location: about
The Project | The Author | The Site | The Credits

The Project

This site is dedicated to the protection and advancement of human rights in Canadian prisons and to promote a culture of respect for the Rule of Law behind prison walls. The prison, seen as the most powerful weapon in our armory against those who would hurt us, is the part of the criminal justice system that is the least accessible to our gaze and the least amenable to public accountability. Justice behind the Walls seeks to open up an electronic window on the prison world, to provide both those involved in the criminal justice system and those in whose name it is invoked, with a greater understanding of the realities of the contemporary prison, to ensure that the experience of justice that sustains democracy outside of prison is not abandoned when the keeper and the kept encounter each other inside.

The Author

Michael Jackson has been involved in the teaching and advocacy of human rights for over 30 years, specializing in the areas of prisoners' rights and aboriginal rights. As a professor at the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Law, he introduced the first courses on these subjects in a Canadian law school; as a lawyer he has represented prisoners and First Nations in leading cases before the Supreme Court of Canada; as a representative of the Canadian Bar Association he has presented submissions on reforms to the criminal justice system to committees of both the House of Commons and the Senate; as an author Michael Jackson has previously published Prisoners of Isolation: Solitary Confinement in Canada and Locking Up Natives in Canada. In 1993, Michael Jackson was awarded the Bora Laskin National Fellowship in human rights research in order to begin the research for Justice behind the Walls. In 1999 he was appointed Queen's Counsel by the Attorney General of British Columbia.

The Site

The primary resource on the site is the electronic edition of Michael Jackson's latest book Justice behind the Walls, published by Douglas and MacIntyre. The electronic version supplements the printed version by including several additional chapters, further case studies and an expanded commentary on law and policy. The internet version is also hyperlinked to the leading court cases, legislation and policy directives, and other literature that is available on line. The hyperlinking will be especially useful to those doing research in this area, whether as lawyers, correctional practitioners, students or simply as citizens who want to get a more detailed understanding of correctional law and practice. The site also has several features designed to complement the book. There is a Gallery which includes photographs and video of some of the people and places referred to in the book. There are links to various court, government, NGO, international, human rights and media sites in the Resources section. There is also a Voices section where statements of opinion and expression, including literature and art, can be displayed to enliven the public debate about and understanding of imprisonment. The Publication section of the site contains the online versions of Justice behind the Walls and Professor Jackson's previous book, Prisoners of Isolation, Solitary Confinement in Canada. Finally, there is a News section to provide an ongoing commentary on events related to the issue of prison justice and a Contact section which invites the visitor to have their say.

The Credits

Overall site design and project management was led by Paddy Long of Conformist Design, while back-end functionality for the publication and news sections were provided by Mike Cassie of Coalescent Design. Mike Bromm was responsible for the onerous task of content preparation and Shane Jackson took many of the photographs, organised the galleries and shot and edited the video segments. Financial support for the website came from U.B.C. Faculty of Law and The Law Foundation of B.C.