Jann Arden condemns poor treatment of her brother in prison

Leigh McEachran
North Stars

Canadian singer Jann Arden says she is watching her brother "slowly die" in prison. Visiting "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight," Arden discussed the prison experience of her older brother, Duray Richards, who is serving a life sentence in Alberta for first-degree murder.

Richards was convicted for the 1992 murder of a woman from Creson, B.C. and was sentenced to life in prison. While Richards has claimed he is innocent -- and a foundation in B.C. is reportedly revisiting the case -- he has already served nearly 20 years behind bars.

"We watched him slowly die in there over the last 20 years," said Arden, who was promoting her memoir, "Falling Backwards," on the CBC talk show. "I've gotten to know him, but I'm also watching a man that's three years older than me that's declining: type one diabetes, respiratory problems, sores that won't heal, his teeth are rotting out of his head, he can hardly see. And he's not looked after very well, and this is Canada."

The singer, who has eight Juno Awards to her name, believes that having a famous sister isn't to Richards's advantage.

"It's a curse and a blessing that I'm his sister. You know, some people say it would really help him, but it doesn't always help him, sometimes it's to his detriment," said the Canadian icon. "They think that I send him money all the time. Well, newsflash, anyone incarcerated in this country is only allowed so much money. If I had ten million dollars, I couldn't send it to him. He's allowed 500 bucks a year, that's what he can have."

Arden told Strombo she feels her brother should be released from the federal penitentiary. "He has, I think, paid his debt to society," she told Strombo.