Pubdate: Wed, 15 Jul 2015
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 The Toronto Star
Author: David Phillips
Page: A12


Re Ottawa tightens prison visitor rules, citing drug crackdown, July 5

The new regulation surrounding intrusive strip searches of visitors 
and incarcerated persons is not only at risk of being applied too 
subjectively, as outlined in Alex Boutilier's article, but it could 
actually worsen outcomes for those with substance-abuse issues.

It is highly unlikely that these new measures will result in 
drug-free prisons; what is more likely is that they will contribute 
to an environment that places incarcerated persons at greater risk of 
retraumatization via frequent strip searches.

Rates of post-traumatic stress disorder are higher in the 
correctional setting than in the general population and it is well 
documented that individuals who experience trauma often turn to 
substance abuse. Successful rehabilitation involves a relationship 
with staff that is based on trauma-informed recovery principles, not 
the misuse of authority.

Public Safety Canada has indicated that for half of the incarcerated 
population, substance abuse directly contributed to the crimes 
committed. Focusing on punitive measures instead of improving 
treatment programming is symptomatic of an agenda that prioritizes 
short-term gains.

Any money saved by enforcing stricter policies at the expense of 
therapeutic addiction intervention will only be undermined by the 
long-term financial burdens of repeated incarcerations when 
individuals reoffend upon their release.

David Phillips, Toronto
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom