Punishment reversed for Edmonton Institution inmate who spoke to media
Correctional Service Canada restores phone privileges for ‘humanitarian reasons’
A phone card has been returned to an Edmonton Institution inmate who had his calling privileges suspended for 45 days after speaking to CBC News.
Correctional Service Canada confirmed in an email that Jonathan Henry's phone privileges had been restored last Thursday.
Citing privacy concerns, CSC declined to provide a reason for the reversal, made four days after CBC published a story about the suspension.
At the time, correctional investigator Ivan Zinger indicated he had assigned an investigator to look into the punishment.
In an email sent this week, Henry's wife, Deanna, told CBC she was grateful she's able to speak to her husband again.
"They told him it's due to 'humanitarian reasons' because of the pandemic," she said. "Now we get to speak to him again. That helps so much!"
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In a letter sent on April 3 to Henry's lawyer, Edmonton Institution warden Gary Sears appeared to suggest that Henry had broken prison rules by speaking to a CBC journalist.
"Third-party calling is not permitted under any circumstances," he said, quoting from the inmate handbook. "Any misuse of telephone privileges, particularly third-party calling, may result in an inmate's phone privileges being restricted or suspended for a period of time."
On Wednesday, Henry's lawyer welcomed the reversal.
"I am glad that CSC made the decision to grant Mr. Henry's phone privileges back to him," Amanda Hart-Dowhun said.
"For incarcerated people, phone calls to family are a vital lifeline, and in this pandemic it is especially important to ensure that prisoners can contact their loved ones."
Henry, 32, is serving a 10-year sentence for drugs and weapons-related offences. He is scheduled to apply for parole in May.