The treatment of offenders with mental disabilities is in the news again. The use of solitary confinement for mentally ill offenders has been going on for decades in Canada and our standing government has been made aware in dramatic style but prefer to use rhetoric rather than humanity. Some will say I hate conservatives. I don’t, I just don’t suffer fools well.
I met one of Mr. Harper’s men through the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and I feel like I had an enema. These people scare the crap out of me. Member of Parliament Mr. Blake Richards was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and I was sure I was watching “The King’s Speech” with all the stuttering. I Googled the man and I don’t think he’s the minister of anything. Thank God for that. It seems if you can move your lips and dance the Harper Hustle they will put you in front of a camera. Mr. Richards’ tie was straight but his answers were not. There must be a 7-eleven behind parliament because all I seem to see is a brain freeze. Seriously Stephen, there should be a Bill outlawing the Big Gulp during parliamentary hours.
It’s become a bad habit for Conservatives to discount good advice. If it come from a scientist, an association or even the Human Rights Commission these guys think its wrong because it isn’t part of their platform. I know Prime Minister Harper and company can run the country but I would feel better if they at least listened to people who are experts and not politicians. Just because you sound good in the green seats doesn’t mean you know a lick about what you’re talking about. There’s no shame in asking for directions when you’re lost especially if you’re guiding a country. If people who know what they are talking about use big words try Google.
Here is what the government chooses to ignore:
“It is the position of the Canadian Human Rights Commission that people with serious and acute mental disabilities should be housed in a treatment facility or hospital. In addition the Canadian Human Rights Commission continues to express deep concern over the practice of placing people with mental disabilities in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement should never be used for inmates with serious or acute mental disabilities.”
Apparently, Prime Minister Harper and Mr. Blake Richards find the advice of the Canadian Human Rights Commission superfluous. As a Canadian, as a human, I find importance in their words. We may not be prisoners but there may be an instance where their words affect us. If you had to choose someone to speak for you would it be the Canadian Human Rights Commission or an MP from Alberta?
According to MP Richards, Correctional Services Canada is the best place to determine how to deal with certain TYPES of offenders. Mr. Richards said I, I, I, I ah can’t speak specifically to decisions being made in terms of the proper course for offenders, that’s the job of Correctional Services of Canada and the experts there. I have met these experts and in fact been deeply impacted by their proper course. The Deputy Superintendent at the detention center I was held in administered to my needs. When I made a disturbance one evening in the medical cells I was delivered to the Hole. This man may have had community college but he didn’t look that smart. I outmaneuvered him while psychotic and he had no comprehension of the legalities surrounding being found Not Criminally Responsible on account of a mental disorder. I’m not saying everyone in corrections is stupid but when I see this man in a management position it makes me wonder.
Mr. Richards’ makes me wonder as well. Possibly he was the last student in the halls of democracy and pushed into the interview but he and the prime minister assume Canadians are stupid. The entire story revolves around the only dedicated psychiatric unit in Ontario being closed but he actually tried to tell me this government is ensuring proper funding is in place and that they are investing in mental health care for inmates. This government was warned by people who are experts not to close the Kingston facility but they closed it anyway. If this is investment what does a cutback look like? You can dress my dog in a tutu but she will never be a ballerina even if you call her Karen Kain.
MP Richards was asked if legislation is required to prevent solitary confinement of mentally ill persons. I went outside and kicked the snow off my satellite. The answer was from the Disney Channel to which I don’t subscribe. Mr. Richards stated that serious crimes need serious punishment and victims’ rights should be a priority. Is it actually a victim’s right that inhumane conditions and treatment be delivered to mentally disabled offenders? I rather doubt that is their intention and I’m sure they are ashamed to be linked to a government that hides behind their pain to the point of indecency and inhumanity. Isn’t that the problem to begin with? Does victimizing someone enhance, support or serve victim rights in any way? It’s easy to say what about the victims but it’s paramount we minimize their multiplication.
Offenders in general need to be rehabilitated if society is to benefit from their incarceration. Mentally ill offenders should be rehabilitated not only to enhance public safety but because it is moral. A broken bone in jail will receive treatment. When mental illness is recognized by this government as deserving of comparable treatment they will in fact represent a moral majority.
Mental illness should not be warehoused in an abandoned segregation unit no matter what colour you paint it. If Mr. Richards and Prime Minister Harper are so proud of their stance and policies they should paint the unit blue. It is a conservative crisis and the only reason it is a crisis is that there are no moral men sitting on that side of the house. You can point fingers and call it an “over dramatization” or a “politicizing of an issue” but until you have been locked in a 5 by 8 for 24 hours with delusions and more you can shut up and do what’s right. We don’t need your words.