GOING TO JAIL: THE INCARCERATION EXPERIENCE
This book is intended in part as a consumers report on British Columbias correctional system based on my personal experience as a client. I would note that the system is separate from, and has different objectives from the other components of the criminal justice system. Essentially the correctional systems role is to see that sentences handed down by the courts are carried out, in this case a custodial sentence. Superficially, if no one escapes, or brings harm to himself or others, they have successfully performed their function. However, while you have a captive audience, you might as well do something with all these people. Programs! And they re a good thing for the guards as well.
It is much easier to write about my insider investigation of British Columbias correctional system than to write about the trial which led to it, so readers may have to wait a while for the latter. As an inmate I kept an occasional journal in the form of letters I wrote to a sociology professor at Simon Fraser University who had followed my case from the beginning and had studied sex offender programs in the federal prison system, and others were written to a poet and old friend of mine. This journal has been transcribed from the handwritten letters I wrote, and edited, revised, rearranged to eliminate redundancy and make them more readable. The original journals did not include all the details I might have wished as mail to and from inmates is read, and where the correctional authorities deem it appropriate, censored. In fact I was not allowed to receive three letters addressed to me while in jail. Aware of this ongoing censorship I was not as candid as I would normally be in order to avoid problems with the administration. There is no discussion of some incidents and some of the more prurient thoughts that occurred to me while incarcerated have been omitted. I have however tried to spice it up a little from remembered incidents. I began writing at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre, Maple Ridge, B.C. on July 20th, 2004 shortly after I was sentenced.
Tenses are not consistent and may indicate whether the text is verbatim from the letters or later additions and rewriting. I have not tried to eliminate all these inconsistencies. The names of the inmates have been changed in all cases.
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