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Aug 30 2010

My reply to Mr.Bosomworth's prison article

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I just read Mr.Bosomworth’s commentary in the Lumby Valley Times. Although I found it condescending and misguided I won’t lower myself to name calling or straw man theories that confuse.

The issue is not about liking or disliking people who are behind bars. It’s not about providing programs to help inmates rehabilitate. It’s not about creating a “war”. It is not even about personal attitudes toward a prison in Lumby. This is about a physical structure to be used for incarceration two years less a day, otherwise known as a “Remand Centre”.

Remand is usually an over-crowded prison where people are held while they wait for trial. Even a newly built facility will eventually become overcrowded. The residents are not offered rehabilitation because you can’t rehabilitate someone who hasn’t been convicted. Some inmates won’t be convicted, some won’t even go to trial. Charges can be dropped or stayed and then, the Remand doors open, an inmate is released (usually without support, without money) to a shattered life that used to exist in some other community at some other time.

Remand Centres are a step back from the emerging restorative justice model – they create resentment and hostility in people. I don’t support Remand where people are warehoused for the convenience of the system. If we want people to act respectfully within society, society must model respect for people.

According to Canada’s Constitution, until someone is convicted, they are considered innocent but right now people who are legally innocent are incarcerated in Remand Centres. It’s time to find a solution to Remand beginning with services for people who need help with addiction and mental health issues as well as legislating adequate pay. Canada has the legal means to keep those charged with violent offenses off the street – we do not need to Remand more people when crime rates are declining. It’s up to us as to whether we want to participate in an unjust system.

I don’t think employees feel great about working in a place where the conditions and the effects of remand warranted time-and-a-half sentencing credit for going through remand incarceration. That this present Government has removed time-and-a-half sentencing for Remand is a strong indication that the Conservatives intend to maintain an inefficient legal system as part of their “tough on crime” agenda and rule by fear.

Perhaps we could send a message to the Federal Conservatives and the BC Liberals to make Remand Centres obsolete and streamline the justice system. Money is better spent on social services before people are charged – stop building facilities where people are deprived of basic rights under the guise of temporary housing.

The real issue is far greater than Lumby’s Community values. This is a national, moral, political, legal issue that demands attention and strong opposition. The people of Lumby can protest our current social injustice system by sending an e-mail to Mr. Colin Mayes MP and Mr. Eric Foster MLA.

thank you,
Priscilla Judd

2 comments

  1. CA Inmate Search

    Hello admin! This is very helpful posting thanks.

       0 likes

  2. Russ

    Well said. You are articulate, smart and very informed. Thank you for stating the facts that really underlie that whole issue.

       0 likes

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