Speaking Up

Speaking Up

There have been comments in the prison from Correctional Officers regarding Renford’s recent article in The Globe and Mail that aren’t sitting too well with him.

“I feel the difference in the air” he says.

Are Correctional Service of Canada staff fearful because the article has come out and now they feel that they’re being observed – to be held accountable for their actions?

Renford feels on edge as he waits for what he refers to as “the setup” – meaning the proverbial other shoe to drop. Being inside so long, from past experience, he knows how things work, and how most CSC staff take things very personally when an inmate speaks up about The Service.

Speaking up can cause you a world of trouble because you’re not supposed to.

When he declared “Black Lives Matter” Renford noticed a visible change in the way that he was treated by guards.

Even after being shot while coming out of his cell (for not reason), even the guard who shot him was aggressive with him for speaking up (read the National Post article here).

We do not speak out against what happens to us in here because we’re still here.

Renford discusses the recourse that inmates have regarding human rights or criminal complaints and the year-long, three-step grievance process that 90% of the time, gets you nowhere. Positions are interchanged, where different people take different positions on a weekly basis, so you can complain about a guard to another guard – his friend. There is no independent method of resolving these grievances – it’s seriously flawed and significantly biased.

Now, every time you walk through the institution, you’re that guy who put in the grievance against [that guard]. You’re pointed out and there’s no escape. You feel that tension. You know you’re trapped. They can come for you at any time and do what they will with you.

Now, Renford worries about the negative adverse treatment from his article. From the National Post article and the fallout from that, where he just told the truth, he experienced poor treatment from the staff.

The idea of a third-party committee, completely separate from CSC that handles grievances privately, anonymously and confidentially is discussed. How this doesn’t currently exist is beyond comprehension. It’s unfair.

The Office of The Correctional Investigator is a sham.

The little man always feels like “I can never win” and the consequences of going into the fight, so many are thinking, “Why bother?” This isn’t just in prison – it’s in the free world, too.

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