June 27, 1946

LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

Mr. Chairman, I realize that prison reform is not a new subject, for it has been under review in this country for well over a hundred years. The most recent review was conducted by the Archambault commission in 1938, when the problem was explored and reexamined and many valuable recommendations put forward. In the light of these researches it is interesting to examine the statistics on crime in Canada over the past forty years. From 1900 to 1943 the number of crimes increased from 5,768 to 41,752, an increase of 642 per cent. The increase in population during the same period was 120 per cent, so we see that the increase in the crime rate was more than five times the increase in population. A further breakdown of the statistics is even more revealing. Convictions for all offences in 1905 numbered 62,559; in 1925 they were 177,783, and in 1943 they numbered 517,363. Or to consider the ratio of crimes to population, convictions for all offences were 1,042 per 100,000 of population in 1905, 1,913 per

100.000 of population in 1925, and 4,379 per

100.000 of population in 1943.

As far as juveniles between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one were concerned, the same trend is apparent. To consider only major offences, or what would be equivalent to indictable offences when referring to adults, the convictions of juveniles were 238 per cent per 100,000 of that age group in 1911, 708 in 1937, and 900 in 1943. I presume hon. members may ask, can that be true? Well, those are the figures; they may be found in the Canada Year Book and in the publications of the statistics bureau, and they are true. I think it well that this house should realize these figures are an appalling reflection upon the moral therapy of our prison system, particularly when we consider that a great proportion of the crimes were committed by repeaters. These figures are very interesting. Of the 1,335 males committed to the seven dominion penitentiaries during the year ended March 31, 1945, 1,050, or more than 76 per cent, three out of every four offenders, had been in prison before. Of the 42,000 men sentenced for indictable offences of all types in the same year, more than 13,000 of them, or one out of every three, had been in prison before. The Archambault commission of 1938 reported that there were 188 prisoners then in confinement who had been convicted an average of nineteen times each, and had cost the taxpayers of this country an average of 825,453.24, without taking into consideration the loss occasioned by the crimes which they committed.

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PC
LIB

David Arnold Croll

Liberal

Mr. CROLL:

Yes, each. No hon. member will deny that these figures represent a staggering defeat of crime prevention. I think we ought to ask ourselves: Why have we failed to keep crime under control? In my opinion -and I think it is the opinion of the Archambault commission-no cause is more influential than the prison system itself. Because, as the hon. member for Kootenay East has said, while Canada's rate of serious crime was increasing threefold between the first and second great wars, under another system the British rate has dwindled by four. In twenty years, in conjunction with the Borstal system for young offenders, Great Britain reduced the population of her prisons from 186,000 to 46,000. More significantly, in the year 1942 there were 47,000 indictable crimes committed in Great Britain, which has a population of 41 million; and in the same year in Canada, with a population of 12 million, there were 46,723 indictable offences.

Chief Justice J. C. McRuer, who was a member of the Archambault commission, said in a public address in May, 1942:

Why we should have 46,723 persons convicted of serious crimes in Canada in one year, while in Great Britain with nearly four times the population the annual convictions were approximately 47,000 is a matter for careful consideration and profound examination.

Well, the explanation it seems is quite clear. There are two methods of handling lawbreakers. One decreases violation of the law, and the other seems to increase violation of the law. An examination of the Canadian penal system, as reported by the 1938 Archambault commission, discloses deep-rooted and yet remediable defects. These defects are:

1. Staffs are inadequately trained, sometimes unsuitable for their duties, and generally underpaid.

2. Any individual attempt to ameliorate conditions is frustrated by a multitude of detailed regulations.

3. The prisoner is cut off from the rest of the world by walls and by regulations which deny him newspapers and restrict his correspondence and visiting privileges.

4. He is treated as one of a disgraceful class of persons to be denied any humanizing contacts.

5. He is allowed only one half hour of daily exercise in the open air, consisting mainly of walking in a ring with no conversation allowed.

6. His work is unproductive and insufficient.

7. Generally, trades are not taught.

8. A great proportion of the prisoner's time is spent in idleness.

As for youthful offenders, the commission reported that-

Contrary to the general public belief they have not the least opportunity to learn a trade- -to fit them for employment on discharge.

