location: news

September 24, 2009


In 2007, then Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day appointed a panel chaired by a former Ontario Minister of Corrections in the Conservative government of Mike Harris, and gave them the vast mandate of completing a review of the Correctional Service of Canada’s operational priorities, strategies and business plans. After only six months the Panel produced a report, which was then promptly adopted by Corrections Canada and the federal government as a “Roadmap” for transformation. Without public debate or legislative change Corrections Canada has moved full steam ahead with the Panel’s recommendations.

On September 24, 2009 in Ottawa at a press conference on Pariament Hill Professor Michael Jackson, QC and Graham Stewart, former Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada, released a scathing critique of the Government’s blueprint for the transformation of Canada’s prisons. The critique, called A Flawed Compass: A Human Rights Analysis of the Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety, was prepared because the government’s self-styled “Prison Roadmap” would move the Correctional Service of Canada away from an unequivocal commitment to respect and protect the human rights of prisoners. “It is a flawed moral and legal compass” says Professor Jackson. “It points in the wrong direction; a direction that, tragically and inevitably, will bring yet more chapters in an already overburdened history of abuse and mismanagement of correctional authority through disregard of human dignity”.

The Roadmap, charge Jackson and Stewart, “will dismantle a generation of reform painstakingly put in place by both previous Conservative and Liberal governments, and will make a mockery of Canada’s claim to leadership in the vindication of human rights”.

Click here to read A Flawed Compass in PDF format, and here for MS-Word format. Click here to read the Press Release and the Backgrounder Q and A.

Michael Jackson