Medium Security Summer

posted by Brian Judge on Apr 26, 2011 in Prison TV Blog | 0 comments
Medium Security Summer

By Ricky Atkinson:  In the mid 1970’s there was a tension filled, racial dynamic at Collins Bay Institution and I organized a BIFA group, (Black Inmate and Friends Association) to ease the racial pressure after a race riot there.

During the 1990s, while chairman of the inmate committee at Joyceville Institution, I helped organize a multi-cultural group comprised of all racial and religious groups at the prison, to ease the tension after a race-related murder in that joint.


We held a multi-cultural social and we all worked together to make the event happen; actually it was one of the first shows to be aired.

Today I worry about prison administrators seeking to separate racial groups in order to get a handle on their prison populations, when the solution to easing racial tension is not in separation of the races.

Canadians have worked hard on racial unity and we pride ourselves on being the most racially mixed population in the world.


As the former leader of one of Ontario’s largest racially mixed criminal gangs, I warn prison administration to seek solutions that bring together the prison populations and resist a sub-group’s natural instinct to stick together along racial and gang affiliated bonds to survive a violent prison existence.


Corrections Canada has stated that only 10% of Joyceville prison population is gang affiliated; what about the other 90%? Why should they suffer segregation due to race and racial tension? And they will if you implement American correctional policy of separation and segregation; it’s the bane of corrections watchdogs around the world.

Since I started doing time, mob gangs, biker gangs, various dynamic racial gangs have existed. Why suddenly is it so disconcerting to prison administrators to deal with these groups, when older correctional staff have dealt with such groups, under periods of unrest and violence, for decades.


Have prison administrators, through policies made in Ottawa, taken away the voice of those experienced correctional officers? Have such policies also prevented experienced older inmates from mediating and working with the prison officials to make the prison a better place to exist to do time?

The tension we are now seeing may not be racially or gang motivated as the prison officials state, but could be a result of over crowding and a lack of social and educational programs. Indeed, there does seem to be a lack of hope for peace and unity by both the front line guards and the prison population. Yet the world watches us as we brag about having the world’s best judicial/correctional system.


If that boast is not full of hot air, then getting to the bottom of a problem that is caused by only a small portion of the prison population should not be such a hurdle to overcome for the world’s best.


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