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There are also forces inside prison that have taken a heavy toll. Ken Peterson identified the growing strength of the drug culture in the lives of prisoners.

In this institution, as in all institutions, there is a drug subculture. It carries on feeding those who have a habit and it brings new people in. It is responsible for an undercurrent of violence that exists in all institutions. It is something to which you have to pay a lot of attention if you are an offender, because there is no neutral ground in here. I can see why inmates use drugs . . . it is to sedate themselves from what is going on. I don't think they use it to get high, I think they use it to get normal, whatever normal may be. It is to relieve that undercurrent of fear, tension, angst, whatever it may be. It's mood-altering, and when you get down to the mood in here, the mood in any prison is not good.

I first met Doug McGregor in 1972 when, as the superintendent of Matsqui Institution, he conducted disciplinary hearings, reviewed segregation cases, and triggered involuntary transfers to the B.C. Penitentiary. Mr. McGregor's signature was on the many unescorted temporary-absence passes given to prisoners in those years to enable them to participate in a wide range of community programs, before that power was taken away from wardens and given to the National Parole Board. Mr. McGregor started his correctional life at Kingston Penitentiary in 1963, and a year later he returned to university and took a Master's degree in California. His thesis focussed on a California correctional institution and, as he observed in our interview, in those days California prisons were seen as leading the way in modern corrections. He noted with dismay the changes that had taken place in California since then; by 1996, the state was spending more of its budget dollars on prison construction than on higher education. From 1965 until his retirement in 1997, Mr. McGregor held a variety of positions, including being the warden of both Mission and Matsqui Institutions, as well as doing a stint as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for the Pacific Region.

In our interview, Doug McGregor reflected on the changes that had come about in furtherance of what was now called "good corrections." He quickly focussed on the changes in case management since the advent of the computer-based Offender Management System and the detailed policies and procedures that were now built into security classification. This prompted a discussion of how technology was changing the face of corrections and the nature of the relationship between prisoners and staff.

The advent of the computer really causes great concern to me, because it has a voracious appetite. The Offender Management System demands tremendous amounts of data and information, and staff are spending a lot of time attending to that requirement. There are people at regional and national headquarters who are watching it all the time and they are quick to tell you that you haven't filled in a certain amount of data on a security classification or that you haven't met these deadlines. This system is the tail wagging the dog as it stands now. One time late last fall on one of those foggy days I looked out of the window of my office late in the afternoon. It was getting very foggy and it was getting fairly dark at that point, and I went in to the Co-ordinator of Correctional Operations' office and I said, "Norm, don't you think it's about time you should be giving some thought to locking the jail down?" He was busy working at his computer and he looked out of the window and said, "Oh my God." I have jokingly said to people that since that time I've had visions that one day I'll be sitting in my office watching inmates jumping the fences and I'll be the only person noticing it because everyone else is dutifully working away at their computer, putting information into it, and I'll be screaming out the window, "Does anybody care?" (Interview with Doug McGregor, Mission Institution, May 13, 1996)

Doug McGregor was not alone in his misgivings about a "Windows" approach to offender management. Don McDonnell began his career in corrections as a classification officer at the Prison for Women. He worked for about a year and then left the Service for adventures abroad, returned in 1975 and began work again as a living unit development officer at Mission Institution. In 1980 he became the head living unit officer, and from 1983 until 1993 he worked in the community as a parole officer. He then returned to work at Matsqui as a case management officer. In our interview, he decried the loss of interpersonal dynamics that gave his job as a case management officer much of its juice. As he described it, the transition was from the conception of a case manager as a professional bringing independent judgement to bear to being "just another cog in the wheel of the bureaucracy working around offender management." Paradoxically, Don McDonnell felt that the changes in the structure of the Service, which encouraged staff to see themselves as having rewarding long-term careers in corrections, actually undermined individual advocacy.

Under the present system we have everybody entering the correctional process as a staff person at the bottom, as an entry-level uniformed officer, and then you work through your uniformed career to then maybe going to case management. That changes the actual role of the case manager, because you have formed your values and attitude in uniform and you have come to have a particular view of prisoners, which is as likely as not pessimistic and sceptical of the potential for change. The impact of computers in case management has also had major effects. The actual reality of interpersonal dynamics starts to become minimalized and the reality you deal with is not how the offender deals with you personally but how that offender looks on paper. The other problem is that the Offender Management System causes people to think in standardized ways, and while there is nothing wrong with a systematic approach, that is not the same thing as a standardized technocratic approach to human affairs. (Interview with Don McDonnell, Matsqui Institution, July 13, 1995)

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