted temporary absence pass.

Billyard was at the home of a prison guard who left him briefly unattended. He fled and stole a car.

Billyard was a native of Dunnville, Ont., a small community on the north shore of Lake Erie, about 30 km south of Hamilton.

At his trial, a doctor said he suffered from several personality problems.

Because of Billyard’s death, Corrections will no longer provide detailed information about his case, including any explanation for his continued imprisonment so many years after his parole eligibility.

He was eligible to seek full parole in 1972. (Editor: WTF!? He died in 2010… still in prison)

He also had convictions for assault causing bodily harm and being unlawfully at large.

The death is under investigation.

Bath is a medium-security prison just west of Kingston. It has a large population of older inmates and holds offenders with health problems, including disabilities, who live in cottage-style buildings in groups of eight to 10.

Feds Milk Moolah From Sale of Prison Cattle

OTTAWA — The controversial sale of Canada’s last herd of prison farm cattle earlier this month yielded nearly $300,000 according to figures obtained by Postmedia News.

Despite a two-day blockade by protesters who sought to prevent some 300 cows from being sent to auction, the Frontenac Institution herd from Kingston, Ont., eventually made it to the Ontario Livestock Exchange in Waterloo, Ont., where they sold for $293,000.

According to Public Works and Government Services Canada — which handled the sales of four prison farm cattle herds — the government made $623,590 off the cattle that was sold off after the Conservatives decided last year to close Canada’s prison farms by March 2011.

The Westmoreland Institution herd in Dorchester, N.B., was sold June 17 for $95,570; the Riverbend Institution herd in Prince Albert, Sask., sold for $132,225 on June 23; and the Rockwood Institution herd in Stony Mountain, Man., sold for $102,795 on June 25.

The Correctional Service of Canada has yet to provide sales figures for a dairy heard from Alberta’s Bowden Institution that was auctioned off in December 2009 as well as a piggery from Westmoreland and chicken coup from Riverbend.

While the earlier sales were met with some displeasure, about 500 protesters gathered outside Frontenac on Aug. 8 and another 200 came the following day to try and block the herd’s removal.

Some 24 people were arrested and charged with mischief and obstructing police and while they weren’t successful in stopping the closure, organizer Dianne Dowling said members of Save Our Prison Farms aren’t giving up.

“The message I get is that this government is not running a prison farm and they’re going to make it very difficult for anyone else to,” she said.

The members of Save our Prison Farms argue the long-running prisoner rehabilitation program, which has been around since the 1860s, benefits both the community and the inmates.

They say the program teaches convicts agricultural skills as well as co-operation, teamwork and responsibility. The program also provided low-cost food for the prison system and local food banks and protects farm land for the public.

But the federal government has argued prison farms were costing about $4 million more money than they were generating in revenue.

Furthermore, just 99 of the 25,000 offenders released into the community over the last five years — less than one per cent — found work in the agricultural sector, CSC spokeswoman Christelle Chartrand said.

Read more:

Santa Cruz, CA: Noise Demonstration at County Jail

“Bunch of overgrown boy scouts/but it’s us against them ‘til they let every one of my boys out” –Unalike, A-Alikes

On Friday evening, August 6, we gathered outside the Santa Cruz County Jail to demonstrate our solidarity with the people locked up inside and express our hatred of imprisonment. About 30-40 of us stood in the middle of Blaine Street, next to both the main County Jail (where 336 people are locked up) and the Women’s Facility (21 people). We banged on drums made from 55-gallon barrels with the intention of creating as much noise as possible to breach the prison walls. Our portable sound system blasted insurgent hip-hop, including N.W.A’s “Fuck the Police” and the Geto Boys’ “G-Code.” We carried two banners stating, “Free All Prisoners” and “Chinga la Migra/Fuck I.C.E.”

Chants included “We Are All Illegal, Todos Somos Ilegales,” “Chinga la Migra, Y La Policia,” and “Revolt on the Outside, Revolt on the Inside!” We also told jokes at the expense of cops and jail guards. At one point, as the jail guards stood on the roof of the jail watching us, people started chanting “Jump! Jump! Jump!” We also used a megaphone to attempt to speak directly to the prisoners and let them know that they are not forgotten and that they have support from the outside.

One of the main reasons we were there was to express our rage at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (AKA La Migra). We despise the very existence of I.C.E. and borders, but we’re specifically pissed off about a program (named “Secure Communities” by some twisted bureaucrat) that is going to be implemented in the local jail starting August 10. “Secure Communities” mandates that every person booked into jail will have their fingerprints run through an I.C.E./Department of Homeland Security database. Currently there are 25 people on I.C.E. hold in the County jail system, meaning that they will be held an extra 48 hours after they should be released, so that I.C.E. can kidnap them. The new program, funded by Obama, will lead to even more people being detained and deported. Also, earlier this year, the city decided to hire eight more cops, and the police’s gang unit has started working directly with I.C.E.

The apartment complex next to the jail has similar architectural features—isolated units surrounded by high walls and a metal fence. Some of the neighbors came outside and spoke with participants in the demo. Generally, they seemed supportive; one young girl even joined in briefly by playing a drum. We also passed out a pamphlet containing our analysis in hopes of spreading a critical dialogue about I.C.E. and imprisonment. The demo was an attempt at breaking out of our own isolation and communicating with others, both the prisoners and the neighbors. In some ways, we were successful, but we have much to learn. It was an empowering event for participants and some passersby, though we haven’t yet heard what the prisoners’ reactions were. In a heartbreaking moment as we were leaving, we exchanged glances with a woman in the Blaine St. Facility standing at the window. The grim reality of confinement was unavoidable as we departed and she remained.


Kingston, Ontario: Blockade of CSC Regional Headquarters

Reposted from corporate media. Read between the lines.
July 23rd 2010

KINGSTON, Ont. – A group of protesters has vowed to block any livestock from leaving a prison farm slated to be shut down by the federal government.

