January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

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NEWS

Inmates love alcohol as much as students

By Christopher Smeenk
Gazette Writer

Inmates at a Kingston area prison partied hard this past Christmas, thanks to homemade booze concocted with a variety of household ingredients.

“[It is] a problem evident in most institutions,” said Diane Russon, Ontario spokesperson for Corrections Services Canada, about the incident. “We battle it on an ongoing basis.”

The events took place at the Collins Bay Institute, a medium security prison in the Kingston area. According to Russon, increased searches of inmate quarters and the facility led to a large seizure of homemade liquor after Christmas.

“Prior to Christmas, they found a lot of brew at Collins Bay. There were increased incidents of brew over Christmas,” she explained. “Some offenders were found to be under the influence, and they were dealt with on an individual basis.”

Russon said the brew seized was mainly fruit-based and believed to be derived from clementines purchased by inmates around the Christmas holidays.

Jason Godin, spokesman for the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, blamed the lax policies of Corrections Canada for precipitating the bootlegging.

“[Corrections Canada] would sooner appease the inmates than consider safety issues. They don’t stop to think about the repercussions,” he said.

Godin noted that by law, the prison must supply the inmates with a minimum of three meals per day. “Inmates should be given the minimum amount of food they legally require. Any extras they will abuse and turn into a brew,” he argued.

A dangerous relationship between alcohol and violence was pointed out by Janet Mcallister, a project consultant with the London Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“Suicide and violent crime are often associated with alcohol abuse. It’s effects are no different inside the prison as opposed to outside,” she said.

Mcallister further explained that alcohol abuse is often associated with unusual sexual behaviour, adding this behaviour sometimes occurs at universities and colleges. “You get a lot of these sort of things on campus,” she said.

 

 

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