location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 3 / Chapter 3 The Disciplinary Process at Kent / August and September 1994: The Hanlon, Belluz and Binford Cases -- Involuntary Transfers, Administrative Segregation and Punitive Segregation: A Case of Cumulative Punishment

Mr. Belluz questioned Officer Laker as to why she thought he had made the comments "crush their heads," etc. when her evidence was that there were at least four prisoners shouting and banging. Her reply was that the comments she had written down on the offence report were made by Mr. Belluz, at a time when the other prisoners were not shouting and that, based upon her long experience with Mr. Belluz, she recognized his voice and could distinguish it from the voices of other prisoners. She also stated, "I wrote the comments down verbatim."

After hearing from Officer Laker, Mr. Fox said that he was satisfied on the basis of the officerís evidence and without having heard from Mr. Belluz, that there was a serious disturbance on the unit. "The only question left for me to decide is the nature and extent of your involvement in it."

Mr. Belluz called Mr. Hanlon to give evidence and Mr. Fox advised Mr. Hanlon that since he was charged with the same offence as Mr. Belluz -- causing a disturbance -- any evidence he gave in Mr. Belluzís hearing would not be used against him at his own hearing.

Mr. Hanlon testified that this incident had really started the day before, when an officer came onto the range and closed the food slot in Mr. Hanlon and Mr. Belluzís cell. This slot normally remains open and when Mr. Hanlon asked the officer why he was closing it, he was told that it was because a brew had been found in Mr. Hanlonís cell the week before. Mr. Hanlon objected to this procedure because, in the week since that brew was found, other staff had left the slot open. Mr. Hanlon explained that the importance of having the slot open was that it was very hot in the cells (it was the middle of August) and with the slot closed it was difficult to breathe in the cell, particularly with two prisoners in it. (What Mr. Hanlon did not mention is that the slot is also the principal avenue through which prisoners can talk to other prisoners on the range, which helps relieve the social isolation). When the shift changed, Mr. Hanlon spoke to another officer who agreed to open up the slot in accordance with the normal practice. The next day, the officer who had closed the slot from the day before came on shift and proceeded to close the slot again over Mr. Hanlonís protest. When Mr. Hanlon suggested to the officer that he was trying to provoke the prisoners, the officer walked away, laughed and stated, "Thatís what I get paid for." It was shortly after this that the same officer caused problems for Mr. Binford by not letting him have a shower when he came back from exercise, even though he was hot and sweating, and "things just got rolling from there." Mr. Hanlon said that he was really mad at this officerís behaviour and admitted that he did start banging on his door and had some things to say about the staff, but it was by way of protest at the way "this officer was jacking the prisoners around." Mr. Fox questioned Mr. Hanlon in a prosecutorial manner I had not seen him do before with any other prisoner:

Q How did you make noise? Did you start pounding the door?

A Yes.

Q Were you making noise in other ways? Were you yelling?

A When I seen the way that they extracted the other two guys from their cell I set off a fire alarm. I know those reports they wrote up on us have that there were threats thrown at them and everything else. There were no threats.

Q What kind of things did you say?

A What kind of things did I say? I shouted some names at them and that.

Q What do you mean? Swore at them? Called them goofs? That kind of thing?

A Yelling and screaming, yeah.

Q Anything else?

A Just more straight screaming than anything, you know.

Q Calling them names because you were mad?

A I seen the way they were taking these guys out of there. This guy comes right out and says, yeah, heís provoking us because thatís what he gets paid for.

Q Yeah, I understand that. Did this carry on for quite awhile?

A For awhile.

Q A couple of hours?

Mr. Fox also asked Mr. Hanlon whether he made the statements attributed to Mr. Belluz and he said that he did not; nor did he hear Mr. Belluz make those statements.

Mr. Fox stated that he was satisfied, based on the evidence, that the charge against Mr. Belluz was made out:

"I accept the officerís evidence. Your interaction with Mr. Hanlon did not give me confidence that I was getting straight goods from Mr. Hanlon. You were smirking at him repeatedly in the course of his evidence. His evidence was not delivered in a fashion that gave me confidence that he was telling the truth. It sounded concocted. Thereís no doubt in my mind that there was a serious disturbance ongoing as described by the officer. Iím satisfied that based upon her dealings with you over a lengthy period of time makes it possible for me to accept her evidence that she was able to identify you as the maker of the statements she noted down at the time to be sure she got them correct, those statements being the ones found on the offence report. Iím satisfied that you were involved in this incident, that it constitutes a disturbance for the purposes of this charge and it was likely to jeopardize the security of the penitentiary. The jeopardy is self-evident in my view from the fact that inmates had to be moved in a confrontational environment that was present in the unit at the time which created the potential for injury and for the spreading of the disturbance. Itís simply beyond question in my view that this was a serious disturbance that could jeopardize the security of the penitentiary."

Mr. Fox then asked Mr. Belluz if he had anything to say about the appropriate punishment. Mr. Belluz said that he had been in the hole at Matsqui for several weeks prior to this incident and had asked to go to Kent as a way of getting out of the hole. He was very frustrated at being kept in the hole and that this incident arose because of the attitude of the staff and their provocation of the prisoners. He also said that he had been in the hole at Kent since his arrival in late August, although he had been told by the Segregation Review Board that he was number five on the list for release to the population.

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