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Particular concerns were raised in relation to the grounds for Mr. Swindle's transfer:

We note that it is alleged that on February 9, 1997, Mr. Swindle delivered "weapons" to other inmates on his range. We note as well no indication as to what these "weapons" were or how many weapons were involved.

Further, since Mr. Swindle was allowed to attend meetings with warden, meet with a representative from our office at the barrier of range 2L, and continue to hand out meals on the range and act as a range representative long after February 9, 1997, why does this allegation justify a transfer to the SHU? If the matter was so serious, why was he not confined to his cell or placed in segregation and relieved of his range representative duties all of which necessitate him being on the range. We note as well that Mr. Swindle raised these very questions in his rebuttal and they were not addressed.

Mr. Swindle, in my interview with him, told me that the only thing he was handing out on the range during the disturbance was toilet paper and meals. He further advised me that he was never charged with possession of weapons but only with participating in the disturbance and, at his hearing before the independent chairperson in the Quebec SHU, he was found not guilty of even that charge.

Nor was Mr. Swindle the only prisoner ultimately found not guilty of allegations which nevertheless resulted in his spending over four months in the SHU. At his appearance before the National SHU Review Committee, another prisoner maintained that he did not want to be part of the Millhaven disturbance and had requested segregation, but his request was denied because there was no room. He was placed in a cell that was already damaged and was then moved to another cell in which there was a hole in the wall. He requested yet another cell move and again asked to be moved to segregation and was denied again. He was then transferred to the Prince Albert SHU but was found not guilty on all of the Millhaven charges. Prior to his transfer to the Prairies, his girlfriend and step-daughter had moved to Kingston to be closer to him and the transfer had therefore, as in Mr. Swindle's case, caused hardship to both him and his family. Again, as in Mr. Swindle's case, the National Review Committee decided that he did not need to be admitted to the SHU and his return to Millhaven was approved.

The letter from the Correctional Investigator questioning the justification for the transfers of the Millhaven prisoners met with this response from the Correctional Service:

In concert with the Commissioner's Directive 551 Special Handling Units, paragraph 2, "an inmate may be considered as dangerous if his behaviour is such that it causes serious harm or death or seriously jeopardises the safety of others." The events which transpired at Millhaven institution was such that the safety of others was jeopardised.

While the measures used were exceptional, the circumstances were extraordinary and warranted transferring the inmates for assessment purposes. Decision-makers deemed that this form of intervention was the most appropriate measure to control the situation and circumvent a further deterioration. At the time of the Millhaven incident, transfers to maximum security were considered, however, it was believed that this option, i.e. transferring small groups of inmates, could result in similar situations developing in other facilities. This belief was based on varying factors effecting the stability of these other institutions at the time of the incident.

Subsequent to the assessment conducted at the SHU's, the National Review Committee will decide, among other things, whether the inmates should have been sent to the SHU based on the information available to the institution of origin at the time of sending. (Letter from Director General, Offender Affairs to the Office of the Correctional Investigator, April 29, 1997)

As in the case of Mr. Swindle, the National Review Committee did in fact determine that the great majority of the Millhaven prisoners did not meet the criteria for admission to the SHU. However, true to the spirit of greyhound therapy, Millhaven had received a breathing space and a clear and punitive message had been given to the "troublemakers." After spending periods ranging from four to six months, the prisoners involved were transferred either back to Millhaven or to other maximum security institutions, embittered by what both they and the Correctional Investigator believed to be the abuse of correctional authority.

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