Prison tensions…

July 27, 2017

 Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
10 things I learnt from NOMS final annual report

Webster has an analysis of the final National Offender Management Service (NOMS) report for the UK prisons.  Recently there has been tension and controversy around the management of the UK prisons.  Webster draws out of the report 10 salient points for consideration.

London Review of Books – Blogger Elizabeth Fellowes

Gate Fever (UK) –

This item is a blog by the London Review of Books that reveals that deaths among inmates of the British penal system were up in 2016 by 19%, 113 suicides or 11% increase in self-inflicted deaths.  No one knows how many near misses or attempt were made but many recognize that the level of violence inside the prison system itself is a growing problem, in spite of the measures taken to prevent suicides.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales – House of Commons
Annual Report 2016 – 2017

The link is to a 116 page report on the state of prisons and prison life in the UK.  The report indicates a growing concern with safety in men’s prisons and overcrowding compounded with distance from families in women’s prisons.  There has been a sharp decline in staffing numbers while population numbers remain “stubbornly high.”  Levels of violence is also a concern in youth (15-18 years old) prisons.  The report uses four specific criteria for its assessments: safety in custody, respect, purposefulness and resettlement.,526GF,6JSCMH,JERJF,1   CF also Prison Reform Trust commentary:

Toronto Star – Tanya Talaga
Sen. Murray Sinclair to investigate Thunder Bay police board

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission, the group charged with overseeing the boards of the various police services in Ontario, has appointed Senator Murray Sinclair to investigate the Thunder Bay police where both the police chief and the mayor are facing charges.  The deaths of Indigenous youth is at the heart of allegations of “system racism” towards Indigenous people.  The appointment is apparently without assistance or support staffing.  The OIPRD is currently also investigating as is the Coroner.

Toronto Star – Brendan Kennedy
Immigration detainees can be jailed indefinitely, federal judge rules

Immigration critics confronting problems around the practice of indefinite detention of refugee claimants and immigrants are bitterly disappointed with this latest ruling lending legitimacy to the detention of stateless persons.  Federal Court Justice Simon Fothergill said in his judgment that the length of time permissible in detention depends on the individual case and its circumstances.  Advocates were asking the court to define a maximum time for holding a detainee without resolution.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Patrick White   Ontario guard faces discipline for tweets about inmate in solitary confinement

MacLean’s – Evan Solomon
What the death of a mentally ill inmate tells us about Canadian justice

The coroner’s report on the death of Soleiman Faqiri, a mentally ill inmate, after an altercation with guards at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, ON, seems to raise more questions than it solves.  Silence has reigned since the incident seven months ago but the autopsy revealed evidence of a serious beating: a serious laceration on the forehead and over 50 bruises in various places.  The conclusion:  “The cause of death is unascertained and the manner of death was undetermined.”

Friends of Crime Prevention – (Kitchener-Waterloo) – Community Justice Initiatives
Together we rock!

Here is a marvellous example of how a community can confront the harm done a community and work on ensuring a shortened life for that harm.  The program involves picking up flat stones from places one may go this summer, photographing and web posting the exercise, noting the origin of the stones and sending them to a drop off to the relayed for painting by inmates in the Grand Valley Institute for Women.  The “Abundant Love Rocks” are then sold to finance other community activities.  The process is simply explained in a series of six steps on their Twitter site. Fresh start is found on Twitter at:   The web page for the KW CJI site is: