More than 2,000 inmates released, 6 COVID-19 cases confirmed inside Ontario jails
April 9, 2020
Total inmate population in provincial jails has fallen from 8,344 to 6,025 since mid-March, province says
The article says there were cases of COVID-19 among staff, for example, but it seems to only mean that they tested positive.
Going back in time to March 25, 2020:
Senator calls for inmate release to prevent potential prison COVID-19 ‘disaster’
. . .So far, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Canada’s prisons . . .
But they were very worried about the virus spreading very quickly in prisons and killing more vulnerable prisoners. In retrospect, these expectations seem to have been exaggerated in my view.
But is that the normal policy–to release prisoners anyway in this kind of situation?
Among those calling for the compassionate releases is Ontario Senator Kim Pate, who was the head of the Elizabeth Fry Society for decades prior to her appointment.
There was a lot of focus on cruise ships at the time.
To prepare for possible COVID-19 cases, corrections officials have suspended visits, most temporary absence passes and work releases.. . .
So, the social isolation was emphasized–and we are still led to believe that this is necessary–by events such as these prison releases. Visits were suspended for all the prisoners–not just the ones who were vulnerable to the virus. Just like all Canadians are urged to stay home, not just the ones who are most vulnerable or who are actually sick. And the same pattern existed again with the emphasis on testing for the presence of the virus rather than focusing only on people who have symptoms of illness.
The official was rightfully concerned about the prisoners’ mental health, being isolated except for phone access, etc.
So in the same way, governments should have been concerned about the mental health of all Canadians who have been told to live as prisoners in their own homes.
Digging deeper, the story is worse than it sounds:
Judges release growing number accused of violent crimes due to COVID-19 fears
By Stewart Bell Global News
Posted April 8, 2020
One is the accused getaway driver for a recent Toronto murder attempt. Another allegedly pistol-whipped and Tasered two in Ottawa over a drug debt. A third was allegedly involved in a Toronto strip mall shooting.
A growing number of suspects arrested on serious criminal charges have been ordered released from custody in recent weeks by judges concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in Canada’s prisons.
“These are extraordinary, dire times,” a judge wrote Monday in a decision ordering the release of a man accused of firing a bullet through his ex-girlfriend’s apartment window in Hamilton, Ont.
I am sorry that people have been lied to and don’t understand all of this for what it is. At the very least, there is something theatrical about it–to try to convince people of how serious the threat from the virus was. But I think it’s worse than that.