The statement came after some 200 demonstrators descended on the regional headquarters of Corrections Canada in Kingston, Ont., on Friday.

The event was billed as a practice run for a planned stakeout of the nearby Frontenac Institution, a minimum security jail where about 8,000 chickens and 300 cows are slated to be auctioned off.

Save Our Prison Farms organizer Andrew McCann says they will not allow the cows or chickens to leave Frontenac.

“We have several hundred people ready to be called at any time of day or night to come out and blockade the animals,” McCann said.

Friday’s event was the latest action against the slated closure of six prison farms across Canada. The campaign has drawn the support of author Margaret Atwood and musician Sarah Harmer.

On Friday, Stormy the Donkey — the campaign mascot — was on hand, along with about half a dozen people dressed as cows.

The Conservative government decided the farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick were no longer useful following a strategic review in 2008.

Latest figures show the farms generated revenues of $7.5 million, but had expenses of $11.6 million, for a loss of $4.1 million.

A Corrections spokeswoman said auctions took place at prison farms in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan during the month of June.

“We’re still on target to phase out everything by March 31, 2011,” Christelle Chartrand said from Ottawa.

Less than one per cent of prisoners found work in the agriculture sector after being released from prison, Chartrand said, noting most offenders are released into urban areas.

But supporters say it doesn’t matter whether inmates go on to be farmers because a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility are among skills developed through the program.

“Farming is a very multidisciplinary task that also provides animal therapy for these inmates … which ultimately makes our communities safer because these inmates are less likely to reoffend,” McCann said.

Unionized government employees, the National Farmers Union and political opposition members have all decried the pending closures.

“We believe it shines a spotlight on misguided farm and food policy in general from our government,” McCann said.

He said the laying hens produce eggs for 18 prisons in Ontario and Quebec as well as thousands of eggs that are donated to the Kingston food bank every week.

As for upcoming protest actions, Chartrand said Correctional Services Canada would continue to respect the rights of individuals to protest.

She said many officials have met with representatives from the Save Our Prison Farms campaign to explain the decision to close the farms.

“Our priority will be to make sure that our property is safe, our staff is safe and the individual is safe at all times,” she said.

Guelph: Royal Bank of Canada Smashed Up

On the evening of July 21, 2010, the atms of an RBC in Guelph,On. were smashed up and the money slots filled with adhesive.

RBC, as many may know by now, is a financial backer with the tar sands as well as the Toronto South Detention Center, a 1,650 bed super maximum prison facility being built in Mimico, Ontario.

Fuck you RBC.

Solidarity with friends and comrades dealing with court, house arrest, police,etc.

Solidarity with Nikos Maziotis currently on hunger strike, and Panagiota Roupa imprisoned in Greece during the birth of their child.

Solidarity with the west coast for hating the cops and for showing it..


Hamilton: Demonstration in Solidarity with Hunger Strike

July 19th, 2010
Hamilton, Ontario

A noise demonstration took place outside of the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre (Barton Jail) in downtown Hamilton, Ontario on July 19th 2010. Around 25 people marched around the prison, chanting slogans (the passion for freedom is stronger than all prisons; no prisons, no borders, fuck law and order; they might take our lives away but not our dignity, our hearts will pound against their walls until we all are free; smash the borders, fuck the state, all these walls are going to break; no justice, no peace, fuck the police; etc), shooting off fireworks, and making speeches.

This demonstration was held to continue creating a visible presence and tension against prisons and the world that needs them, as well as to take direct action in solidarity with the insurgent spirit: with everyone who chooses the dignity of struggle above the servility of obedience.

The 19th of July marked the beginning of a hunger strike in Saint Paul’s Hospital (the infirmary ward of Korydallos prison near Athens, Greece). Below is a translation of a communication about this hunger strike. Solidarity with prisoners in revolt, inside and outside the jails of this prison-world!

“On Monday, July 19th, prisoners will start refusing food with a demand to address and solve the problem of prolonged detention of people with chronic and incurable diseases, who (due to their state of health) should have their sentences reduced.

The human ”dump”, as the prisoners of this institution call it themselves, is simply tragic, as we have also heard from comrade Simos Seisidis presently being held there. People with disabilities, strokes, and fatal diseases are thrown into this vile, dirty environment full of shortcomings.

The Secretary for prison policy visited some time ago, and stated that a legislative bill would resolve the matter in February or March. Naturally, he was telling lies.

The prisoners themselves, in their statement to the Minister and the media say:

‘Powerless to react differently, and anyway lacking our health, we are offering what is left of our lives to sacrifice them to your inhuman indifference, not because we hope you will change, but because we refuse to live like beasts, like waste from a system and society without humanity, ethics, or honour.

So, from Monday, July 19th, all those who are able to will abstain from food and all medication and treatment, as a last sign of dignity and self-respect…’

Our comrade Simos Seisidis will participate in this mobilization.”

Until we are all free!
Destroy all prisons!

Vandals Hit Federal Building in Montreal, Quebec

Police have opened an investigation after a federal government building was vandalized early Monday morning in Montreal’s Saint-Henri district.

Several windows were smashed on the building, located at the corner of Saint-Jacques and Rose-de-Lima Streets.

The building houses various federal government offices, including for the Department of National Defence, and the RCMP.

Police said three suspects, wearing dark clothing and with covered faces, were seen fleeing the scene at about 2:10 a.m.

No arrests have been made.

It is too soon to determine what the motive might have been, said Montreal police Const. Yannick Paradis.

“Everything has to be considered in the investigation,” Paradis said. “We’ll know later on if there was connection or not to link it to the G20, or even what happened in Trois-Rivières a couple weeks ago.”

Members of Montreal’s activist community have recently held protests to denounce the hundreds of arrests during protests against the recent G20 summit in Toronto. A number of Quebecers were among those arrested.

