Tag Archives: human rights violations

Trick or Treat -Laws and Canadian Prison Inmates

inmate prison cells block

Laws in Canada are available across the nation for many Canadians. Laws are created to help keep society operating, and sets down rules for actions and behaviors that are unacceptable and applies consequences. They serve as guidelines for how people can best manage themselves both in private and in public life. Most importantly, to help keep harm from befalling the people.

Laws are created by the government and enforced by police and the Judicial system (Judges, jails, prisons). Citizens are able to go to court to defend themselves with a court-appointed lawyer, or hired lawyer.

A prison sentence can be applied for crimes that fall within the Canadian Criminal code. There are Federal, Provincial and municipal laws, courts and varying levels of consequences. Canadian prisons have a high number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) which should beg the question, why? And what does this say about the government, courts and nation, to accept such obvious differentiation?

I’m Indigenous, and would think, I’m NOT safe in this country because I’m colored. Does it seem like the Life of a minority is meaningless in this nation?

Crimes are committed by both genders, men and women, and Youth laws apply to youths since they too have proven that they can commit adult crimes. Outcomes of going through the court system, after age 18 for criminal charges, creates a Criminal record. This record keeps a record of all crimes that a person commits and, becomes a barrier towards finding employment in certain careers. It is permanent. Youth records get sealed but not always.

Tricks

Now, let’s take a peek at those behind bars residing in jail/prisons. A common antic that arises for an inmate nearing his/her release date. One or more inmates will go all out with violence to sabotage and/or cancel outright, the release of another inmate.

Such acts will ensure another criminal charge upon the inmate ready for release. This will prolong his/her stay in jail for another time frame, and until another court day is set for this new charge.

A deliberate physical assault gets initiated against the inmate set for release, and the one initiating the fight will ‘play‘ the role of victim. We’ll assign them as inmate A, ready for release, and inmate B, plans to stop the release.

Jails and prisons may and/or will have two inmates per cell. So, during lockdown the two inmates are in one room. Nobody is looking, staff shortages do not have guards patrolling the cells, and there may be no cameras. Inmate B will not have any witnesses other than maybe one or two cells across the aisle and those inmates may support his claim.

The distance between cells may skew line of sight. Nobody may see inmate B throwing the first punch. They may not see the non-stop attack being done upon inmate A. They may only see the middle-to-end fighting.

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Inmate A defending himself from harm and inmate B taking hits willingly even deliberately walking into the return punches. After all, the worst inmate B looks, the worst the jail and courts will see inmate A.

Once this assault has the attention of the prison guards. Inmate B enters his/her role, the victim of a physical assault. Inmate A is immediately removed and put into another prison area designated for the ‘violent’. A serious unpredictable environment literally has inmates in high stress and survival mode. Is this supposed to help ‘rehabilitate‘ inmates too?

Usually, an inmate is moved to a ‘range’ with other inmates soon to be released, and they wait out their time with minimal, if any, problems. Unfortunately, this practice may not be followed nor available.

Office of the Correctional Investigator

Oh yes, I know. This can’t be real! No way, etc, etc. It happens, is happening. I suggest you read one, or more, reports from the Office of the Correctional Investigator –> here to learn about the most recent 2019-2020 report.

The reports are honest and definitely fall within his Mission Statement of investigations and “ serves Canadians and contributes to safe, lawful and humane corrections through independent oversight of the Correctional Service of Canada by providing accessible, impartial and timely investigation of individual and systemic concerns.” I appreciate the honesty, courage, humanity and objectivity of these reports, and glad he can present them to Parliament.

It is greatly alarming to read about Corrections staff permitting harms between inmates, and permission from Superiors, to use ‘techniques‘ requiring brutal physical force upon inmates aka ‘pain compliance techniques‘ for 17 minutes.

Reading this section of the report was quite eye opening, and I have to ask the governments and all parties who ‘create‘ such policies, why allow inflicting such brutality on others? Add to these abhorrent acts done by Corrections staff – there are zero consequences. Nobody takes responsibility nor are charges applied. I do not see how such treatment of inmates helps to ‘rehabilitate‘ them for re-entry into mainstream society.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada has a Constitution Act with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and under Legal Rights, the following says :

Treatment and Punishment

12. Everyone has the Right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

The policy for ‘Pain compliance‘ has since been changed. No such force is permitted but how long will that last? We saw the effects on inmates of what ‘Segregation‘ does to the human mind. Yet this practice is still ongoing. It just has a new name, Quarantine being one. Inmates still sit in segregation cells for 23 hours and maybe, allowed out for one hour, and time runs out to use the phone for many when they’re forced to return to their cells.

Further into reading the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we will see ;

Application of Charter

27. The Criminal Law, except the Constitution of Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction, but including the Procedure in Criminal Matters.

  • 32 (1) This Charter applies
    • (a) to the Parliament and government of Canada in respect of all matters within the authority of Parliament including all matters relating to the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories; and
    • (b) to the legislature and government of each province in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of each province.

Read a little further into the Constitution Act and we’ll find a division between Federal and Provincial powers and jurisdiction that shows TWO Constitutions;

VI. Distribution of Legislative Powers

Powers of the Parliament

Legislative Authority of Parliament of Canada

28. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Penitentiaries.

Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures

6. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Public and Reformatory Prisons in and for the Province.

7. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Hospitals, Asylums, Charities, and Eleemosynary Institutions in and for the Province, other than Marine Hospitals.

Laws and Inmates

Sleight of hand? Create changes in policies to become law of the land. A method used in Federal and Provincial governments, to skirt accepting responsibility for any wrongdoing. Do you see it? One level of government follows the rules and turns a blind eye on the 2nd level of government allowing brutalities behind bars and near open abuses on the People. Both claim innocence and, ‘its for public safety‘ and neither allowing consequences for such brutalities.

Is this a Proud moment for Canadians?

Is this truly acceptable treatment of prison Inmates?

Do you question the state of mind of government officials who write policy?

Does each ‘erosion‘ of Rights mean LESS Protections for the People?

Should any level of government be allowed to ‘violate’ Constitutional rights of the People with impunity (exempt from punishment)?

Is this how Canada should be governed ?

Is there no ONE and TRUE Constitution now?

Learning in Motion

Reading Resources

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, PDF

What is difference between flawed democracy and full democracy?

10 Awful Canadian Violations of Human Rights

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Ask A Question’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. It is FREE to subscribe by RSS feed.

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Why Incite Domestic Genocide?

state genocide, united nations, human rights violations
why incite domestic genocide?

Laws are created to govern human behavior and enforced through institutions, such as law enforcement and judicial offices, to maintain peace and order. These laws are rules and guidelines designed by government or evolve as precedents by Judges.

What about laws created by governments to specifically ‘target’ and deny Rights to specific citizens or groups, for political or financial gain? Who now protects these citizens from their own government, and allows acts of ‘domestic’ genocide to be freely conducted ?

minorities of color

Study of Genocide

Rafal (Raphael) Lemkin had visited war torn nations where acts of genocide had been committed. He was the first to coin the Greek-Latin term ‘genocide’: ‘geno’ translated means ‘race, people’ and ‘cide’ in latin, means ‘to kill’. His experience with ‘group exterminations‘ led to writing his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.

Mr Lemkin would help orchestrate the introduction of the draft resolution for the ‘Genocide Convention’ treaty’, with support from the USA, to the United Nations, which was adopted December 9, 1951. It has withstood time and referenced for major cases of genocide.

Partial Acceptance of the Genocide Convention

The Genocide Convention did not fully accept ALL recommendations of Mr. Lemkins draft. He had tried to include ‘non-physical‘ aspects which referred to the ‘pschological‘ effects from acts of genocide that wasn’t related to outright murder.

This referred to acts such as ‘ a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.

The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.

Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group’ and he also includes the following;

“Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and the colonization by the oppressor’s own nationals.”

Intl Criminal Court HQ - The Hague-Netherlands

Methodology of Genocide

Mr. Lemkin believed that acts of genocide required ‘techniques‘ that would affect a people as a whole, such as the Russian genocide. Ukrainians died and suffered during a deliberate ‘famine‘ consequently wiping out five million Ukranians and ‘Ukranian Nationalism‘.

Lemkin considered this as wiping out a culture and nation. He stated how techniques could be used in other areas, to diminish a groups’ politics, social, cultural, economic, biological, physical self (endangering health, mass killing, religious) and/or their moral beliefs.

Two scholars from Canada, Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, would also draw their own observations on the subtle motives and characteristics of genocidal acts, categorized in the following;

Ideological, creating a society to hold ONE belief, race and culture
Retributive, steps are taken to eliminate real or imagined threats. Dominant group is in fear of rebels and/or outright rebellion.
Developmental, steps are taken by a dominant group, for economic gain.
Despotic, terror is spread against real or imagined threats.

Formation of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is considered one of mankind’s great achievements. It was set up to encourage governments from around the world to work together to keep world peace next to advancing economic partnerships, international laws, security, social progress, a podium for nation-to-nation discussions and protect human rights, on a global scale.

United Nations - Peacekeeper

It is an institution that has fantastic ideals but in reality, has become considered impotent, an office only for ‘prestige‘ and offers NO true protection. Most of the UN Military personnel  aka the ‘Blue Helmets‘ and UN Peacekeepers are called upon for Peace operations such as ;

    • protection of civilians and UN staff
    • monitoring of border challenges
    • monitor and observe Peace processes in post-war zones
    • provide security in conflict zones, and during elections
    • help host nation military with training and support
    • help former combatants through a Peace process

Unresolved Acts of Domestic Genocide

Domestic genocide (Kuper, 1985) is a problem that’s been found to exist yet remains un-addressed. It refers to ‘acts of genocide committed within a state/Province by citizens of the state/Province‘.

Prosecutions for these particular act(s) of genocide are ignored therefore begs the question, should those in knowledge , giving permission, be considered as ‘complicit‘, to the various forms of genocide being enacted? A definition of complicity is, a ‘partnership, or one is privy, shares criminal participance‘.