It also appears that-

Education has been largely neglected in all Canadian penitentiaries, and no real interest has. been taken in this important feature of reformative treatment.

Further:

The school rooms are all poorly equipped . . . accommodation is meagre and unsuitable . . . there is no vocational education worthy of the name . . . there is little use of the library as. an agency of education . . .

And all this in a penitentiary in which-

-a large proportion of the population is. illiterate.

In spite of the obvious opportunities for agricultural work the commission found that-

-the farms are not exploited or cultivated to the extent of their possibilities . . . are inefficiently operated and there is no one connected with the penitentiaries branch who has the required experience to direct the operation of farms which total over 1,000 acres.

Something has already been said about the Borstal system. I looked through Hansard and I did not see there a clear statement of what the Borstal system consists of, so I now quote from a report respecting the Borstal system by Barman of London, in 1934:

Borstal is not a boys' prison. To collect all prisoners under t-wenty-one and confine them in a corner of a large gaol and call the result a Borstal institution is a sham and a pretence, a piece of administrative complacency defrauding a credulous public. A Borstal institution is a training school for adolescent offenders, based on educational principles, pursuing educational methods. To be sent there is a punishment, for the training involves a very considerable loss of liberty, but to stay there is to be given a chance to learn the right way of life and to develop the good there is in each.

The English Borstal system which deals with young offenders over the age of sixteen years was instituted by the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908. The act recognized for the first time that youthful adolescents, whatever their crimes may be, were to receive special treatment adapted to their needs. Subsequent legislation increased the age from twenty-one to twenty-three, and extended the possible period of detention from one to three years.

Young offenders between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three were divided into three classes (1) those who are not bad enough for Borstal and can be dealt with by probation

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or other non-institutional treatment; (2) those who are too bad for Borstal, and (3) the remainder, mostly repeaters, who are selected for Borstal. As a rule first offenders are not sent there.

The Borstal sentence is ordinarily three years, of which two are spent in the institution, with one year at liberty under supervision. In the eight Borstal institutions, some are locked up at night, and some are locked neither day nor night. The institutions offer a graded system of supervision and restriction according to the character of the inmates. Some exercise no more restraint than there is in an ordinary boarding school-in fact the boarding school principle is extensively used. In each institution the boys are divided into houses, in charge of a housemaster and his assistant. They progress from grade to grade, promotion being governed by good conduct and industry, until they are trusted to work without supervision and then without escort.

Industrial training and. vocational guidance play an important part in the Borstal system. Through hard work, physical training and planned recreation, delinquent boys are thus able to reshape their lives. Much of the credit for their success is due to the unusually high calibre of the Borstal staffs, who are given the widest possible scope in dealing with their charges, and to the Borstal association which supervises and assists boys who have been discharged from one of the institutions. The success of Borstal is shown by the fact that two-thirds of the boys who are discharged do not again appear at any time during their lives in prison; and fewer than twenty per cent are repeaters. Almost all youngsters, with few exceptions, develop sufficient strength of character to take their places in the world as useful citizens. Such is Britain's very wise investment in youth. It seems to me that where we cannot lead, we can at least follow.

The report of the Archambault commission proved conclusively that the present system in Canada is fifty years out of date physically and morally. To remedy it requires more than the handful of amendments which have followed this, indictment. In my opinion the need is for a thorough change of perspective on the part of the government and on the part of the people of Canada. Many of the vices of the present system have grown up because of the complete indifference of the public in general. This mentality is undoubtedly a hangover from the Victorian era, where a prison was the place to which you sent lawbreakers and forgot all about them.

Five of the seven penitentiaries in Canada were built upwards of sixty years ago, and

the way of thinking that conceived these gloomy buildings still governs the treatment of their inmates. But if the physical constitution of our penitentiaries is antiquated, the penal therapy practised in them is equally obsolete. Yet it is useless to change one and [DOT]not the other. It is useless to develop modern methods of treatment if young and reformable offenders are to be given a complete education in crime through, enforced and indiscriminate association with experienced criminals. As it works out in practice, the first offender is a better citizen when he goes in than when he comes out. To remedy this situation, the Archambault commission made some eighty-eight recommendations. I shall not read them all, but I should like to refer to a few.