The incident that Paradis was referring to in Trois-Rivières was the bombing of a Canadian Forces recruitment centre on July 2.

A group calling itself Résistance Internationaliste has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The group has previously claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Hydro-Québec tower in 2004 and the firebombing of a car belonging to an oil-industry executive in 2006. No one was injured in either incident.

The vandalism of the building in Montreal is being investigated by an integrated national security enforcement team, including members of the RCMP, local police forces and federal law enforcements agencies.

Solidarity Demo Outside of Milton Jail

On Thursday July 8, 2010 a noise demo was held at the Maplehurst -Vanier Corrections Complex in Milton, Ontario. This is the second noise demo held outside of this facility, being preceded by one in April of this year.

Around 25-30 people came together to take the streets onto the prison property. A sound system blared anti-prison hip-hop as people encircled the holding cells holding banners with the words “Total Freedom” and “Prison is Revolting” and shooting off fireworks.

At several junctures en route the sound system was turned down to make room for numerous chants expressing our ongoing desire to tear down the walls of isolation to fight together for our freedom. Impromptu speeches were given with the hope that they may be able to hear us on the inside. With the music turned down and only our voices left to fill the air, our chants were matched with the rhythmic banging of our comrades held captive on the inside. We left the prison grounds with an audience of pigs and screws letting us know that we were not welcome in the parking lot and continued down the streets with music blaring.

The climate of repression in Southern Ontario right now is extremely tense in regards to the ongoing investigation by the pigs relating to the riotous events of this past month. A cohesive strategy in how to show solidarity with our friends and loved ones in the face of the repression of this state is always controversial, but many of us saw this action as not only a reminder to those on the inside that they have not been forgotten but also as a continuation of the momentum gathering around resistance to the current restructuring of the prison system taking place in the area.

As an oversight of the organizers, this demo took place during visiting hours. This means that as a result of our actions many people coming to visit their loved ones may have been denied their appointments and we would like to acknowledge this oversight and extend apologies that the appropriate considerations were not taken to ensure that this was not the case.

Nonetheless, this is just one way that many of us have chosen to express our solidarity with those experiencing the isolation and rage of imprisonment, a solidarity that will (maybe) stop when the attacks on our lives come to an end.

Freedom is the crime that commits all crime.

Fire to the prisons and the world that needs them.

Montreal, Quebec: bank trashed

06/07/10: The Laurentian Bank was attacked in the middle of the night. The atms, windows and sign were smashed with a hammer and rocks. An attempt was also made to obscure one of their cameras with paint bombs. The words “Solidarity with the G20 arrestees” were painted on the bank’s wall.

Solidarity with the G20 resistance. Don`t back down in the face of repression.


Bomb Destroys Military Recruitment Center in Quebec

The bomb threat was phoned in around 2:45 a.m. and soon afterward an explosion blew out windows and splintered furniture at a Canadian Forces recruitment office.

The office in question sits on the ground floor of a hotel in downtown Trois-Rivières, about 150 kilometres east of Montreal; no one was injured, although one neighbour described the clamour as so intense “I thought my brick wall had fallen down.”

The provincial Sureté du Quebec has taken charge of the investigation and more than two dozen detectives spent Friday scouring the scene, closing off the city’s downtown with a security cordon and conducting forensic tests in nearby phone booths.

An obscure anti-globalization and anti-war group calling itself Résistance internationaliste claimed responsibility, saying it had planted a “non-improvised device” – police were close-mouthed as to the nature of the bomb.

The collective, of which little is known, was previously linked to the bombing of an oil-industry spokesman’s car in 2006 and the explosion of a Hydro-Quebec electrical tower in 2004.

In a document sent to various media outlets, the group alternately denounces “corporate oligarchy,” the petroleum industry, Canada’s “military colonialism” and the occupation of Afghanistan. It says its aim is to ensure that the political and economic powers “cannot pursue with impunity their indoctrination efforts to justify their imperial adventures.”

It also rails at length against the army and says “this operation … is our resistance to the army’s brainwashing and intensive solicitation of a youth confronted by the emptiness of a demeaning society. We cannot give the state a monopoly on violence.”

The attack echoes those carried out in the 1960s and early 1970s by the Front de libération du Quebec, a separatist splinter group that once targeted an army recruitment centre, killing a night watchman.

That the explosion was preceded by at least one warning – the communiqué said there were two – and took place at an hour when the bomber or bombers knew the office would be deserted are not without significance, according to anti-terrorism experts.

Some suggest it could be one individual’s handiwork, or that of a small group of radicals, and that their choice of target has less to do with an anti-military message than it might first appear.

“It’s no more than attacking an icon of government, it seems like a target of opportunity more than anything,” said Wayne Boone, an expert on risk management and security policy at Carleton University.

Coming as it did on the heels of the G20 summit in Toronto, where a small band of violent protesters smashed windows and torched police cars, and Canada Day – not an especially popular holiday among nationalist fringe elements – the attack points to a flare-up among anarchist groups, Prof. Boone said.

The emerging trend in Europe is a rapprochement between violent anti-government groups and militant environmentalists and animal-rights activists, and the sprawling denunciations contained in the communiqué hint at a similar anarchist bent with Résistance internationaliste.

“I don’t see a strong political message out of this,” Prof. Boone said. “Just as I didn’t see a strong political message out of G20 – four police cruisers set on fire and smashed windows do not a movement make.”

David Harris, an Ottawa-based lawyer and security consultant (and former member of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), said the attack may be part of an emerging trend in this country as well. There have been as many as a dozen attacks of varying intensity – a bank was firebombed in Ottawa recently – in the past five or six years.

“My impression – and it is impressionistic – is that we’re seeing this sort of thing very much in development,” he said, adding what separates Friday’s attack is that it was aimed at the military.

Montreal: RBC attacked in solidarity with the G20 prisoners

On the night of Thursday, July 1st, the windows of two atm’s at the Royal Bank of Canada on the corner of Harvard and Monkland were smashed. This attack is in solidarity with comrades facing state repression from the G20 weekend.

