CORRECTIONS STALL TACTICS WILL FAIL: RUNCIMAN
OTTAWA, August 4, 2017 – Federal Corrections officials have been stalling the release of information about a pilot project to treat mentally ill female offenders for 14 months, waiting for him to leave the Senate, Senator Bob Runciman said today.
“On June 8, 2016, I asked for some very basic information from the Correctional Service of Canada relating to a project to provide treatment at the Brockville Mental Health Centre for women in the federal prison system,” Runciman said. “By law, they are supposed to provide this information within 30 days, but they asked for a lengthy extension. I appealed to the Information Commissioner of Canada, and here we are more than a year later, still waiting. The last I heard, they said it would be September before they could comply. I find that timing is suspicious, to say the least, considering my last day as a Senator is August 9.”
However, Runciman has arranged with Independent Senator Kim Pate, a longtime prisoners’ rights advocate, to file her own access to information request seeking information about the project.
The pilot project with the Royal Ottawa was announced in the spring of 2014. Later that year, Marlene Carter was transferred to the Brockville facility from a federal prison in Saskatchewan. She subsequently stabbed a nurse with a pen that was left with her and was later sent back to Saskatchewan. Runciman believes the project was set up to fail, because Corrections is more interested in protecting its turf than in finding real solutions.
He is seeking information about the establishment of the pilot, as well as the selection of the inmate. The records are confined to a single pilot project and to a short timeframe, Runciman said, meaning the failure to comply with the information request is a deliberate stall tactic.
“This is in keeping with the attitude of the leadership at Corrections. Their first reaction is to stonewall. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the minister needs to clean house at CSC. The leadership needs to go,” Runciman said.
Added Senator Pate: “The resistance of the Correctional Service of Canada to respond to its legal and policy obligations cannot continue unchecked. I will certainly pursue the access to information requests launched by Senator Runciman. The culture of denial and defensiveness must be replaced by one of transparency and accountability.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Barry Raison, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of Senator Bob Runciman, (613) 943-4020 or at email@example.com.