1. A centralized prison system under one federal government authority.

2. A classification system to separate young and salvageable prisoners from repeaters and the mentally deficient.

3. Stress on education and vocational training.

4. A new approach to prison discipline.

5. Facilities for helping released prisoners take their place in civilian life.

6. Institutions patterned after the Borstal system for young offenders from sixteen to twenty-three years.

7. Better training and pay for prison officers.

8. Thorough medical and psychiatric examination.

9. A merit system for reformables on the model of the English system.

10. More outdoor games and exercises.

11. Reorganization of prison industries.

12. Installation of parole officers.

The committee may or may not agree with the Archambault report, but I think we must all pay our respects to the intelligence and probity of the commission. But what has been done in the eight years since their report was submitted can only be put down as insignificant. In fairness it must be said that in six of those years we were involved in a horrible struggle and not much could be expected, but that is finished. We ought to be ready now to make progress. Some small reforms have been made, and credit must be given. These reforms include permission to the prisoners to have playing cards in their cells so that they can amuse themselves. They are allowed to have puzzles and drawing materials. They are permitted to hear a slightly wider selection of radio programs, and to see one moving picture per month. They bathe more often than they used to. One peniten tiary has installed mechanical dishwashers. The rule of silence

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is now enforced only between the hours of seven and eight in the evening. Only a short time ago a psychiatrist was assigned to the penitentiary at Kingston, but there is still none in the other six penitentiaries.

But the rest remains practically as before. There is still the hole, the strapping bench, the thirty minutes of exercise a day, and the necessity of prisoners spending fifteen hours of each day alone in their cells. Prisoners still earn five cents per day in old and badly equipped shops. Virtually nothing has been done to facilitate the classification of prisoners, to supply vocational training, or to segregate and supply curative treatments' for young offenders. In the words of the 1913 penitentiaries commission:

The old and the young, the bad and the well disposed, the hopeless and the hopeful, all are treated as so much human waste in a common heap.

I would call the attention of the committee to the fact that penal reform is not a matter of amending one or another of the seven hundred odd regulations which have accumulated since the original Penitentiaries Act was passed in 1868. It is a question, first, of recognizing and, second, of applying, well established principles. The cornerstone of modern penology is classification, segregation and after-care, none of which is adequately practised in Canada.

Criminals may be divided into three main classes, as the hon. member for Saskatoon City has said. They are, first, accidental or occasional criminals; second, reformable criminals, and, third, habitual criminals. In Canadian prisons these types are thrown together in hopeless confusion, and when to them are added the criminally insane, for whom no separate provision is made, if they become insane more than three months after they have been committed to prison, the reason for Canada's failure in crime prevention becomes apparent.

Only adequate classification and segregation will avoid this evil, and these are almost physically impossible in the Canadian prison system as at present constituted. Sheer lack of facilities prevents the separation of the young from the old, the reformable first offender from the hardened repeater, the weak from the vicious, and the moron from the wayward intellectual. The only solution, as the Archambault commission realized, is to centralize penal control. I can see some difficulties about that. They recommended that the reformatories and provincial gaols must be brought under the same jurisdiction as the penitentiaries so as to develop a coordinated system of classification and treatment for all except short-term offenders. Instead

of automatically sending a man to the nearest penitentiary following a conviction of two years or more, as is done at the present time, it should be made possible to put him through a screening process that will permit the segregation in various prisons of the habitual offender, the young prisoner, the mentally deficient, the incorrigible, and the insane.

The Archambault commission recommended a six-point, programme of classification designed to remove many of the evils of the present system. This recommendation must be implemented, but its functioning is predicated on centralized control. But a just and humane prison system in itself does not complete the picture. The after-care of discharged prisoners is fully as important. The Archambault commission concluded that the alarming increase in repeaters was chiefly due to two factors:

First, the absence of any serious attempt to effect the reformation of the prisoner while he was incarcerated . . . and

Second, the failure to provide him on release with adequate assistance ... to obtain honest work and support himself and his dependents.