Solidarity means attack, indeed. Toronto was not the beginning and it won’t be the end.

-some anarchists

Guelph, Ontario: Anarchists Attack in Solidarity with G20 Resistance

In the early morning of Thursday July 1st, we smashed windows at the Wells Fargo on Stone Road. Wells Fargo puts money into prisons, such as detention centres for migrants. This action follows the arrest of three people, accused of torching a Royal Bank of Canada branch in Ottawa. It also follows the arrests and incarceration of anarchists accused of conspiracy regarding the anti-G20 black bloc destruction. To us it’s clear. They are not the only ones who will rob our robbers and break those who try to break us.

In the anarchist tradition, following the resistance to the G20, we continue to bring destruction to the banks and their project of a prison-world.


Vancouver: Kiewit Truck Torched in Solidarity Action

On the night of June 30th, a work truck belonging to Peter Kiewit and Sons was set alight in East Vancouver. This was an act of solidarity with all those taking action against the G20 in Toronto, the hundreds who were kidnapped, beaten and detained by the State and those who are now facing charges.

Kiewit built the Olympic Sea to Sky highway project and filed the injunction against the Eagle Ridge Occupation ultimately resulting the the death of indigenous elder and warrior Harriet Nahanee. Among other things, Kiewit also constructs US military bases.

An attack against repression and those who profit off our misery. Happy Anti-Canada Day on stolen land!

From Toronto to Vancouver Fire in the Streets!

Anti-G20 Solidarity Action in Toronto, Ontario

On the night of Sunday June 27th – Monday June 28th two Bank of Montreal branches were attacked in Toronto, Ontario. We smashed several windows on the bank at the corner of Christie and Dupont. At another, near the corner of Ossington and Dundas, we glued shut the card slot of its ATM before smashing its screen; we then broke several window and walked away.

We caused this damage to respond to the arrests that happened earlier that day, as well as to attack the larger context of this repression. Bank of Montreal provides financial support for the development of the Toronto South Detention Centre, an large expansion on a prison in Mimico. This expansion will replace the existing Toronto Jail in 2012 with new high-tech and sterile forms of incarceration.

Solidarity means attack! Against all repression and its prisons!

Calgary: Solidarity Actions Against the G20

June 26/27: Saturday evening/early Sunday morning, under a full moon, a group of Calgary Anarchist’s set out to show solidarity with political prisoners and comrades injured in recent events in Toronto. With police eyes distracted by the summits, we were able to destroy a local McDonalds and an RBC bank (chosen due to video footage of these establishments being targeted in Toronto riots) in retaliation of the police state brutalizing our friends and comrades from every walk of life, during the G8 and G20 protests. In addition to painting “NO G8, NO G20. THESE STREETS ARE OUR STREETS”, to show our gestures of solidarity with protesters, we wanted to do even the smallest amount of action to show our respect and pride in all you people out there. Piece!

Solidarity Demonstration Against the G20 in East Vancouver

Vancouver, June 26th 2010. Local Activists and a concerned public were standing in Solidarity with the Brothers and Sisters in Toronto. They marched down commercial drive and blocked traffic. There was some pushing and shoving with the police. People were in contact over a telephone, hearing about the destruction being wreaked in Toronto. Police blocked off access to the harbour in East Vancouver.

 Toronto: Black-clad protesters clash with G20 police

From Calgary CTV
June 26th 2010

A group of black-clad protesters has raged through downtown Toronto, smashing windows, vandalizing businesses and burning at least two police cruisers in the heart of the city.

The riots have forced officials to shut down downtown subway stations and close off main streets from traffic.

Only a few blocks from the mayhem, G20 leaders are meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

For more than five hours, much of the city’s core has been in a virtual lockdown as heavily armed police periodically clash with protesters.

The violence escalated after a splinter group broke away from a large and peaceful group of protesters who marched ahead of the high-level meetings.


A concert at the Air Canada Centre has been postponed, hospitals in the downtown core have been locked down and the Eaton Centre was also closed.

Toronto Mayor David Miller said at a news conference that the so-called anarchists are simply criminals who are determined to cause as much destruction as possible.

“It was a deliberate act by people who make it their business to commit these acts,” he said.

“Am I angry? Absolutely.”

Miller spoke to reporters at about 6 p.m. local time, nearly five hours after the protest erupted into violence.

Earlier, the black-clad protesters smashed up a police cruiser and smashed its windshield along Queen Street, as other demonstrators hurled bottles and sticks at a solid line of riot police.

As police donned gas masks and mounted units rode into the city’s core on horses, the violent protesters lit garbage on fire and tipped over recycling containers. They also smashed vehicles in and grabbed stones from nearby homes.

News media vehicles were also targeted and vandalized.

Initially, there were reports that police had fired tear gas. However, police said later that no officers had deployed any gas.

Earlier on Queen Street, next to the MuchMusic building, the violent protesters attempted to break southward through a tight line of riot police.

As some in the crowd pelted police with water bottles, officers hit back and pushed the group northward, away from the downtown core.

Three protesters involved in the confrontation suffered injuries. According to reports from the scene, some were bleeding from the head.

Moments later, another standoff occurred a few blocks west, where protesters reportedly tossed sticks at police and chanted “let us go.”

Earlier, thousands of demonstrators gathered at the Ontario legislature Saturday morning to hear speeches.

While protest organizers promised a family-friendly demonstration, a splinter group calling itself the “Get off the Fence contingent” has announced plans to break away from the main group and challenge the heavy security cordon around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where the G20 summit will begin Saturday afternoon.

In a news release, the splinter group said it plans to continue on to the summit site “to confront the self-proclaimed G20 leaders and the security apparatus that will have occupied our city. We will take back our city from these exploitative profiteers, and in the streets we will be uncontrollable.”

