COVID in The Prisons – Two Years Later

COVID in The Prisons - Two Years Later

Farrier speaks about the state of the prisons two years into COVID.

In April, 2020, he was interviewed by The Canadian Press about how things were going, and he reported the frustration and volatility that inmates experienced back then – including his being shot, while his hands were up, by a guard during a riot (and nothing being done about it to this day).

Things haven’t changed very much with “No end in site. We’re at the same place we were two years ago,” he says.

23-hour lockdowns, no in-person visits, minimal video visits, no school, no gym – a tremendous loss – no medical visits and fewer staff available to help inmates. Requests to management (by the inmates) for increased access to video visiting to interact with family have fallen to the wayside, and with only two screens available in a population of a few hundred, coupled with the loss of the gym as an outlet, mental health concerns like depression and anxiety are significant.

Trying to access their Parole Officer, when non-essential staff aren’t allowed within the Institution, prevents the inmate that’s coming up for parole from having accessible contact and furthering their progress to be able to get out and restart their life. Inmates who need their weekly appointment with the psychologist aren’t able to do so because there are no health-related video visits or phone calls being made accessible to prisoners, resulting in denial of care.

Inmates that test positive for COVID are put into the former segregation units, more isolated than they would be if they were in a normal segregation setting, and are completely isolated for 14 days with no contact other than the guards who bring their food or take them to the yard for an hour every few days.

With limited staff, it’s hard for many inmates to get things done, including accessing important things like the canteen to buy necessities. During this interview, Farrier was delayed because of a concern about how inmates had to choose between going out for fresh air and getting their canteen, many missing out on the opportunity.

Farrier talks about the push for vaccination by threatening to delay the release of an individual that was approved for parole, but had to stay inside almost two months longer while they emphatically encouraged vaccination, saying that, without it, there would be nowhere for him to go. CSC does not mandate vaccinations for prisoners.

Andrew Duffy writes about Justin Piché’s push to depopulate prisons before Omicron hits, and how this is certainly a viable option to help reduce the spread.

Want to help advocate for inmates during COVID-19? Your voice matters! Contact Anne Kelly, Correctional Service Canada Commissioner – [email protected] and via phone at 613-995-5781.

2 thoughts on “COVID in The Prisons – Two Years Later

  1. Speechless brother. You are by far one of the most nicest pure hearted human beings I have ever been blessed to meet and until this day I am grateful. When they charged me with m1 at the age of 19 and my 7 month old unborn son it was something that still raises the hairs on my arms everytime. You will get the day to be with him brother, just have to STAY strong. You are a super hero to alot of us homie, you have no fkn idea. You been thuggin it out too long in there though but God wont put you through ehat you cannot handle. Hope this is the turning point for the board but if not i know its a turning point for you brother. This platform is needed. You called me twice since my release n then burried my ass inna bloodclot dirt. Its Ace btw.

    1. Thanks for the kind words dem. I’m tryin’ to remember you, homie, because if it’s the same Ace from MTL, then I do remember you.
      I didn’t bury you, fam – I must have lost the number. Stay in touch, though – the fight goes on! RF

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