ARCHIVED - Correctional Investigator Supports Calls for Prison Reforms

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OTTAWA, April 27, 2006 - Today, Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator, congratulated the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CJCCJ) for publishing a special issue about prisoners' human rights and the need for oversight. As Canada's prison Ombudsman, Mr. Sapers remains concerned about fair and humane treatment of federal offenders.

"Through respecting the human rights of offenders, we as a society convey a strong message that everyone, regardless of their circumstance, race, social status, gender or religion, is to be treated with inherent respect and dignity" says Mr. Sapers. "The best argument for observing human rights standards is not merely that they are required by international or domestic law, but that they actually work better than any known alternative - for offenders, for correctional staff and for society at large. Compliance with human rights obligations improves, though does not guarantee, the likelihood of releasing a more responsible citizen in a timely fashion" adds Mr. Sapers.

The tenth anniversary this month of the release of the landmark report by Madame Justice Louise Arbour, now UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, concerning the treatment of offenders at the Prison for Women in Kingston (Ontario) is an opportune time for a special issue of the CJCCJ. Despite subsequent calls for correctional reforms, many of Madame Justice Arbour's recommendations have not yet been fully implemented.

A number of articles in this special issue call for reforms previously made by Mr. Sapers in his past Annual Reports to Parliament. These include the introduction of independent adjudication for administrative segregation; the urgency to improve the Correctional Service's inmate grievance process to ensure fair and timely resolution of offender complaints; the necessity to improve access to programming and services specifically designed to meet the needs of women, Aboriginals, and offenders with mental health concerns; and the need for Canada to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture to strengthen external oversight mechanisms.

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For further information:

Ivan Zinger, LL.B., Ph.D.
Office of the Correctional Investigator
Tel: (613) 990-2690

To order your copy of this special issue:

University of Toronto Press - Journals Division
5201 Dufferin St., Toronto, ON, Canada M3H 5T8
tel: (416) 667-7810 fax: (416) 667-7881
Fax Toll Free in North America
1-800-221-9985
email: journals@utpress.utoronto.ca