It costs this country $4,000,000 a year to keep 3,000 men in penitentiaries, but when a prisoner is let out, he is on his own. He faces an unfamiliar and hostile world with a railroad ticket, a few dollars earned at five cents a day, and a suit of prison-made clothing which he gets rid of at the first opportunity. Through enforced isolation from the outside world he has lost touch; his unproductive, rigidly controlled life in prison has left him badly handicapped in his efforts at rehabilitation. Sooner or later ninety-five per cent of our penitentiary inmates are released, and the 1938 commission was convinced that with proper after-care the vast majority of them could become useful citizens. Instead, as we have seen, three-fourths of them commit further crimes and are returned to prison.

At the present time there are eight prisoners' welfare associations in Canada. They have done invaluable, if unpublicized, work, for which this committee will, I am sure, commend them whole-heartedly. Yet they are gravely handicapped by lack of adequate financial support-no regular contribution is made by the federal government.

and without coordination it is difficult for them to pursue a uniform programme throughout the country. By contrast the state-controlled and financed rehabilitation of ex-prisoners is one of the most profitable features of the British penal system. There the Central Association for the Aid of Discharged Convicts, whose president is the Home Secretary, is financed by the treasury to coordinate the work of all the

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societies engaged in assisting ex-convicts. When a prisoner is released, one of the organizations takes charge of his maintenance for at least two weeks, helps him to find a job, and even buys tools for him if necessary.

No fewer than four recommendations were made by the Arehambault commission to set up a coordinated system of after-care for rehabilitating released prisoners. They saw that prisoners have to be helped to face the problem of their reentry into society, and that the solution lay partly in coordinating all the prisoners' aid societies under government sponsorship, and partly in enlisting the cooperation of the public to assist discharged prisoners to find employment and resume their place in the world.

In general, what is needed is a complete change of mind and a change of heart in dealing with crime. We must recognize it for what it is-a disease born of social conditions for which the country as a whole must accept greater responsibility. And like a disease, crime can, in most cases, be cured. The offender against the law must be punished for his transgression-that is the basic principle of any system of justice. But more important, he must be prevented by positive treatment from continuing in the way of lawlessness.

So far we have confined ourselves to punishing law-breakers by taking away their liberty for a period of years and then returning them to the world more anti-social than they were to begin with. That this method has been a complete failure is apparent from the statistics of crime to which I have referred, It remains to try another course. We have before us, in Britain, an example of what can be done, given an understanding of the nature of the problem and a real desire to remedy it.

The treatment of crime must be brought out from behind the hundred-year old walls of Kingston penitentiary, Dorchester and Stony Mountain into the light of modern science. The country at large must be taught a sympathetic and intelligent approach to crime and its prevention. Only by facing up squarely to the facts can we hope to provide a remedj'. Until we do, and so long as we attempt to cope with the situation by antiquated methods, we may expect the present trend in lawlessness to continue.

I started out by saying that prison reform was not a new problem in this country. The first commission to inquire into it was appointed in 1S32. It met and made a recommendation, which was tabled. Sixteen years later, in 1848, another commission was appointed. It too met and made a recommendation, which also was tabled. In 1867

another commission was appointed. It met, made a recommendation, and the recommendation was tabled. Forty-six years later, in 1913, another commission was appointed. It met, made a recommendation, and that recommendation was tabled. Seven years later, in 1920, another commission was appointed. It too met, made recommendations, and again the recommendations were tabled. Then in 1938, eighteen years later, another commission was appointed. It too met and made a recommendation, and now we have that recommendation before us, eight years later.

We cannot solve the problem we have been discussing here by ignoring it. We have to face up to it. It is long overdue for our attention. Mr. Chairman, we must do something about this problem, not to-morrow, but to-day. The Arehambault report was a splendid one. All I ask is that the minister and his department apply themselves immediately to it and bring into effect recommendations in that report that will change the system to the benefit of the people of Canada generally.

