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Superjails

Letter from Simcoe County, Ontario

To Whom It May Concern:

Re: Injustice & North Central Correctional Center (Super Jail)
Penetanguishene, ON

Please find below complaints and concerns in regards of others at this jail and the one that is almost completed in Lindsay, ON.

My first issue is - What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"? From what I have experienced, it looks like "Guilty until proven innocent".

11(d)- to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
The Constitution Act, 1982, Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11, s 11

My husband has been in jail since January 31, 2002 and has been unjustifiably been denied bail, because the Justice of the Peace felt that I was not a good enough absurdity and that I was not in control of my husband. I thought that no one was in the control of anyone, especially an adult. To control someone is known as abuse. Later we tried for two bail reviews but the judge felt that there was no new evidence to present to warrant another chance for bail, even when there was a new added absurdity, my husband's father.

I strongly feel and have seen evidence that the law is detaining him because of who he was with and not the fact that he has no criminal record. This is called DISCRIMINATION. This is his first time he has ever been seriously charged for something. My husband has always respected the law. He is the sole person of supporting our family. For me this has been very traumatic, as I have gained full responsibility of his son (my step-son) which has limited me to be able to work only part-time and I have been unable to find employment because of it. I am unable to obtain any assistance from Mother Allowance or Ontario Works because I share ownership with my husband from a rental duplex which has been up for sale since last spring. I have just lowered the price this spring because of my needs to survive. One apartment is rented to my husband's daughter (my step-daughter) who is only 16 and is still in school. We give her a break on rent so that she can afford to live as well. Also, I have two children from a previous marriage that I pay support for; based on income I received over a year ago. I have been unable to change the order due to the fact that I can not afford the retainer that a lawyer needs. In addition to support I help my oldest who is in College with extra expenses (Computer, books for each semester & one semester of tuition fees). How is a family to survive when there is no help for an injustice decision and when a wife is solely dependent on her husband? We as a family are losing everything due to a speculation and one man's word again three others. It is because the complaint used the words "Hells Angels".

The complainant had owed the other party in the arrest (his friend, who became a Hells Angel after my husband had known him), a large sum of money for product that my husband had been the middle man (because my husband knew the complainant and they worked together) of selling, picking up and delivering. The product had dropped considerably in price and was available to everyone for free a few of weeks later. It was agreed between my husband and the complainant that the complainant would make good on the mishap and would pay my husband's friends back. Finally the complainant had phoned my husband to meet him (after a year later) in Barrie insisting that his friend come along to make sure that he received his money. The complainant said that the exchange had to happen today or he was not getting his money. On this very day there was a very bad snow storm as well. When they arrived the complainant said he did not have the money and our friend got a little angry and threatened the complainant at which point the men were arrested. Our friend had brought a friend of his in the truck with him and his friend was in the truck at the time of the arrest sleeping off a hang over from the night before party. He was arrested as well and was on parole. All three men have been in jail since January 31, 2002 with no bail.

My husband has always been a family orientated man and he misses his family and has been worried about us financially. I am trying to find a job but we have just moved into the area and it is hard to find something that will allow me to be home in time for my step son after school.

This jail that my husband is in is independently owned by a company call Management & Training Corporation, by a Mr. Joel Campbell (801-693-2600) out of Utah. My first question is - Why are these jails owned by a U.S. company and not a Canadian Company? The United States are not accustomed to our Health Care System or our Human Rights Issues as citizens of Canada. Our rights among this facility are being violated and the people within this jail are being treated liked animals. We have people in this jail that are being extorted into pleading guilty to charges that they are not guilty to just to get out because they are unable to get bail and/or unable to get a trail date for at least one to one and a half years. The conditions within this jail are unbearable for someone that has not been given a fair trial to prove their innocence. In fact people that are convicted and sent to a penitentiary get better treatment. In this jail there is no physical contact with family members, the food is unacceptable, there is no real health care unless you are almost dying first, there is nothing for the men to do all day, rules are always changing for the prisoners as well as the visitors which makes things very confusing and frustrating, outside people are not allowed to send books or magazines, nor are board games allowed and among other issues that only the inmates could really explain to you. (The inmates are welcoming you to come visit them, contact me if you are able to make a report) Those that are in need and have serious mental illness and/or serious physical ailments are not being attended to. The seating, beds, and shoes are unacceptable to anyone who has back and/or neck problems. There is not allowance for special needs if someone suffers from either of these conditions. Even the shoes are inappropriate when walking on concrete floors all day. The prisoners who are waiting for trial and have been denied bailed are supposed to be "Innocent until proven guilty"; in fact the Ontario Human Society would not allow any animal to be mistreated the way that the people among this prison are being treated.

