Contra Band - Collin's Bay

posted by Brian Judge on Nov 28, 2011 in Prison TV Blog | 0 comments
Contra Band - Collin's Bay

By Ricky Atkinson:  A few years ago, while serving on the inmate committee at Mission Institution (Mission, B.C.), I asked the Warden if we could bring in a band to entertain at a family social; the answer was “no”. The Warden said, "I believe the public hearing that we brought in someone to entertain the men would launch so many complaints that I would be buried in paper work”.


I appealed to the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) member to intervene and he reiterated what the warden had said, adding, "I deal with the public every day and they would find you guys having fun and being entertained, disturbing!"


I had to fire back and say that I find both you and the warden’s position very disturbing because you’re not supposed to bow to public opinion; if you did we would all be drawn and quartered or hung by our thumbs until dead! As I was talking to this man the sound of men laughing and clapping over the sweet sound of Christian music coming from a chapel social event filled the air. I pointed in the sounds direction and said, "Why is that happiness any different from the joy the rest of the prison population might experience – many do not go to the chapel?"


The CAC member looked at me and said. "Most of the people in this area are Christians!" It wasn't until I got out and was able to travel around the area of the prison did I realize that just like the rest of Canada, the area was a multi-cultural and multi-religious. The bottom line is that musical concerts are frowned upon by the conservative right and no warden wants to be perceived as too liberal.


Prison TV’s Brian Judge asked recently, "Do you think we could ever get another 'Contact show' going again in any prison?" My response: the freedom we enjoyed back in the 1990’s was condoned by many wardens, deputy wardens, security heads, the commissioner of prisons all the way up to the justice minister; allowing us to film and interview them while portraying the truth about Canadian prisons will never happen again. Yet the truth, although hidden and harder to come by, must still be told so that billions of our dollars can be directed to the best areas of need, creating a better society.



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