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Life Below the 49th Parallel

I travelled to William Head in the week following Gary Weaver's release from segregation to participate with him in an interview requested by Monday Magazine, a Victoria publication. The young reporter acknowledged that her previous awareness of William Head Institution was based upon the very favourable publicity that the institution received from the theatrical productions put on by the Prisoner Dramatic Society "William Head On-stage." These productions, staged twice a year, were the principal occasions which members of the public came into the prison. The productions, which featured prisoners and local actors from the community, regularly received critical acclaim. Gary Weaver had worked as a production assistant for William Head On-stage and suggested to the Monday Magazine reporter that behind the publicly visible stage upon which prisoners played out their dramatic roles, there was another drama that unfolded day by day at William Head; a drama that cast the Correctional Service of Canada in a far dimmer light, deserving condemnation, not celebration. Gary went on to explain that the plot of the drama to which he was referring was set out in the habeas corpus petition, and the scenes of his initial segregation, the subsequent reviews, the attempt to transfer him to maximum security and the warden's intransigence in the face of the RCMP investigation, had the dramatic theme of the Correctional Service of Canada's continuing violation of the law. At the conclusion of the interview with Monday Magazine Gary observed that the peninsula upon which William Head Institution was situated was part of British Columbia that dipped below the 49th Parallel. He suggested "Warden Gallagher seems to think that this means that Canadian law does not apply to what happens at William Head."

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