Inmates’ union could lead to unrest

Dear Editor,

Re: Unionizing at Mountain

Where will it end? Ever since March of 1982, lawyers have been twisting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to suit their own purposes.

Nowhere does it say that this charter guarantees the same rights and freedoms to inmates as it does to the rest of the population. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

To me this does not include people who have lost their right to freedom.

Is it not bad enough that inmates receive conjugal visits, free education, cable vision, passes (both escorted and un-escorted) free medical and dental, all their applicable pensions, bleach to clean their needles (illegal to posses), methadone, condoms, the right to phone the RCMP over any alleged misconduct of correctional officers, the right to a Correctional Investigator (one Friday I was called by the Correctional Officer from Ottawa and told to return an inmates tv so he didn’t have to spoil his [the C.I.’s] weekend. He didn’t care why the tv had been removed, he just wanted to cross off one more complaint as being resolved), open houses with ponies, weddings and let us not forget the right to vote.

If these inmates want union wages then they had better be ready to pay for room and board, medical and dental, child support, income taxes, etc., as my single parent daughter has to.

Just what budget is this extra money going to come from?  We all know the millions if not billions of dollars the federal institutions cost us taxpayers.  And while we are at it why are we not being as caring of the mentally ill? None of them went out and raped and murdered or brutally attacked senior citizens, or molested children or distributed drugs, etc., etc.  I guess the government said “we’d better save some money somewhere” and turned these innocent people out to end up freezing to death on the streets, lonely and puzzled as to what is happening to them. One of our biggest problems in the prison system is that wardens no longer come up from the ranks.  Now we are being led by bleeding heart liberal social workers (how often have we heard this remark in Canada).

They never worked as line staff and they are only too happy to be “yes” men for the politicians in Ottawa, most of whom have never even been “inside.”   So be warned that this “so called union” will give inmates and excuse to gather (a grouping together of inmates can lead to unrest, rioting or even cover for a “shanking”) and it will give them solidarity which also is problematic in a prison setting and lastly it will give them yet another forum for their constant moaning and groaning.

My apologies to a lot of the inmates I know that this does not refer to. But we all know that for safety’s sake, that inmates must be perceived to go along with the majority for their own good. Where will it end?

A. Levine, Chilliwack, B.C.

Retired Correctional Officer