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$40 Million Dollar Corrections Canada Study Reveals: Prisoners are Depressed

$40 Million Dollar Corrections Canada Study Reveals: Prisoners are Depressed
"I don't feel like going out."

An exhaustive 11-year, $40 Million study of Canada's federal prison inmate population conducted by Corrections Canada has revealed that Canada's federal inmates are overwhelmingly depressed and negative in their outlook towards life.

"This is an indication that our department has some questions that must be addressed," said Corrections Canada spokesperson Jacques Martinez. "The first question we must ask ourselves, is why this is so."

According to Martinez, the most startling finding of the survey of Canada's 15,000 inmates serving sentences of two years or longer in federal institutions is the revelation that an overwhelming 99 per cent of inmates serving life sentences see their futures as "bleak and without prospects."

The department in charge of running Canada's prison system also found a correlation between the length of an inmates' sentence and their belief in their ability to re-integrate into society.

For example, the 55 page report summarizing the study's findings indicates a full 100 per cent of those serving life sentences without parole or sentences of longer than 30 years do not feel confident that they will be able to function successfully in the outside world.

For those serving sentences of 15 to 29 years, that figure drops to 96 per cent.

Gary Gaspacho, who is serving a life sentence for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault at Kingston Penitentiary, is representative of the study's findings:

"I feel really blue a lot of the time, almost like a….sort of, melancholy. The thing is, I really can't explain why that is," said Gaspacho. "Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, I just stare at the ceiling tiles in my cell until lunch time, and then, I'll just watch TV like a bump on a log until supper."

"I really have no motivation to do much of anything."

Inmate #177220 faces another gloomy day

Martinez indicated that the department is going to petition Solicitor General Lawrence MacAulay for the formation of a proposed Royal Commission on Prisoners' Malaise to look into the issues raised by the survey.

Said Martinez, "we want Canada's prison inmates to be the happiest, most well-balanced inmates in the world."

In response to questions that have arisen regarding the actual rate of participation for the survey, Martinez responded that he would not deny that "perhaps a significant number" of inmates who received a questionnaire did not respond.

"We understand that several inmates fashioned the complimentary pencil that accompanied the response booklet into a crude makeshift weapon in order to ward off sexual assaults from fellow inmates," said Martinez.

Corrections Canada refused to speculate on allegations that these pencils have been fetching up to 20 dollars on the prison black market, with inmates using the profits for the purchase of toilet-distilled liquor and/or narcotics sold by corrupt prison guards.

Posted on June 29th, 2001

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