A little summary of what I discussed above:

The people among this facility are not receiving proper medical care for at least 6- 8 weeks of them requesting to see a doctor and only then can they deal with one problem at a time and then the prisoners have to submit another request which again can take up to 6- 8 weeks to discuss their next issue. The food is not acceptable to any human consumption. All foods are steamed or packaged. Their consumption is supposed to be at least 3,000 calories a day if the food is not rotten or out of date. Their meat sandwiches are supposed to be good for 60 days. Where are they getting their food from? No one would even think of eating a pre-made sandwich after a day without the fear of food poisoning. I know of one whole day that they did not even get fed. It is not because of the recent strike that CUPE had either because the employees are not unionized.

Being a single mother with no income and having these added expenses of lawyers and transportation costs to travel to Penetanguishene have drowned me mentally and financially. Something needs to be done about the way the prisoners who are waiting for trial are being treated and the prisoners should have a chose of being transferred to a closer location to their immediate families. It takes me three hours to travel one way to see my husband for 20 minutes. Because I can't afford to spend $150.00 per week to see my husband, I only see him once every two weeks and even then I can't really afford to see him. I feel that there should be assistance to mothers and families of someone ending up in jail which are denied bail.

Then we get into the cost of phone calls. My husband needs my support through this terrible time of our lives. At the jail, the prisoners are only allowed to make collect calls. This has cost our families hundred and thousands of dollars. Why are the prisoners not allowed to use calling cards or family member cards to help reduce the high expense? I am sure that the prison is making a pretty penny with their cost of calls being made each day.

All in all, the expense that the family members incur by someone being arrested is phenomenal. This is not fair when someone has not had a chance to prove their innocence. So far the expenses have been well over $15,000.00 plus the lost of our home and a vehicle. So far nothing has been resolved and we have not been able to submit our side of the incident. The expenses have been for travel (gas & meals), canteen money, lawyers, phone bills and impoundment of vehicle.

I feel that someone from your office should speak to some of the prisoners who have been denied bail and who are waiting for trail (My husband is will to talk to someone and he says he knows of others that may as well). It needs to be made aware to the public of what happens to people that are not even convicted yet and are being treated worst than those who are found guilty.

Other issue is that the Simcoe/Barrie police force is known as "Hazard County". One would not want to be arrested for the smallest crime without the fear of going to jail for a very long time, and maybe framed for a crime that they may not have committed. I have seen corruption among the police force as well as the justice system here in this county. I have even spoken to other officers in other districts and they all say if it had happened in their area that they would have received bail.

My husband and his friends were originally charged with extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion but now the charges have been changed to threatening over a six month period for the purpose of extortion for an organized crime. This case has nothing to do with the Hells Angels as they are trying to make as such. It is a dealing among individuals before one member even became a Hells Angel.

Now Simcoe County are trying to make a name for themselves by being the first to convict two Hells Angels with this new Bill 29 and proving that Hells Angels is an organized crime group. Yet in England, the Hells Angels are respected even by the Queen on her birthday. There are some bad people in every group of people, even the police force.

Please help me and have my and other voices heard on this issue. I truly feel that the public need to be made aware of how unfair the justice system in this county can be.

Sincerely,

Angelia Maskell
Cayuga, ON
(905) 772-2610