Volume 6, Issue 9, May 1997


The Correctional Service of Canadas has completed a first time ever survey concerning attitudes among Canadian penitentiary prisoners. The survey was limited to male prisoners. More than half the respondents said their religious beliefs helped them survive in the institution.

One in 5 had been beaten or threatened while 7% had been assaulted with a weapon. Almost one half said they did not feel safe from an assault by other prisoners. Eight per cent reported having been assaulted by CSC staff members in the 6 months preceding the survey. Three per cent had been sexually assaulted. Another 6% had been pressured to provide sexual services.

One in 3 prisoners reported being double-bunked in a cell meant for one occupant. Twelve per cent said they lived in fear of their cellmate.

About 80% surveyed had served time previously in provincial institutions.

Twenty-nine per cent had spent an aggregate of 10 or more years in prison.

Sixteen per cent were housed in protective custody.

Three out of 5 prisoners had not been granted parole despite being eligible.

Almost 40% said they had used drugs since arriving in their current institution. Drug use was most prevalent in medium-security prisons.

Seventy-two per cent were smokers.

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"Religion NOW" is published in limited edition by the Rev. Ross E. Readhead, B.A., B.D., Certificate of Corrections, McMaster University, in the interest of furthering knowledge and participation in religion. Dialogue is invited and welcomed.