Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Riot in the Sudbury Jail

Ahhhhh, the dominant media...

I heard today, through something that one might accurately label "the grape vine", that within the last week or two there was a riot at the Sudbury jail. The causes were supposedly to do with overcrowding and with issues related to the prisoners' diet. Apparently hostages were taken and people were hurt.

And I cannot verify this because I, myself, am at best a sporadic consumer of the local media menu offered in this glorious municipality, but apparently there has been nary a peep on the subject in any of the local outlets.

I mean, both the prisoners and the staff are people who have friends and family in the community. They experience a significant, acute, violent incident -- something that is undeniably news in a slow-moving burg like this -- yet nothing is said. Moreover, that incident has to have come from somewhere. Personally, I would say that a riot should probably be read as a signal that seriously negative conditions are being experienced by the prisoners in that institution, and those prisoners are people who have mothers and fathers and sisters and lovers in the Sudbury community. But conditions serious enough to spark a riot by people loved by people in the Sudbury community are not worthy of news coverage, apparently.

Of course, though I do not at present have any hard data to confirm this, given research on the Canadian legal system in general I think it is probably a safe bet that the people who end up in the Sudbury jail -- not the people who actually do things that cause other human beings harm, understand, which is related to incarceration in complex and only very partial ways, but those that actually get locked up -- are disproportionately racialized (which in Sudbury means disproportionately indigenous) and disproportionately poor. Which may have something to do with the lack of dominant media attention to their realities.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

ive been inside the sudbury jail as a prisoner for a couple days. if they are rioting over the food they are stupid, because sudbury jail has 5 star food, unlike the new superjails which have pre cooked frozen garbage.

Scott said...

:) I could easily have a distorted picture of the reasons...perhaps it was the overcrowding that was the key reason, or perhaps the word-of-mouth chain that I got this news from missed some important detail...

Anonymous said...

I was in Sudbury jail in March of 2006 and I can totally understand why they would riot. While I was there the guards denied us our food and let it get cold then feeding us. I was also treated to a brutal assault by an officer the day I was being transfered. On top of this the jail hid the assaunlt and didn't investigate which is why they are being invetigated by CISU (like the SIU for the police).