Saturday, November 03, 2012
Ashley Smith and the Cruelty of the Cons
I think this image will haunt me forever.
The image of a bound, hooded, 18-year-old Ashley Smith being duct taped into a seat on a plane.
Like she was some kind of dangerous terrorist on her way to Guantanamo.
When she was just a poor mentally ill teenager on her way to one of the nine Canadian prisons she was held in during her short life. Before she choked herself to death while her guards watched, and did nothing.
And the way she was treated by the bullies in our prison system was outrageous, inhuman, and totally indefensible.
What they did to that girl is indefensible. It was medically unjustifiable. It was punitively disgraceful. It was institutionally bullying. It was torture.
These were the tormenters — the doctors, the nurses, the guards, the corrections officials — that Ashley could not escape. They ruled her days and her nights. Poor, doomed girl. She never made it out alive.
So I am glad that the Con regime has finally been shamed into telling Corrections Canada to stop trying to bury the ugly truth.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was “horrified” by the newly released surveillance videos in the Ashley Smith case and has ordered Correctional Service of Canada to co-operate with the Ontario inquest into the troubled teen’s prison death.
Publicly, Harper described Smith’s Thursday as a “terrible tragedy” that has revealed an unacceptable way of treating prisoners with mental illness.
But why did it take so long? And could Harper's words possibly ring more hollow?
When him and his brutish regime are doing their monstrous best to make the problem even worse.
By jailing more Canadians, more natives, more young, and mentally ill people, double bunking inmates, and closing big psychiatric treatment centres, at the Kingston penitentiary and the Leclerc Institute.
And the Harper regime's cult of cruelty, rooted in the barbarous scribblings of ancient desert dwellers, and designed to appease its vengeful, bloodthirsty base, is poisoning everything decent in this country.
As it tries to turn Canada into some kind of sinister prison state, even as more and more prisoners, especially aboriginal ones, kill or mutilate themselves.
Cases of serious self-injury by federal inmates across Canada has nearly tripled in the last five years — a "dramatic" rise as prison conditions become more chaotic and overcrowded, according Canada's Correctional Investigator.
Like poor, desperate, Ashley Smith did.
And what more can I say eh?
Except that we won't be able to save our prison system, or our country, until this cruel, barbarous regime is driven from power.
The Harper government is not my government.
And this is not my Canada...
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