Atrocities have been committed and continue in this day and age (Rwanda, Darfur, Kurds, Yemen, America’s, etc). Acts and violations against others, have evolved, are practiced and explained (excused?)  away but are the very forms of genocide, that are NOT included, in the Genocide Convention. Do you see, and understand what minorities see, live through daily?

Indifference to Suffering of Minorities

Why allow citizens to hate on their fellow citizens regardless of gender, culture, ethnicity, race, belief, etc.? It seems to only grow, when there’s silence from government, no protective laws, or legal consequences,  just do NOT exist.

Canada, and the United States of America, have increases of crimes against minorities from not just fellow citizens but from the Police, and other ‘appointed‘ groups. Deaths are included and near zero consequences.

Many of Canada’s own laws include a ‘no liability‘ clause, and zero consequences for maltreatment of minorities within their own law enforcement, government offices, and courts. Harms against minorities when interacting with Police can, and does escalate leading to death. Canada’s own prisons have high incarceration rates of BIPOC.

It’s a good step towards letting a nation tear itself apart and opportunity for government to herald in, stricter Authoritarian laws for ‘reactions‘ of victims vs ‘behaviors’ of the abuser/criminals. Do you see anything wrong with this system?

detention centres for migrants

Examining Criminal Behavior

Criminal studies have documented that criminals look for ‘avenues of ample opportunity‘, to commit or hide their crimes. They are opportunistic and predatory therefore prey on those considered ‘weak‘.

One perspective not reported is that ‘minorities‘ see the ‘criminal‘ behaviors in government especially when the government creates laws that ‘violate‘ existing laws of the land (our Constitution) with impunity (safe from legal punishment) for themselves. They have a ‘Free’ pass from consequences and punishment of the law.

The spirit of the Magna Carta, designed to include the government under the rule of law has in effect been abolished with ‘no liability‘ clauses in our laws protecting them.

So, when people with criminal behaviors enter government offices, and start creating legislated hardships, on a specified citizenry, where are the people expected to turn for help? Or they’re threatened with loss of freedoms (prison), when their acts are not criminal or harmful towards others? i.e., Indigenous activists

A Feasible Solution

The Genocide Convention should create an ‘Addendum‘ to include the ‘psychological‘ and ‘subtler‘ acts of genocide, found, seen, experienced and recommended by Mr. Lemkin, Mr, Chalk and Mr. Jonassohn.

Some failures or a few obstacles, in the areas of immunity, jurisdiction, extradition, and definition, have prevented prosecution of these crimes. Why is it hard to agree upon, any person entering another nation will abide and fall under their laws vs using ‘excuses’ to give crimes a Free pass?

Members of the UN agree to uphold UN conventions within their own nations, it should be assumed, they shall adjust their own nations’ laws accordingly, to follow a new ‘addendum‘ of the UN to have protections in place for minorities.

Leaders want their people and others accountable but they too, should return the favor, and be accountable to the People.

people want Peace

Pointlessness of Arguing to go Nowhere

A major obstacle has been providing a ‘precise‘ definition of genocide. Many reports and studies have been provided but no decision made as to specifying the term. It must include both the ‘intent to destroymotive of the perpetrator as well as the ‘group characteristic’ of the victims.

Meanwhile, studies and reports about the many forms of motives and characteristics have been provided! Incessant arguments about accepting and settling upon a final decision, on the definition of genocide, continues to leave many victims helpless to attacks and extreme lack of legal recourse. What could ‘criminals‘ do, sitting in as UN members? We can look to our own prisons to see what the outcome could be.

I’d really suggest looking at their ‘list’ of motives and characteristics together, and easily find the ‘word’ needed for the ‘definition’ they seek. Use a thesaurus, or ask a Psychiatrist too. An interesting definition can be found vs sitting on the idea, letting crimes fly by, and allowing personal ‘pride’ be an obstacle.

Laws and People can Evolve

A few nations have listened to their citizenry over the years and enacted laws considered beneficial for society, as a whole. New criminal laws and punishments are created and continue to evolve due to technological advances, and arising new crimes. This too, should be a goal of the United Nations, EVOLVE into a better institution with updating their own laws, especially in the area of criminal laws.

Paying attention to new, and questioning rescinded protective laws, of developed nations, could help develop inspiration towards their own law creation and updates.

A need to build a better mousetrap, seems always ongoing but there’s no such thing as ‘perfect‘. Laws evolve with society, some good, some not but they are not written in stone. There’s always room to change and adjust as time goes by, but help from the United Nations, in keeping with their mandate, should always be immediately available to the oppressed. Where have you seen acts of domestic genocide?

Learning in Motion

Related Reading

Genocide Watch

Convention on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide

The Genocide Education Project

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your thoughts. Use the Ask a Question form to send me a email, if you have a request for a topic of your interest, would like a guest post, or to just say Hello!

AIC|An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense creates and posts articles online about business development, micro business, health, science, technology and social issues.

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