Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug  9, 2015)

Porn for Perps 


By Bob Cooper

First it was special religious diets (Canada needs Sheriff Joe).  Then it was ice cream (We all scream for ice cream).  Now it’s this (Judge orders review of inmate's grievance over porn TV channels).  In fairness to Corrections Canada, this time it wasn’t their fault and to their credit they went to court to oppose it. 

According to the National Post article (Prison can't take porn channels away from inmates, federal court rules) Haris Naraine, an inmate at Archambault Federal Penitentiary sued Corrections Canada over their decision to cut off televised porn to inmates.  His lawyer, Todd Sloan, argued that Naraine’s Charter right of free expression was violated and Federal Court Justice Jocelyne Gagne bought this nonsense.  Mr. Sloan was formerly counsel to the Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada, established by the Trudeau Liberals in 1973 that functions as a modern day Father Flannigan, dabbing inmates’ tears and railing against the injustice of it all.  I’m not sure what Justice Gagne’s excuse is. 

None of the articles in the mainstream press mention why Mr. Naraine was in Archambault nor do we know if they even bothered to ask but what’s been forgotten here is that this is a prison.  Not only that but it’s a Canadian prison which means it’s more difficult to get sent to than getting into Harvard or Yale.  He’s not there for being a good citizen nor is it meant to be the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  You’re not supposed to want to come back. 

Being convicted of a crime and sent to prison, by its very nature, involves forfeiting certain rights.  This even occurs with ‘non-custodial’ sentences where judges or parole boards can place restrictions on convicted criminals such as curfews, abstain from alcohol, or prohibit them from contacting their victims or criminal associates.  In the 1970s there was an ex-convict in the skid road who was on parole from Newfoundland for Bestiality and was not to be found in possession of chickens.  Mr. Sloan would no doubt feel that was unduly harsh but try to see it from the chicken’s point of view.  Cops used to run the guy’s name just to hear the radio operator burst out laughing while trying to read out the conditions.  

What’s not so funny is that scarce court time was wasted on a trifle like this, not to mention the cost to taxpayers.  Granted, Mr. Naraine has certain inalienable rights, particularly when he’s in custody.  Corrections Canada have an obligation to feed, clothe, keep him safe, and not torture him.  I get that.  What I don’t get is the notion that inmates have a presumptive right to porn or that the Corrections Commissioner can’t impose rules in his prisons without a “balancing act” in each case. 

You really wonder where this ends.


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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