Howard Sapers has spent more than 10 years as Correctional Investigator, the federal prison system’s ombudsman who investigates individual complaints and issues annual reports and focused investigative reports to the Public Safety Minister on conditions within the correctional system.
Long before news reports shed light on it, Sapers’ office raised concerns about increased use of segregation (solitary confinement), a related high suicide rate and a lack of resources to help mentally disturbed inmates. He’s also documented the strains caused by the Conservative government’s twin goals of expanding the use of imprisonment while also reining in costs. Under their watch, the budget of the Correctional Service of Canada has shrunk to $2.35 billion for fiscal 2014-15 from $2.65 billion in 2011-12 despite a program to construct almost 3,000 new prison cells.
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