The news release uses the word “militant” a number of times to describe the planned demonstration.

Around 1 p.m., two protesters were arrested near the downtown core and allegedly found with an “incendiary device.” Unconfirmed reports from the scene said the pair was carrying Molotov cocktails.

Sodexo Attacked in Montreal

Reposted from

7 June 2010

“In the early hours of June 7th, some anarchists smashed the windows of a Sodexo office in Montreal. Sodexo is the parent company that makes food for Canadian prisons.

Prison is much more than fours walls of the a vile institution; prison as a condition is reflected and reproduced in the world that surrounds us.

It is the cameras on every street corner surveilling our comings and goings; it is the DNA and fingerprint databanks that record our most personal details; it is the borders and constant threat of detention and deportation that would keep us from freely choosing where we want to live.

To Sodexo (and all others that contribute to the upkeep and functioning of prisons) we say screw you and your choice of ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, when what we really want is to burn the prisons to the ground.

With love and solidarity.”

Royal bank of Canada Firebombed in Ottawa

The Vancouver Olympic games are over, but a torch is still burning.
Video of Action:

Below is the communiqué:

“Royal Bank Canada was a major sponsor of the recently concluded 2010 Olympics on stolen indigenous land. This land was never legally ceded to colonial British Columbia. This hasn’t stopped the government from assuming full ownership of the land and its resources for the benefit of its corporate masters and to the detriment of aboriginal peoples, workers and the poor of the province. The 2010 Winter Olympics increased the homelessness crisis in Vancouver, especially the Downtown Eastside, Kanada’s poorest urban area. Since the Olympics bid, homelessness in Vancouver has nearly tripled while condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing by a rate of 3:1. The further criminalization and displacement of those living in extreme poverty continues apace.

“Royal Bank Canada is one of the planet’s greenest companies” according to one of its own brochures. Coporate Kanada saw fit to include RBC as one of the top 50 in a competition dubbed Canada’s Greenest Employers, which purports to recognize organizations that have created “a culture of environmental awareness.” Yet RBC is now the major financier of Alberta’s tar sands, one of the largest industrial projects in human history and perhaps the most destructive. The tar sands, now the cause of the second fastest rate of deforestation on the planet, are slated to expand several times its current size.

The games in Vancouver are now over, but resistance continues. An RBC branch can be found in every corner of Kanada.

On June 25-27 2010, the G8/G20 ‘leaders’ and bankers are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto to make decisions that will further their policies of exploitation of people and the environment. We will be there.

We pass the torch to all those who would resist the trampling of native rights, of the rights of us all, and resist the ongoing destruction of our planet. We say: The Fire This Time.

FFFC – Ottawa
at the corner of Bank Street and First Avenue.”

Grandview Park party against redevelopment was a smash

Reposted from the Vancouver Media Co-op

By Oshipeya
Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver
May 16, 2010

Last night’s anti-redevelopment party at Grandview Park in Vancouver went from 8:30 at night until almost 3:00 in the morning, coming to an end not long after the cops pushed people off the street in response to some masked marauders who smashed-up and paint-bombed the front door and windows of the nearby probation office.

Hundreds attended the party in the park, dancing to bands and deejays, listening to short speeches about the redevelopment and eventually flooding into the street. Banners, a dumpster, newspaper boxes and pieces of wood were used to block off Commercial Drive at the front of the park. A thrown paint-bomb caused the cops to back off at one end of the street when they tried to approach the barricade.

At the other end, two plain-clothes cops were yelled at and chased away. A Canadian flag was burned by Native and non-Native party-goers after some patriots tried to grab the flag and were pushed back. Fires were then set at both ends of the street. A masked group dressed in all black who had been defending the barricades then ran out and made some “community corrections” of their own as they attacked the probation office, which of course is an extension of the police and prison system.

The cops then ran in along the sidewalk, chasing the masked-mischief-makers, but were blocked by people from the crowd. After a short while, the cops pushed everybody off the street and stood on the sidewalk with dumb looks on their faces as a few stragglers milled-about in the park.

As part of the redevelopment plan, the city government plans to shut down the entire park for a year starting July 1st, at least in part to appease a group of paranoid and control-freak-type citizens who might piss their pants when they smell marijuana or see scruffy-looking people hanging around.

Some people would like to see parts of the park maintained or fixed-up one way or another without having the entire park shut down for a year. Some people don’t want to push the poor out of the park and might be more worried about hard drugs than weed. And a lot of people like to party with music and a fire, outdoors on a nice night in the park and in the street.

Here’s a link to another person’s story about last night:

And here’s the website of the Defend Grandview Park campaign:

CN Rail Line Blocked in Montreal

Reposted from

Overnight April 30-May 1st, the CN rail lines just west of Montreal were blocked so as to stymie regular rail traffic along one of the busiest sections of rail in the country.

These rails are an integral part of the underpinnings of a world we hate, built by the colonizers who introduced judges, police, and their prisons to this land. We approach this and other bedrocks of capital with an eye for destruction: for every rail blocked, a camera smashed. For every cop car put to ruin, a prison razed.

We are inspired in part by the handful of other rail blockades in the Montreal-Toronto corridor in the last few years, although ours are different in form.

From coast to coast, we will act on the desires we feel in the pit of our stomachs, in the cockles of our hearts, until the rush of our longing to put an end to this world of cages and surveillance washes the freight train of social control into the sea.

Ontario, Canada: Anarchists Sabotage Train Traffic on Mayday

Reposted from

May 1st 2010

As part of a coordinated day of attacks on the rail infrastructure, we destroyed the largest maintenance shed for electrical circuits in the area north-east of Toronto on the CN mainline. Two firebombs were placed in the shed, next to the fuses, batteries and wiring.

This action was done in the spirit of the general strike; taking immediate action towards the destruction of capitalism.

Solidarity with anarchists in the streets, imprisoned or facing trial around the world!

