In January 2004, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) released a report entitled, Protecting Their Rights, that details discrimination that women face inside Canadian prisons based on sex, race and disability.
They made a number of recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) for changes in the way that they incarcerate women prisoners. In February 2005, the CSC released its response to these recommendations.
They agreed to look into or accept several more minor recommendations. Major recommendations, including elimating male guards in women's prisons, introducing independent oversight of complaints and segregation and allowing women classified as maximum security to do their time in the only women's healing lodge in Canada (the Okimaw Ochi womans healing lodge) were all rejected or said to be "under review".
Stark Raven radio interviewed Kim Pate on this issue. The interview gives an overview of the CSC response, as well as analysis of the implications.
Kim Pate is the executive director of the Canadian Assoication of Elizabeth Fry Societies. Elizabeth Fry is an organization that works with and advocates for federally sentenced women across Canada. Elizabeth Fry was part one of the groups to file the initial complaint to the Human rights commission 4 years ago.
See program http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=7553
for more background on the the Human Rights Commission investigation.
For more information see:
http://www.prisonjustice.ca and http://www.elizabethfry.ca
Stark Raven covers prison issues weekly on Vancouver Co-operative Radio, CFRO 102.7 FM. Online at http://www.coopradio.org. (The first 3 mondays of each month from 7-8pm, Pacific Time).
To contact Stark Raven Radio, email stark-raven (at) coopradio.org