Khadr’s lawyers ask court to demand decision on Guantanamo detainee’s return to Canada

Janet Hamlin

Saturday, July 14 – Globe and Mail


Omar Khadr’s Canadian lawyers are asking a federal court to order Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to make up his mind on whether to bring the Canadian convict back to serve time in Canada.

In an application filed on Friday, John Norris and Brydie Bethell asked judges to review what they argue is an unreasonable delay in deciding on Mr. Khadr’s transfer application. The 25-year-old was eligible to return to serve the rest of his sentence in Canada as of October, 2011.

Continue reading

Double-bunking in prisons not a problem for Vic Toews

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Thursday, July 12 – Globe and Mail


Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says he has no problem with the number of federal inmates sharing cells built for one.

And even as he reiterated his commitment to building 2,700 new cells in existing prison facilities, he said those additional units aren’t meant to alleviate the pressures caused by double-bunking – because there’s no need.

Continue reading

Telcos in talks with Ottawa to shape Internet ‘spy’ bill: documents

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Friday, June 29, 2012 – Globe and Mail


Public Safety Canada has been in close consultation with telecommunication companies over the logistics of Ottawa’s so-called Internet “snoop and spy” legislation – talks that dealt with who will shoulder the costs of pricey “intercept capabilities,” and whether it will even be feasible to monitor user behaviour in an increasingly complex “cloud-computing” environment.

The reams of e-mails, meeting and teleconference agendas, obtained by The Globe and Mail through an access to information request, indicate the talks extended more than a year prior to the government tabling its online surveillance bill in February.

Continue reading

As Canada shutters old prisons, its penal system is stretched to capacity

Photo by Kevin Van Paassen/Globe and Mail

Thursday, May 10, 2012 – Globe and Mail

Inmates in Canada’s federal prisons have been sleeping in trailers, interview rooms, family visiting spaces and gymnasiums, while the percentage of prisoners sharing cells built for one has nearly doubled in under three years, according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The documents, obtained from access to information requests, suggest a penal system stretched to capacity. Canada’s prison population has been rising since 2005 after years of steady decline, growing 7 per cent between March 31, 2011 and May 1, 2012.

Part of the latest increase can be attributed to the government’s tough-on-crime agenda. At the same time, the government will lose 1,000 beds after it closes aging penal facilities such as Kingston Penitentiary and Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que., but says it will more than make up the difference with new units.

Continue reading

Watchdog says prison violence is on the rise; Toews says it’s decreased


Tuesday, August 9, 2011 – Globe and Mail

Canada’s federal prisons are getting more crowded, more tense and more polarized between young and old inmates – and that’s contributing to an increase in violence and deaths behind bars, says Ottawa’s prison watchdog.

As new rules send more people to prison for longer periods of time, correctional investigator Howard Sapers argues, it’s putting a greater strain not only on Canada’s aging prison infrastructure but also on its inmates.

“The indicators that we look at in terms of getting a measure of institutional violence are all going in the same direction,” Mr. Sapers said. “And they’re all going up.”

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews argues that’s not so.

“I haven’t seen that statistic,” he said. “There isn’t as much prisoner-on-prisoner violence that used to exist eight or nine years ago, before we put in policies that restricted some of the movement of prisoners.”

Continue reading

The young convicts of Canada’s ‘Criminal University’


“It’s like Criminal University,” says Oluwasegun Akinsanya. “All you do in jail is sit down and talk – what he did, what he did, what he did. You realize, ‘Hey, that’s an opportunity.’ You learn from their mistakes. You’ll come back and do a better version.”
(Photo by J.P. Moczulski for the Globe and Mail)

Monday, July 18, 2011 – Globe and Mail

Canada incarcerates more convicted youth than almost any similarly industrialized country.

And new federal crime legislation is poised to drive those numbers higher, even though imprisoned teens are statistically less likely to get jobs after they’re released and, if anything, are more likely to reoffend.

Years after enacting laws that have been successful in reducing youth incarceration rates, Canada still sends five times more of its convicted teens into custody than England and Wales, according to data obtained from the British justice ministry and Statistics Canada’s justice arm.

Continue reading