Solidarity Demo at Prison, Milton, Ontario

(Posted here)

On Sunday, April 18th, 40-50 Anarchists and their friends held a noise demo in solidarity with prisoners locked up at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex and Vanier Center for Women. This superprison is located 30 minutes west of Toronto. As the march began, the front sign into the prison was spray-painted with the slogans “against prison” and “against police.” We walked around the (large) perimeter of the institution with banners, yelling fierce chants, lighting fireworks and banging on drums. The prisoners mirrored our excitement with powerful rhythmic banging, yelling and cheering. This enthusiastic response was felt deep in our crew. We were inspired to see the immediate and tangible result of our solidarity. The cops and screws were certainly not pleased with our presence there (and we certainly are never pleased with their presence anywhere). Despite the cops’ intentions, no arrests were made. On the way out we cut through the parking lot to distribute flyers.

Here is the speech that was read through a megaphone twice – once next to Vanier, and again near the maximum security wing of Maplehurst:

“There are about 1900 people locked inside this provincial superprison. Over 2/3 of whom are awaiting trial and haven’t even been convicted of a crime.

“The reason I’m here today is to express solidarity with prisoners locked behind these walls, and all prisoners fighting for freedom. I want the people inside Maplehurst and Vanier to know that they are not alone; that we are thinking of them out here, and we desire to destroy these cages with them. With all its violence and cruelty, repression and isolation, surveillance and harassment, prison is a daily reality that can’t be ignored or tolerated.

“Ultimately, the reason I’m standing here is because I want freedom. Not just this shitty excuse for ‘freedom’ we are offered on the ‘outside’ as long as we stay confined within the realm of acceptable behavior. I want a lot more than that. I want freedom from rape culture and patriarchy, police repression and court battles. I want freedom from borders and deportations, colonization and racism, and freedom from the State constantly dictating my choices.

“We can gain strength to fight for a world that we want to see, and challenge each other to create it. The dim reality that is this fucked up world can be confronted, as the function of prison can be weakened by our solidarity.

“I want to express solidarity with Giannis Dimitrakis, a bank robber and anarchist revolutionary from Greece who has an appeal to his 35 year sentence coming up on April 28. I also want to express solidarity with comrades in Vancouver facing repression and charges for the resistance during the Olympics. This is for all our comrades in Greece and everywhere who are rising up real fierce to tear down the prison-world. Across borders and oceans we can inspire each other and share struggle.

“There are no ‘humane’ forms of incarceration and punishment. Because the one thing the state can never give us is our freedom. This we will always have to take for ourselves.


Here are some chants to share:

“In Every City, In Every Town, Burn Their Prisons To The Ground!”

“They Can Take Our Lives Away, But Not Our Dignity! Our Hearts Will Pound Against The Walls, Until We Are All Free!”

“Prisoners Everywhere, Solidarity and Love! Against The Violence of Capital, Our Struggle Is One!”

“Maplehurst and Everywhere, Fire To The Prisons!”

“Milton To Greece, Fuck The Police!”

Solidarity Noise Demo at the Northwest Detention Center – Tacoma

On April 17th twenty to thirty anarchists from the Puget Sound Area at 2:00PM. Went to the Northwest Detention Center, and held a solidarity Noise Demo for those imprisoned on the inside. The Northwest Detention Center owned and maintained by GEO Group, sits tucked away in the tide flats of Tacoma Washington. It is one of thirteen different detention facilities in the United States, including Guantanamo Bay in Cuba which are owned by GEO Group a private correction corporation. Housing now 1500 people it was newly renovated in September of 2009 to house 500 more prisoners taken captive from Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and Oregon. Which is part of a large plan by Homeland Security called Operation Endgame.

We held three banners reading “ICE = SS” “Fuego a La Carceles” and “Against Prisons, Solidarity with all Prisoners” chanted “No Prisons No Borders Fuck Law and Order” “A-C-A-B! All Cops are Bastards!, And I-C-E all Cops are Bastards” “FUCK I-C-E SET THEM ALL FREE” “The Passion for Freedom Is Stronger than their Prisons” through a megaphone and with our voices and banged buckets, metal pipes and used an air horn. Many personal threats where also made at the private security walking in and out of the detention center.


We see this as an act of solidarity with all people that are held captive in not just detention centers but prisons everywhere. Which is inevitably connected to the confinement within the prison world we live in daily.

For the freedom of all imprisoned!
The destruction of prisons and the prison world that maintains them!

Some anarchists from the Northwest.

ATM Heist in Toronto

Feb. 20th – Two people crash a stolen pickup truck through glass doors at the Metro Convention Centre around 4:30 a.m. and steal an ATM holding $100,000. They drove to the ATM, knocking over signs, chairs and planters in their path. The Metro Convention Centre will be the location for the G20 meeting in Toronto, June 25th – 27th.

Clashes with Police at Montreal Protest

UPDATE: Communique from some of the anarchists who attacked police, here. At least one anarchist faces trial for the street action.
March 17, 2010 – 8:39pm

Amy Minsky, The Concordian (Concordia University)

MONTREAL (CUP) — Havoc broke out within minutes of Montreal’s 14th annual anti-police brutality march on Monday, resulting in about one hundred arrests.

Arresting large groups, riot police gathered people and cornered them against a wall. The two sides remained in a standoff for over an hour before the protesters were loaded into city buses and carted to a police station in the city’s east end.

Michael Connors, a Concordia University journalism student, was in a standoff against police with about 30 other people, at the corner of Hochelaga Street and Prefontaine Street.

“Basically none of the people in that group were the ones performing any of the protests,” Connors said from the police station. “It felt more like we were used as examples for the rest of the crowd. We were unlucky, in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Connors, alongside everybody else who was cuffed, searched, and led to one of three city buses, received a citation for being at an illegal assembly.

Crowds of demonstrators gathered outside the Pie-IX subway station in the east end of Montreal beginning around 5 p.m. on March 15.

