Like hostages in a never-ending drama, hundreds of prisoners have found themselves thrust into a more-than-two-year labour dispute at the Toronto South Detention Centre. As a result, those imprisoned within the superjail have experienced miserable living conditions that have drawn the ire of judges, criminal lawyers and human rights groups.
This Oct. 19, it will be precisely one year since the federal Liberal government took office under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership. The date is also an anniversary of a more sombre kind. On Oct.19, 2007, 19-year-old Ashley Smith died in a segregation cell at Grand Valley Prison in the custody of Federal Corrections. The coincidence of these two anniversaries should prompt us to reflect on how far we still have to go toward improving the functions of the criminal justice and correctional systems, particularly as they are deployed in relation to girls.