Harper’s policies making prison inmates more violent, society less safe, correctional officers tell voters

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is deceiving the public about being tough on crime, according to the union representing Canadian correctional officers who claim that the Conservative government’s budget cuts to inmate training programs are making penitentiaries more violent for the officers.

Dozens of correctional officers working in Ontario penitentiaries who are affiliated with the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) went door to door in the riding of Kitchener-Centre today to urge voters not to support the Conservative Party of Canada in the next election. 

“The Conservative government claims it’s tough on crime. This tough on crime agenda is nothing but smoke and mirrors aimed at reassuring voters,” said Robert Finucan, UCCO-SACC-CSN’s Ontario regional president.

The union claimed that the inmate training program was hit hard when the Conservative government cut $355 million from the Correctional Service’s budget, and as a consequence of this decision, penitentiaries have become more dangerous for correctional officers.

The officers point out that since many inmates will end up in the community sooner or later, they should be given the opportunity to develop skills so they can reintegrate into society.

“This government is lying to you, and it’s doing nothing to ensure the safety of Canadians, quite the opposite,” Finucan added. “We are meeting with voters to make sure they have the information they need to make an informed choice at election time in the fall,”

Finucan’s view is shared by the opposition NDP who highlight the importance of providing programs for education and social rehabilitation to prevent prisons from becoming revolving doors.

“Inmates who are neglected in terms of education and social reinsertion are liable to reoffend and fall back into a life of crime,” Rosane Doré Lefebvre, NDP MP for Alfred-Pellan, QC, said. “Many studies have proven this. The correctional investigator has mentioned it often in his reports and appearances before the committee. The experts know what is happening on the ground. They include the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies and the John Howard Society of Canada.”

“As a society, seeking to make our communities extremely safe is a wise choice,” she added. “When I am walking down the street, I want to be safe, I want my daughter to be safe, and I want my friends and colleagues to be safe. For that to happen, we have to make sure that these offenders do not fall back into the cycle of crime.”

24 Responses to Harper’s policies making prison inmates more violent, society less safe, correctional officers tell voters

  1. CX says:

    After many dealings with Robert Finucan UCCO-SACC-CSNs Ont. president myself along with many other Correctional Officer have witnessed many lies and made up stories from him. He is only out for his pay check that the union dues pay for and he could care less about anyone.

    • Joan says:

      So you think all this is lies? I don’t.

    • DCBC says:

      Hey CX, why don’t you name all of these correctional officers that you claim have something against him and perhaps go to the regional office and discuss that with him in person. Or is that not in you to do, other than talking tough on a forum. Also, this is a concern for all Cx, or are you not one? Just one that probably didn’t get his/her way in a personal issue as it was most likely frivolous. You need to be better than that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh yikes, sad sad! It is the blindly ignorant members of the public who make this government so dangerous. Just reading this one response makes me realize how little some pay attention to information put out there, not only by correctional officers, but many others who work within the Canadian prisons. So confused as to why you think this is put out there by one disgruntled cx. Did you not read the article?? Makes me cringe to see such comments made by people who truly have no clue. Correctional officers are canvassing door to door straight across the country regarding such issues. I hope you are able to speak to some in order to shed some light on these issues, as you clearly are extremely ignorant to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come on. Most unions R looking me that anyways. The bottom line Harper is an evil monster. Please don’t distract from that and try to avoid the elephant in the room so u can bash unions.

    • SM says:

      The Conservative Party is known to employ people to support their viewpoint and bash others on websites and social media. If you can’t back up your claims with solid evidence, for all we know what you’re saying is simply more of their lies.

    • TD says:

      Looks like you drank more of the kool-aid than most. And speaking of lies, what has our P.M. said today?

      • NW says:

        I.e., what he says is true, as proven by the fact that you found it necessary to dish out precisely what he/she refers to.

      • Sean M says:

        They all employ their own internet trolls, not just the Conservatives. The bad thing is I trust Unions as much as I trust Politicians. An I am a CUPE member and my cousin is a Correctional Officer.

    • Anonymous says:

      CX sounds like a paid Conservative troll. Finucan does not rep my region nor do I know him but what he has said in this article is spot on. CX remember when you point a finger 4 point back nice try on the troll I hope you are paid well….

  2. C.Prindiville says:

    I couldnt agree [email protected] habitual offenders have Mental Health issues which are ignored and the system is not set up for councilling and rehab. Not to mention an addict need imidiate intervention NOT a mile l
    9ng set of rules and requirments not to mention wait list. No winning with this set up!