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Eric Bowness McKay

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. McKAY:

Mr. Chairman, I have listened with considerable interest to what has been said by the hon. member for Kootenay East, and by the hon. member for Spadina who has just taken his seat. Both speeches have been most informative. This discussion, while it has gone on for some considerable time, is one of great importance to this country. Last year we discussed penal reform at some considerable length. Some of us were not particularly satisfied with what had been done following the report of the Arehambault royal commission, and we are still not satisfied.

I propose to deal at the outset this afternoon with the matter of crime prevention. It seems obvious that there has been neglect and failure to work out any national technique under the Department of Justice, or for that matter anywhere else, for the prevention of crime among our youth. The field-

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Would the hon. member-

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Eric Bowness McKay

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. McKAY:

Would the minister wait until I am finished?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I do not like to leave the imputation unanswered that there is failure on the part of the Department of Justice to institute methods for the prevention of crime among youth. That is not within the jurisdiction of the department, or within the jurisdiction of the House of Commons or of the hon. member who is now speaking.

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Eric Bowness McKay

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. McKAY:

I said, and I repeat, that there has been a failure to work out any

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national technique, anywhere for the prevention of crime among youth, and I referred to the Department of Justice and added, or for that matter anywhere else. I cannot see any particular objection to that statement, Mr. Chairman. The field has never been explored, so far as I can find out, and no machinery for dealing with potential offenders and for the liquidation of crime-producing centres has from the national viewpoint ever been conceived, much less standardized and set up for service. The dominion has left it in large part to the provinces, and the provinces have left it to the dominion, with the result that next to nothing has been done.

The child who has been raised in a slum home, under bad housing conditions, and in miserable surroundings, often undernourished in mind as well as in body, has been robbed of his rightful chance, and such conditions will breed delinquency as long as the state sits back and placidly allows such conditions to exist. We hoe out weeds in our gardens and fields, but the elimination of the evil which surrounds our youth has been largely left to a few churches and community-inspired organizations, who cannot hope to cope with this problem.

The house should take cognizance of the situation and proceed to eliminate crime by removing its most obvious source.

The minister is unquestionably aware of the wave of crime that is sweeping this country from coast to coast at the present time. Newspaper reports indicate that the perpetrators of these innumerable offences against the law of the land are in most cases young persons in their early twenties. Too often these young men and women have previously served time in penal institutions. It appears obvious to the most casual observer that, this being the case, our penal institutions have little rehabilitative or redemptive value. As a mode of treatment for offenders against the law, incarceration in our gaols and prisons without a programme of rehabilitation appears most ineffective. Many of Canada's outstanding leaders in education, in the church, in the legal profession, believe that a more sympathetic and above all scientific approach to the problem of youthful delinquency is most urgent. Acts of terrorism throughout the country continue, while the major recommendation of the Archambault royal commission of 1938, the establishment of the Borstal system in Canada, remains unimplemented. The United Kingdom has, by the establishment of this system, most satisfactorily met the problem of juvenile delinquency. The number of young people who are rearrested after completing a term in

Borstal institutions is very small. It is so successful that more than seventy per cent are never reconvicted. Youth have gained confidence in the administration of justice in the old land through the introduction of the Borstal system. There is a grave need of something of the same sort being established here in Canada. This house should insist that action be taken at the earliest possible moment to establish Borstal institutions in this country. It is recognized by many states, including England, the United States and France, as the most efficient agent of reform which has yet been devised for young offenders against the law.

A commissioner has now been appointed as authorized by section 4(a) of the Penitentiary Act of 1939, as enacted by section 2 of chapter 28 of the statutes of 1945. The house should be deeply concerned with regard to the activities of this commissioner. Most students of penology who have carefully studied the report of the royal commission of 1938 which investigated Canada's penal system are agreed that the report was a most noteworthy document, exhaustive in detail and on the whole generally satisfactory. Why, in the face of the opinions of these experts, are such statements made from the government benches as appear in Hansard, page 2744, and as have occurred during this debate? I quote remarks made by the hon. member for New Westminster:

Mr. Reid: I have one question to ask the minister and a suggestion to make as well. First of all, may I say that I was pleased this evening to hear him remark that many of the suggestions-

Note the word "many".