Before leading the crowd south along Pie-IX Boulevard, organizers made an appeal to both the demonstrators and police to remain calm and peaceful.

The plea was quickly forgotten.

A smaller group of demonstrators, dressed head-to-toe in black clothing, were seen coming from a driveway on Pie-IX Boulevard, many reaching into garbage cans and under vehicles, grabbing full garbage and grocery bags.

Minutes later, after turning east on to Ontario Street, a BB gun shot was fired. Paintballs were fired as the marchers encountered the first group of police, dressed in full riot gear, with some on horseback.

As a warning, police tapped their billy clubs against the shields.

In response, firecrackers were launched at police, eventually provoking a brawl that saw four or five men, alleged to be undercover cops, flee the pack of marchers.

Though organizers never revealed the path for the march, police seemed prepared, armed and ready at almost every turn.

Demonstrators were chanting, “Fuck the police,” “Liberer nos camarades,” and calling police “assassins.”

Some said the police presence was too strong at the march, which has developed a reputation for becoming violent.

“Sometimes the police act violently towards protesters, and that’s unacceptable,” said Stefan Christoff, a social activist, musician and journalist based in Montreal. “But really, what I think is important today is why so many people are protesting, and why those numbers are increasing every March 15.”

Approximately 200 people participated in the 1998 march, while last year’s event drew over 2,000.

Last year, over 220 people were arrested. Six police cruisers were vandalized, some of them being lit on fire.

Police Station Attacked in Montreal

Reposted from

Montreal, 13 March – A police station in the St. Henri area, was attacked by persons unknown. Heavy stonethrowing resulted in the breaking of the windows of the police station and eleven cop cars. The onboard computers were also damaged. Slogans such as: ‘Fuck the Police’ and ‘All Cops Are Bastards’ were found at the spot.

Precisely on Monday, in Montreal, a march against police brutality is due to take place.

News on a Collective Hunger Strike and the Struggle Against Prison

From the 20th December 2009 to the 1 January 2010, Gabriel Pombo da Silva, anarchist imprisoned in Aachen, Germany, has declared a hungerstrike which prisoners from at least three jails in Chile including Axel Osorio have stated they will join. Marco Camenisch (in Switzerland), Jonatan (Sweden), Juan Carlos, Francisco, Honorio and Alberto (Spain), Diego (Argentina), Sergio, Mike, Evelin, Luca and Pasquale (Italy) have also said they will participate. Many other prisoners are expected to join, in solidarity with the struggle of Gabriel and in a common collective refusal of authority and the prison system. Gabriel hoped it might make the Christmas celebrations seem even more ridiculous than usual.

In a recent solidarity action on 30 November in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, by Anonymous Anarchist Action, 28 police vehicles were torched out of use. The action was dedicated to “the International Week of Agitation and Pressure in Solidarity with the Prisoners Seized by the Chilean State, and in support of comrade Gabriel Pombo Da Silva’s call for a hunger strike as a means of revolutionary struggle for our comrades in prison. Our action is in solidarity with comrade Emmanuel Hernández Hernández (prisoner in Mexico City), Gabriel Pombo Da Silva, Marco Camenisch, Juan Carlos Rico Rodríguez, Sergio María Stefani, Francesco Porcu, Alessandro Settepani, Leonardo Landi, Pablo Carvajal, Matías Castro, Axel Osorio, Diego Petrissans, Amadeu Casellas Ramón, Alfredo María Bonanno, Christos Stratigopoulos, and all the anarchist prisoners of the social war.”

Solidarity means attack! Destroy all prisons!

Here are a few of the solidarity actions which took place :

Hamilton, Ontario, Kanada – New Years Eve Noise Soli Demo

On December 31, 2009, about 30 anarchists took to the streets in Hamilton, Ontario surrounding the Barton St. Jail (or the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Center). Our intention was to show solidarity with prisoners locked behind those walls, and also as an act of solidarity with the revolutionary prisoners on hunger strike throughout the world.

This action was an attempt to break the isolation between inside and outside the prison walls. We used our voices, drums, fireworks, whistles, and other noise-makers to disrupt the day-to-day normalcy of the prison. We chanted: “The passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!” , “No prisons, no borders, fuck law and order!” , “They might take our lives away, but not our dignity. Our hearts will pound against their walls until we are all free!”

Prisoners waved and banged on the windows while we were outside. We wished them a Happy New Year.

There was also a banner that said “ESCAPE” attached to helium balloons that was freed next to the prison and floated into the sky. It was originally intended to say “escape into rebellion” but our 120 latex helium balloons weren’t enough to lift it into the sky. We decided to cut it down to roughly 6 x 3 feet because we wanted a flying banner.

A speech was read on two sides of the prison through a megaphone.

Here is the speech:

“I’m standing here today because I refuse to accept the leash of submission that this society hopes to tie around my neck. With every one of its laws, courts, cops, prisons and networks of surveillance, it’s made very clear that the “life” we’re supposed to accept is nothing more than a life sentence in an open prison.

“I’m here to stand in solidarity with the fifteen social rebels who’ve been on hunger strike in prisons around the world because they continue to refuse the meek existence that the state and capital tries to impose on them with every weapon that it has available.

“I’m also here in solidarity with the man who escaped from the [custody of] Barton Jail a little while ago, as well as his accomplices, and anyone on the inside who yearns for freedom and will do what it takes to take their lives back.

“Because with every act of solidarity and with every individual who attacks this prison world, alone or with others, the walls that stand between us begin to look a hell of a lot a thinner. For an end to prisons and the world that needs them!

“Let’s escape into rebellion!”