    • Anonymous says:

      Here is the problem ..lack of programs..for the inmate while in prison. (which should be mandatory that the inmate participates in. Rehabilitation is key..as others have said to prevent them coming back after they are released. There are not enough counsellors..therapists (good ones) shortage of quality mental health workers has been an issue forever. What we need as well is parents to be vigilent as to seeing the beginnings of possible destructive behavior…Stop it before it gets to the point where they end up in jail…by getting them the help they need before it escalates to where they are one step away from doing provincial/or federal time. Preventative is the answer…in a perfect world.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. We have a revolving door of addicts, thiefs etc that we see leave and come back over and over. The one skill that helped keep ex cons on the street (the kitchen worker education) has been scrapped for a little bit of savings in money. There should be productive jobs that inmates work each day to help pay their way, instead of warehousing which creates dangerous situations for officers who have to deal with their pent up energy. Tough on crime has done nothing to stop the massive drug problems we having in and outside the institutions! Harpers cuts are also forcing the hands of institutions to receive higher level inmates than what they should (remember the max jail closure). They have made our jails tougher yet fall back on the lack of a budget to put proper infrastructure and staffing. Staff and the public safety are not always on the minds of this government.

  3. C.Prindiville says:

    I couldnt agree more! Many habitual offenders have Mental Health issues which are ignored and the system is not set up for councilling and rehab. Not to mention an addicts need imidiate intervention NOT a mile long
    set of rules and requirments not to mention wait list. No winning with this set up!

  4. Barb phillips says:

    i totally agree with cuts made are s very serious issue. Safety none. Inmates need these program most definitely. We don’t want more violence on our streets. Harper is a total idiot and a liar. Everything is smoke and mirrors. Tom Flanagan quote…he is ruthless. All Canadians should be concerned about just what the these omnibus bills. He tucks much into them….SCARY. Harper has ruined our image all over the world. He breaks our constituents, bill of rights. Many cases the Supreme Court has nnocked down…we should be concerned how many times he has broken our laws. What if we all did that. He is the worst PM we have ever had. Won’t debate on networks. I think he is scared. He should be because any Canadian who is well read about this party would NEVER For him!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Brethren, union issues aside, including our high dues. This Harper government is bad for CX equally across this country. Let’s get our msg heard and participant instead of just complaining in the bubble.

  6. Shelley Ollivier says:

    I personally feel it is most necessary for inmates to be educated & taught a trade. Knowledge is power. Any decent society recognizes this. It’s damn expensive to keep men & women locked up. Why not give them a trade so they have an opportunity to rebuild their lives upon release? Many have spouses & children. It is truly a chain reaction on society at large. We’ve all seen what the USA’s SuperMax Prison’s are about. Incarceration for 23.5 hours a day. All you hear are trapped humans screaming, banging on anything to create an insanely, unbearable volume of noise. That’s an uncivilized way to be treated. Yes, of course there are those that have committed the unthinkable, where are they? Solitary confinement. For the safety of Correctional Officers and for their betterment too, (Anger and hatred begets anger and hatred) no matter how mentally skilled an Officer may be. Society needs to step up a notch and yes that means human decency towards people who have made an error in judgment, some egregiously so. If they are released no better off then when they came in, then where is their hope? Where is their family’s hope? How does our society improve? It doesn’t. It is a domino effect that erodes small towns, big cities, and ultimately our country. I don’t know what is going on inside our prisons. If, in fact, this is true, then we really need to look for another “representative” for the people. Because Mr. Harper, apparently, has forgotten his appointed role in doing what’s best for the greater good.

  7. Ken says:

    When Government cuts programs for inmates they immediately make correctional officers lives more difficult. There are the odd screw that gets in the business for personal reasons and that is always for the detriment of rehabilitations hopes. Every system has its outliers. Inmates are the issue here though, nobody will argue Ashley Smiths’ case is a sad and regrettable one. You do not point a finger at any one weakness in a system full of faults. Are cons free one day and incarcerated the next, and then free again with no net gain or loss in the interim? It should be time served at the end of the time. Life goes on and time does factor. We deny the con access to the changing technologies, we also deny the manufacturing sector subsidies relying on failing resources economies. I do not think I am less safe due to program cut backs in the pens. These cuts affect rehabilitations, cons will eventually return to society, what is waiting for them? That worries me.

  8. Dave says:

    “The Conservative government claims it’s tough on crime. This tough on crime agenda is nothing but smoke and mirrors aimed at reassuring voters,”
    Anyone paying attention at the time knew that. And you can be sure that private prisons are next on the agenda.

  9. Another CX says:

    Hey CX ….. Is that you Mike?

  10. Chris Warren says:

    If it’s true that Harper has made so many cuts to the prison system then it’s time to vote Liberal for the decriminalization of marijuana. This will definitly lower inmate populations and maybe the current prison system budget will be enough then.

  11. jose says:

    I just want my sick leave I earned it its my entitlement

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is public safety that is of concern! Not only is the danger to the correctional officers but
    What about the food services officers that Pass out knives in a locked kitchen to
    Teach the offenders to cook and have skills, what about the parole officers who have
    One on one interviews with these offenders, what about all the other staff within the
    Prisons who have contact with these offenders?
    Before passing judgement on lies that you believe are being made up I invite you to
    Come and work a day in my shoes and then tell me what a privledge it is to work in
    This environment!
    I have worked there for 20 years and have witnessed verbal abuse, assaults , feces
    And urine thrown at me and several other unimaginable things!
    So the next time you want to make a statement that we are liars you should
    Get YOUR facts straight.

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