-and recommendations of the commission which were supported by certain hon. members tonight were exaggerated. I remember the visit of the commissioner to the Pacific coast, and I could use a stronger word than "exaggerated." Before tlie minister implements the recommendations made in the report I would suggest that he had better wait until he has a report from the new commissioner who has been appointed.

An hon. Member: Appoint another royal

commission.

Mr. Reid: No; I am not in favour of that.

Judge Archambault should never have been appointed to the job to which he was appointed. He knew little or nothing at all about penitentiaries. Many of the recommendations were ridiculous. I know whereof I speak. I do not care who appointed him; I am saying that as a member of parliament.

Mr. Castleden: He was not alone in it.

Mr. Reid: He took charge of it. As a matter of fact he was the chairman of the commission and took an active part too.

I submit that to say that many of the suggestions and recommendations were exaggerated, and to add that many of the recommendations were "ridiculous", and more,

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that the chairman, Mr. Justice Archambault, should never have been appointed, in effect amounts to a virtual repudiation of the work of this commission. It is a strange thing indeed that the government should appoint men in whom they had no confidence. If the commissioners were incompetent to conduct a survey of this country's penal system, why were they permitted to spend two years studying prisons in Canada and overseas, at a cost to the Canadian taxpaying public of $108,000? There can be only one answer: the government does not approve the report; it was not to the government's liking, because it spoke frankly and told the truth. The truth occasionally hurts, Mr. Chairman. It is most apparent that it is now the government's intention to ignore these suggestions and recommendations, because a commissioner has been appointed-

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Another one.

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CCF

Eric Bowness McKay

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. McKAY:

-who, as the minister

states, and to use his own words, will "be able to make recommendations which can be implemented." After spending thousands of dollars of the public's money to produce it, the royal commission report of 1938 appears destined for the wastepaper basket to which so many other royal commission reports have been relegated in the past. And a new commissioner has been appointed-a military man, no less-who, the minister states, is to obtain accurate and up-to-date information as to what should be done with regard to our penal institutions. I am not questioning this man's qualifications, but I do hesitate, and I believe Canadians generally will hesitate, to accept one man's word against that of three men who were experts in their own field of endeavour for years and because of the very nature of their professions have been closely associated with the subject of penal institutions and penal reform throughout their long and varied careers. It is not inconceivable, Mr. Chairman, that should the new commissioner not recommend changes to the liking of the government, his report too will be thrown in the discard and w'e shall wait for another half century or more for satisfactory penal reform.

Last session the minister stated, as reported in Hansard of December 12, page 3353, that the recommendations of the Archambault royal commission dealing with the establishment of a Borstal system-to use his own words-"cannot be acted upon until there is some change in our constitution."

Mr. TOWNLEY-SMITH: Good old

constitution!

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Thomas Ashmore Kidd

Progressive Conservative

Mr. KIDD:

I should like to bring to the minister's attention another angle of the penitentiaries question, and that is the present position of men who resigned as guards to go overseas. When war broke out in 1939 many of these men, returned soldiers from the last war, immediately enlisted. They joined up in 1939, 1940 and 1941, and particularly would I draw attention to Kingston, Portsmouth,