This prison is located close to downtown Hamilton in a working-class neighborhood. For many of us who have spent time or live in Hamilton, Barton Jail is not an abstract or seemingly invisible place – it is a constant threat and reminder of the reality of prison. People who live here have spent time in it, know people who have, or are well aware that they may one day find themselves kidnapped behind its walls. These might be some of the reasons why people getting groceries at the supermarket next to the jail and people walking by, who checked us out, took the time to express their solidarity. Some people stood with us and cheered, while others took part in the noise demo by honking their car horns in the supermarket parking lot. One woman used the megaphone to wish her own happy new year to the prisoners. Also, a child took a picture of the flying banner. The excitement both on the inside and the outside revealed possibilities of, and will only push us further in, the struggle against prison and its world.



Berlin, Germany – 500 Strong Anti-Prison Demo

500 people were at the legendary New Year anti-prison manifestation, which has occured at Berlin’s Moabit prison every last day of the year for the previous 20 years. This time the slogan for the demo was “New Year’s Eves to the prison – for the destruction of all forms of imprisonment” (trans). This demo addresses all the prisoners, to show them that they do not rot forgotten behind grey walls, we demand the abolition of all prisons, since prison do not represent any solution to the present social conditions. The demo started at Tower U-Bahnhof at about 10:45pm, and went briskly to the prison broadcasting suitable music, arriving at the prison shortly before midnight, where there was a positive welcoming reaction from the prisoners. The French Hip Hop “Mary Read Collective” played some songs and clarified their refusal of the dominant conditions and their prisons. Police attempted to create a repressive atmosphere towards the throwing of snowballs and fireworks from the demo towards the police lines. There were 2 arrests. Some photos here. ACAB.

Hamburg, Germany – Demo with fireworks and music

In the early evening an undeclared demonstration of around 20 people took place with slogans and fireworks to show the prisoners they are not alone. The prisoners answered the demo with shouts and greetings. Then later at 11pm 250 people turned up for a demo, where there was spoken contributions in German, Turkish and Russian on a sound-system. The gates of the prison were painted with slogans, amongst other things, “Fire and flames to the state”, and fireworks were thrown during the whole demo, and an arrest was prevented. There were many reactions and contacts with prisoners, calls, in addition, paper burnt from the windows and thrown down. Banners were fastened in the trees outside reading, amongst others, “Solidarity with all fighting prisoners”. At 1am the demo was terminated and closed with slogans.

Brussels, Belgium – Machine-gunning of the prison of Forest

Just after the start of the New Year 2010, the main door of the prison had been targeted with shots from an automatic firearm. Altogether 40 cartridge cases were found by the forensic police that arrived at the scene. The shots took place at 0.40 hours. That is what was revealed by the cctv camera images inspected by the prison management. In these images it is possible to see the shadow of a vehicle appearing in the street before the windows of the huge door of the prison were shattered. The cartridge cases found at the scene were those of a weapon of war, a kalachnikov. It goes without saying that the shots would have been fatal for a human being. The shots were so strong that they reached in interior of the prison, shattering a ventilation shaft. Fortunately there was nobody behind the door when the event took place. A member of personnel in charge of the surveillance of this main access to the prison was at his place just above the level of the entrance door.

Brighton, UK – New Years Eve solidarity at Lewes prison

“Around 30 people celebrated New Years Eve outside Lewes prison (near Brighton) with fireworks and a sound system, as well as banners against the prison state and shouting messages of support. Those inside Lewes currently include one of those charged with (and currently on remand for) decomissioning the EDO bomb components factory in Brighton. The evening’s comedy highlight was the police (all four of them) deciding to try and turn off the sound system during the last song we planned to play, as they objected to the lyrics of the Xmas number one by Rage Against The Machine. After some push and shove while people sang along to ‘fuck you I won’t do what you tell me’, they backed off, and people headed off to continue their New Year celebrations somewhere warmer while prisoners shouted for us to come back the next night…”

Bristol, UK -NYE Solidarity Action at Horfield Prison

“As another decade of neoliberal warfare was ushered in, a group of 20-30 comrades, criminals and low-lifes released fireworks into the grounds of Horfield Prison. Slogans were painted on the fortress walls. Loud noise was made. This act of solidarity was intended to show those locked up inside, whilst the rest of the city was celebrating the new year, that they were not forgotten. Many other cities across Europe and the rest of the world experienced similar acts of solidarity to those incarcerated, whatever their ‘crime’ might be.

Inside and outside of those walls we are all prisoners. Fire to the prisons. Death to imperialism. Solidarity with all people and communities resisting the onslaught of planetary control and exploitation that is industrial civilisation.”


Barcelona, Catalunya – Pigs’ union attacked

“We have begun the year in the best possible way, by attacking the pigs’ union on Calle Bruc, right in the middle of Barcelona. An incendiary device was used, which damaged the entrance to the building. The damage caused will always be dwarfed by how much we hate them.

With this action, we salute all the comrade prisoners in struggle, all those underground, and all those who fight capital.

May the “celebrations” continue.”

Anonymous; January 1, 2010

Santiago de Compostela, Spain – Two police stations attacked

“On New Year’s Eve, we attacked two police stations in Santiago de Compostela as a special way to welcome in the blessed year. We firebombed both a van and a car at the local police station (next to the Plaza del Obradoiro), and we left another device at the national police station on Rúa Pitelos.

Vengeance for Tamara, vengeance for the anarchist prisoners on hunger strike (Gabriel, Marco . . .), vengeance for the arrests of our Greek comrades, vengeance just because, vengeance . . . why not? It seems the vehicles were quite damaged, but it’s a pity the bad weather didn’t help burn them even more.

We are losing our fear.”

Madrid, Spain – Vengeance in downtown

“Yesterday, December 31, 2009, at 11:50 p.m., we placed an incendiary device with a delayed ignition at the Plaza de La Remonta, next to the police station.

The attack was specifically directed at the repressive organs of the state, which for the last few months have increased their level of repression, along with all that implies.

The device was only placed as a warning. It is nothing less than a preview of things to come.

Repression means attack!


Athens, Greece – Demo at Koridalos prison

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