From CBC News (link includes video)
A Conservative MP says the government has no plans to make double-bunking of prison inmates a permanent practice despite provision for future double-bunking in expansion plans for a federal prison in Kingston, Ont.
Plans by architectural and engineering firm Norr for the Collins Bay federal prison show standard cells to be built with provision for a “future upper bed.”
Double-bunking, or putting two inmates in one cell, does not meet the standard for inmates set by the United Nations, and Canada’s prisons ombudsman warned in his annual report last year about the increasing practise of double-bunking in Canada’s already crowded prisons.
But Candice Hoeppner, parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety, said any plans for double-bunking is temporary and just good planning.
“We’re not double-bunking on a permanent basis,” she told Evan Solomon, host of CBC’s Power & Politics.
“In fact, right now we don’t even need to,” Hoeppner said, adding that the estimated increase in the prison population will be less than originally expected.
But opposition MPs pointed to numbers from Correctional Services Canada that show 13 per cent of federal male inmates are already double-bunked in Canada, and the number is expected to rise to 30 per cent temporarily — even before the tougher sentencing provisions of the government’s omnibus crime bill, C-10, kick in.
“This [the Collins Bay plan] is a template … for all construction they are doing now, so they clearly have plans to do that,” NDP Justice critic Jack Harris said.
Harris noted that prisoners ombudsman Howard Saper has condemned double-bunking for increasing violence between inmates, threatening the safety of guards and increasing the problem of infectious diseases.
Hoeppner says Collins Bay was built in the 1930s and is in need of upgrades, and the double-bunking provision is just more capacity in case it is needed.
“When you look at the drawings and we refer to it, it actually just said just put in the metal placings for it, so it actually is not going to be a [second] bunk that’s built … there’s the metal [placings] in case a second bunk is required.”
But Harris said building in double-bunking is not good planning.
“The prudent planning would be to avoid the kinds of prisons policies that they’ve got now, which is going to lead to more violence, people with less rehabilitation after being in prison and coming out being more dangerous offenders than when they went in,” Harris said.
Correctional Services of Canada said last year in an internal document entitled “Infrastructure Renewal: Frequently Asked Questions,” that it was “conducting on-site investigations to determine the requirements for double-bunking and other short-term measures” due to expected over-crowding caused by tougher crime laws, especially the so-called Truth in Sentencing Act.
A Correctional Services spokesperson said the initiatives would be to deal with the short-term influx of inmates.
Update (February 10, 2012): Both the Kingston Whig-Standard and CKWS Newswatch have issued clarifications that confirm the EPIC statement below.
Regarding the Whig Article “Architect says firm targeted by vandals”
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2012
We, End The Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), would like to correct misinformation published in Tuesday’s Whig. EPIC is an activist organization that does research, educational campaigns, and demonstrations against prisons in Kingston. We have never claimed responsibility for any acts of vandalism, online or anywhere else. Further, EPIC, Occupy Kingston, and the Save Our Prison Farms Campaign are separate organizations. EPIC is not a branch of Occupy, and in fact none of these groups are affiliated with each other or with the vandalism at the downtown NORR architects’ offices, as the Whig article states.
End the Prison Industrial Complex
Sign the petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/no-norr-prisons/
Say “NO!” to prison profiteers in our community!
The Correctional Service of Canada is spending $1.7 billion dollars of our money to build new prisons across Canada to accommodate the anticipated boom in prisoner population that will inevitably result from the Conservative government’s massive crime bill. Despite the fact that even Republicans in Texas and California have acknowledged imprisoning people and building new prisons does not reduce crime, but does bankrupt the State, the Conservatives continue to pursue their agenda of prison construction at any cost. This means the further criminalization of communities of colour, immigrants, queer folks, drug users, and poor people. At the same time, public monies will be funneled into the private hands of the prison industrial complex.
The decision to build more prisons, despite dropping crime rates, is made by real people and implemented by real companies. NORR Ltd., a global professional services firm with a local office in Kingston, is one of those companies. David Jefferies (Principal) and architects David Ariss and Jonathan Hughes are directly responsible for the designs for the new units at Collins Bay and Bath. NORR offices are also designing the new provincial superjail to be located in Windsor, the South West Detention Centre.
The buildings NORR has designed are the leading edge of new prison construction in our community. Many of those effected by the new crime bill and by prison expansion will be here in Kingston, especially prisoners after they are released. The people of Kingston aren’t going to let this “law and order” agenda proceed without a fight!
Tell NORR Ltd., David Jefferies, David Ariss and Jonathan Hughes that you won’t stand by while they profit from the expansion of the prison industrial complex. Sign this petition to demand that NORR Ltd. issue a public statement declaring that they will not take on any more prison construction work.
End the Prison Industrial Complex!
Below is the text from an open letter posted today on the front door of NORR Limited, an architectural firm designing and profiting from new prisons in Kingston and Windsor, during our march against prison construction.
To the architects and owners of NORR,
Including Jonathan Hughes, David Ariss, and David Jefferies.
The majority of Kingstonians have clearly rejected the Conservative government’s so-called “Law and Order” agenda of prison construction. This agenda means the criminalization of communities of colour, immigrants, queer folks, drug users, and poor people. At the same time, public monies will be funneled into the private hands of the prison industrial complex.
The Conservative government is carrying out major construction of prisons even as crime rates continue to fall. They are taking money that should be available to address social problems, and instead making those very problems worse. Many of those affected will be here in Kingston, especially prisoners after they are released.
Last year thousands of people participated in a campaign to keep the prison farms open and to stall the Conservative agenda, and they are still paying attention. The building you’ve designed is the leading edge of new prison construction on that site, and people aren’t going to let this criminal agenda proceed without a fight.
We call on you to show the people of Kingston where you stand. We call on you to issue a public statement declaring that you will not take on any more prison construction work.
On the other hand, if you prefer to make profit even when it harms your community, then we will make sure the people of Kingston know it.
And we will be back.
End the Prison Industrial Complex!
MARCH TO STOP PRISON CONSTRUCTION!
WHERE: Occupy Kingston, Confederation Park (map)
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov 2nd, gather at 2:30 for a 3:00 march
WHAT: The Correctional Service of Canada is spending $1.7 billion dollars of our money to build new prisons across Canada to accommodate the anticipated boom in prisoner population that will inevitably result from the Conservative government’s massive crime bill. Despite the fact that even Republicans in Texas and California have acknowledged imprisoning people and building new prisons does not reduce crime, but does bankrupt the State, the Conservatives continue to pursue their agenda of imprisoning the poor at any cost.
HOW: The decision to build more prisons, despite dropping crime rates, is made by real people and implemented by real companies. The public should know who these people and companies are, and make them accountable. Bring banners and noise makers for a march against prison construction!
Resist Prison Construction!
EPIC Teach-in and Demonstration at #occupykingston
Monday, October 24th at 11am
Meet at (occupied) Confederation Basin, 216 Ontario St across from City Hall
Join members of End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) at Confederation Basin, at the site of #occupykingston, for a teach-in and demonstration against prison construction in Kingston. Members of EPIC will be sharing our new research on prison construction in Canada, exposing who is profiting from these developments, and proposing strategy for effectively resisting the expansion of the prison-industrial complex in Kingston.
The teach-in will be followed by a demonstration against the prison industrial complex, likely launching around 12:30pm. We will be sharing our proposal for an immediate action, discussing logistics with those in attendance, and then taking to the streets!
Bring noisemakers, banners, signs and/or sign-making materials, and dress for the weather!
See you Monday!!!