Women's Prisons

The Federal Government is considering a bill that would bring in mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes. That would mean more people in Canada's prisons. And according to the Correctional Investigator of Canada, that's a big problem ... especially for women.


Women's Prisons - "Rachel"

We started this segment with a clip from Kim Pate. She's the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies. And the new sentencing bill she's talking about is Bill S-10. If it passes, it would require mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes. And she says that would make the already dismal conditions in Canada's prisons for women, even worse.

Our next guest has her own experiences in a women's prison. She spent most of the last five years at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. She's out on parole now. And we have agreed to withhold her real name in order to protect her identity. We called her "Rachel". She is out on parole after serving five years at the Grand Valley Institution for Women.

Women's Prisons - Howard Sapers

Many of Rachel's observations are echoed in the annual report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator. There are 510 federally sentenced women in Canada. And the report estimates that as many as 30 per cent of them have serious mental health concerns that prisons are ill-equipped to treat.

Howard Sapers is the Correctional Investigator of Canada. He was in Ottawa.

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