More Stormy Weather or Sunny Ways? A Forecast for Change by Prisoners of the Canadian Carceral State
Upon being elected, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (2015) mandated the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson Raybould to review criminal justice laws, policies and practices enacted during the 2006-2015 period where successive Conservative federal governments were in power. Recognizing that the knowledge produced by prisoners, particularly when brought together with academic arguments, can serve to enlighten public discourse about the current state of carceral institutions, the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons undertook a Canada-wide consultation with federal prisoners with regard to what changes have occurred in the institutions where they have served time in the last decade. This paper, which summarizes that consultation, begins with an overview of the Conservative punishment agenda, followed with a thematic review of how these changes have affected prisoners and what they would like to see moving forward in the context of the governments promised review of the Canadian criminal justice system. Representing the captive from every region of the country at all security levels and privileging the voices of Women, Black, Indigenous, LGBTQ, and Elderly prisoners, the ten most prevalent areas of concern and reform that emerged include: sentencing, mental health, health care, food, prisoner pay, old age security, education and vocational training, case management and staff culture, parole and conditional release conditions, and pardons.
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