Superprisons in Canada

This pamphlet was written in Kingston Ontario, the city with the largest concentration of prisons in Canada, and our hometown. We wrote it to bring people up to speed with what we see as a dangerous agenda at work within the federal government with respect to the Canadian prison system. At this very moment, the federal Conservative Party, their various corporate partners, and their provincial proxy-parties are pushing hard for a major expansion of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). This is the term we use to refer to the interest groups, businesses, and government institutions that rely on locking people up to increase their bottom line. While private contractors are a major aspect of the PIC – one we’ll delve into later in this pamphlet – this issue is about more than privatization. It’s about an ideology of “Law and Order” driven by fear, racism, and moral panic. It’s about the extent to which the logic of prison is being extended into society generally, through increased surveillance and heavier-handed policing in the name of “public safety.” And it’s about our town, Kingston, Ontario, where the first Canadian prison was ever built, and what it means to be a city that experiences economic booms when more people are being put in prison.

This pamphlet touches on a few specific issues relating to the ongoing Conservative revolution in prisons and policing, and tries to strategically show a few points of intervention for people who want to resist this expansion. Most of our research has focused on the internal plan to construct new super-prisons, but related issues such as the closing of the prison farms, the backdoor privatization of the prison system, and the introduction of draconian amendments to the Criminal Code are all elements of the Conservative transformation in its vulnerable and weak introductory phase, which could be resisted simultaneously in order to disrupt this current process. The strong link between the ousted Mike Harris regime in Ontario, and the key players in the Corrections transformation sheds light on what we might expect in the next year. Drawing on the experiences of the anti-Harris movement could provide insight into effective tactics and strategies with which to resist and ultimately defeat the current government and any future governments determined to implement such policies.

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superprisonreading.pdf1.71 MB
superprisonprinting.pdf1.72 MB