Firebrand prisons watchdog gets one year extension

News Mar 30, 2016 by Alex Boutilier OurWindsor.Ca

OTTAWA — Federal prisons watchdog Howard Sapers will have at least one more year to loudly advocate for prisoners’ rights.

Sapers, the outspoken ombudsman of Correctional Services Canada, was reappointed for a one-year term yesterday.

The re-appointment comes one day before his term was up, and almost one year after the previous Conservative government told him they were looking for a replacement.

“I’m hoping to take, frankly, full advantage of the political attention that’s being paid to things like the use of segregation, the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, the over-representation of Indigenous individuals in corrections, and the need to change to our approach to mentally ill people coming in conflict with the law,” Sapers said in an interview Wednesday.

“Those are all issues that have been put into mandate letters to various ministers. And I’m hoping that the attention will translate into some real change in policy and practice.”

Sapers, a former Alberta MLA between 1993 and 2001, was appointed corrections investigator in 2004. He was subsequently reappointed by the former Conservative government twice.

His office has led reviews into a number of difficult subjects—from the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, to inadequate treatment of mentally ill inmates, to the tragic death of Ashley Smith, who took her own life in a segregated cell in 2007.

When asked why he wants to keep the job, he laughed.

“You, my doctor, and my wife ask me the same question,” he said.

“This is demanding work. It’s also very important work. And it’s a privilege to be able to do work that you believe in and that is consistent with your values, and this job permits me that.”

Sapers said he hopes to re-apply under the new appointment process promised by the Liberal government, once the details of that system are announced.

– With files from the Canadian Press

Toronto Star

Firebrand prisons watchdog gets one year extension

Howard Sapers' outspoken advocacy for prisoners' rights earned him the ire of former Conservative government

News Mar 30, 2016 by Alex Boutilier OurWindsor.Ca

OTTAWA — Federal prisons watchdog Howard Sapers will have at least one more year to loudly advocate for prisoners’ rights.

Sapers, the outspoken ombudsman of Correctional Services Canada, was reappointed for a one-year term yesterday.

The re-appointment comes one day before his term was up, and almost one year after the previous Conservative government told him they were looking for a replacement.

“I’m hoping to take, frankly, full advantage of the political attention that’s being paid to things like the use of segregation, the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, the over-representation of Indigenous individuals in corrections, and the need to change to our approach to mentally ill people coming in conflict with the law,” Sapers said in an interview Wednesday.

“Those are all issues that have been put into mandate letters to various ministers. And I’m hoping that the attention will translate into some real change in policy and practice.”

Sapers, a former Alberta MLA between 1993 and 2001, was appointed corrections investigator in 2004. He was subsequently reappointed by the former Conservative government twice.

His office has led reviews into a number of difficult subjects—from the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, to inadequate treatment of mentally ill inmates, to the tragic death of Ashley Smith, who took her own life in a segregated cell in 2007.

When asked why he wants to keep the job, he laughed.

“You, my doctor, and my wife ask me the same question,” he said.

“This is demanding work. It’s also very important work. And it’s a privilege to be able to do work that you believe in and that is consistent with your values, and this job permits me that.”

Sapers said he hopes to re-apply under the new appointment process promised by the Liberal government, once the details of that system are announced.

– With files from the Canadian Press

Toronto Star

Firebrand prisons watchdog gets one year extension

Howard Sapers' outspoken advocacy for prisoners' rights earned him the ire of former Conservative government

News Mar 30, 2016 by Alex Boutilier OurWindsor.Ca

OTTAWA — Federal prisons watchdog Howard Sapers will have at least one more year to loudly advocate for prisoners’ rights.

Sapers, the outspoken ombudsman of Correctional Services Canada, was reappointed for a one-year term yesterday.

The re-appointment comes one day before his term was up, and almost one year after the previous Conservative government told him they were looking for a replacement.

“I’m hoping to take, frankly, full advantage of the political attention that’s being paid to things like the use of segregation, the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations, the over-representation of Indigenous individuals in corrections, and the need to change to our approach to mentally ill people coming in conflict with the law,” Sapers said in an interview Wednesday.

“Those are all issues that have been put into mandate letters to various ministers. And I’m hoping that the attention will translate into some real change in policy and practice.”

Sapers, a former Alberta MLA between 1993 and 2001, was appointed corrections investigator in 2004. He was subsequently reappointed by the former Conservative government twice.

His office has led reviews into a number of difficult subjects—from the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons, to inadequate treatment of mentally ill inmates, to the tragic death of Ashley Smith, who took her own life in a segregated cell in 2007.

When asked why he wants to keep the job, he laughed.

“You, my doctor, and my wife ask me the same question,” he said.

“This is demanding work. It’s also very important work. And it’s a privilege to be able to do work that you believe in and that is consistent with your values, and this job permits me that.”

Sapers said he hopes to re-apply under the new appointment process promised by the Liberal government, once the details of that system are announced.

– With files from the Canadian Press

Toronto Star