Tondra MacCharles reports this morning that, in Canada's prisons, the number of violent assaults is on the rise:
Over the past three years, ending March 31, 2012, the total number of assaults Correctional Services Canada reported behind bars rose from 1,415 in 2009/10, to 1,566 in 2010/11, to 1,669 in 2011/12.
That’s an increase of 15 per cent in just three years.
During that time, the poplation in Canadian prisons rose from 13,500 to 14,400. And yet Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced, as part of the Harper government's plan to streamline Corrections Canada, that three prisons will close -- the maximum security Kingston Penitentiary, a medium security Quebec facility, and the Ontario Regional Treatment Centre for the most serious mentally ill prisoners. The government intends to shift the 1,000 inmates affected into other existing institutions.
The prisons in the Kingston area are already 60% double bunked. It's no wonder then that Canada's chief prison investigator, Howard Sapers, reports that "the number of incidents where force was used against federal offenders has increased by 37 per cent in the past five years — to 1,339 in 2011-12 from 975 incidents in 2007-08."
Prison guards are under siege. And the government's new tough on crime legislation means that the population in Canada's prisons will rise.
Welcome to Stephen Harper's Canada. He intends to make it a meaner place. And it keeps getting meaner.