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Prison watchdog raises concerns of ‘culture of impunity’

February 18, 2020
By The Canadian Press

Canada’s prison watchdog is raising concerns about the safety, rights and human dignity of prisoners within Canada’s federal corrections system, issues he says stem from problems with the workplace environment and corporate culture of the Correctional Service of Canada.

Correctional investigator Ivan Zinger tabled his annual report in Parliament today, including investigations of what he calls entrenched and problematic staff cultures at maximum-security institutions holding men.

Zinger says a “culture of impunity” exists at the Edmonton Institution, where he found correctional staff and management tolerated bullying, harassment and assaults directed by a number of inmate groups against a sub-population of “protected status” offenders.

In his Atlantic Institution case study, he found a high number of inmate allegations of improper or excessive use of force, including continued over-reliance on things like pepper spray and elevated rates of segregation used at the facility.


He also found prison food to be substandard and inadequate.

Zinger says fixing a staff culture that is resistant to change is not within his mandate, but he is concerned staff misconduct is being allowed to “fester” and become normalized, which will mean prisoners are bound to suffer.

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