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Wednesday, August 25 - A Prisoner's Perspective

The next day, Wednesday, August 25, Warden Brock gave staff an update on Mike Boileau's condition. Although his nose was broken and he had been in great pain initially, there appeared to be no major damage to his face and he was resting at home. It would likely be some weeks before he could return to work. Later in the day, I spoke with Ron Tessier, the other prisoner representative on the Inmate Committee. Mr. Tessier gave me his view of the assault. It had become apparent to a number of prisoners that Mr. McLaren was wound up and extremely frustrated by the lack of progress on the paperwork for his parole, and Mr. Tessier found it difficult to believe that the staff had not been aware of this. (As I have pointed out, the receptionist in the case management building had noticed Mr. McLaren's increasingly agitated behaviour.) Mr. Tessier doubted Dennis McLaren had it in for Mike Boileau in particular. It was probably a generalized frustration at the system that caused Mr. McLaren to strike out. He was not trying to justify what Mr. McLaren had done, but said the institution should understand that for a guy who was "hanging on the gate to be told that the paperwork had not been done, even if it is not the particular officer's fault, doesn't cut much ice when it means the prisoner may have to spend unnecessarily another month or two in prison."

Revealingly, Ron Tessier pointed to a systemic problem in case management -- the lack of timely preparation of reports -- as the principal cause for this incident. Staff, on the other hand, identified the principal cause as the inherently violent propensities of many of the prisoners at Matsqui and the lack of effective protection for the staff against them.


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