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and similar penitentiaries. The same applies no doubt to other penitentaries across Canada. Some of these men went overseas, others gave valuable service in the veterans guards. Some have not come back; others are now returning. Naturally when they enlisted their places had to be filled, but I would make a strong appeal to the minister to see to it that those men who are now being taken on the staffs again do not lose their seniority by reason of their service overseas. Some of those who were taken on to fill the places of the men who resigned to go overseas have been confirmed in their positions. Some were temporary. At any rate, on behalf of these particular men of whom I speak, who made such a splendid contribution to the war effort, I ask that every consideration be given their cases when they come up for review by the minister.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: That is a matter that has received very serious consideration. When the war broke out my predecessor gave instructions to the wardens to release all those who could be spared and who wished to enlist in the forces. Then, after the staffs were cut to the smallest possible number that could cope with the job that had to be done, the others were told that it was felt their services were essential to the administration of these penitentiaries at home, and that if they remained with the service they would get first consideration, subject of course to the restoration of the rights of those who had obtained leave to enlist. There were very many who did remain, and who felt that they would have been more comfortable in the uniform of the fighting men. Some of them chose to leave, and they resigned. They were told, "If you do that, we shall have to give consideration to those who stay with us." Now the war is over and some have returned. Wherever it is found possible, without breaking a promise to those to whom promises were made to restore full rights to returned men, sympathetic consideration is being given. There are some cases, some specialized jobs, where you could not take back a man who resigned and left, in spite of the representations made to him that his services were required, without breaking a commitment that was made at the time to the one who took on his work. The hon. member would not like, any more than I would like, to have the department break commitments that were made at that time. That is the only qualification there is. The department is doing its best, because it appreciates that that is what every right-minded person would wish to have done, but it cannot go to the extent of break-

ing commitments that were made when there was this great need of retaining essential men in the service of the penitentiaries.

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Alan Cockeram

Progressive Conservative

Mr. COCKERAM:

With reference to those who have been taken back, may I ask whether they are being reinstated in the pension fund having regard to the services they rendered in the army?

Mr. ST, LAURENT: Those who went on

leave return under the ordinary conditions not only of being kept in the pension fund but of having their position in the superannuation fund improved by the statutory increases they would have obtained had they remained here. As to others who left without leave, some of them withdrew their gratuities. I cannot say how each individual case is being dealt with. The only thing I have said that we could not do is to breach commitments which we made to those who replaced these men. But, provided that we do not have to breach commitments made to others, we will give the returning men just as generous treatment as the regulations will allow.

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Alan Cockeram

Progressive Conservative

Mr. COCKERAM:

If a man who resigned his position to serve in the forces is taken back on the strength of the penitentiary staff, I would ask the government to allow him to pay into the superannuation fund for the time he was away, so that we will not lose the benefit of those years of pensionable service.

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Thomas Ashmore Kidd

Progressive Conservative

Mr. KIDD:

I would reinforce what the hon. member has said in that regard. Different points of view were held in 1939 and 1940 with respect to these men, but the men had the good will of everyone when they left to join the forces. When they went, some of them took their five per cent, and now that they are back, when they are taken on the strength of the penitentiary staff, they should be allowed to pay back into the fund what they have withdrawn so that their pension position will not be impaired.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: The most I can say is that the only restriction I have imposed is that we must not break commitments made to others. Apart from that, these men will get as sympathetic consideration as it is possible to extend to them.

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Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

I have a case which I do not regard as a closed book, although I have not got very far with it, and I hope the minister will not regard it as closed either. I do not ask him to deal with it this afternoon, but it has to do with a warden who got leave to enlist in 1940. He enlisted in the armed services, and after dischaige he wrote to the act-

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ing warden, informing him that he was not coming back, although this letter has not been discovered among the files of the warden. He had served as a warden for about nine years, I think, during which period he had contributed five per cent of his salary toward the superannuation fund. Because of the fact that no word had been received that he was coming [DOT]back, an order in council was passed which deprived him of the amount he had contributed to the pension fund over that period *of years. Under the act I believe there is a provision that a man must contribute for ten years before he can have the amount he has *contributed returned to him in case he leaves the service, though I believe an amendment has been made to that provision. This man *served for some nine years. He got leave to [DOT]enlist, and because when he got out of the armed forces he did not go back, an order in council was passed depriving him of this amount. But he points out to me that if a man who is employed as a warden is dismissed after being employed for several years, he receives back the amount he has contributed to the fund. To me it seems hardly fair or right that a man dismissed from the service should have his contribution to the fund repaid while a man who volunteered to go overseas is deprived of the amount he contributed.

As I say, I do not regard this matter as closed. 1 hope the government will see its way clear to do something about it, and I propose to take it up further with the minister, though I do not ask him to deal with the matter this afternoon.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: I think I know the case to which the hon. member is referring. All I would care to say at this time is that this man was not a warden, and I believe that correction should be made. The warden is the person in charge of the penitentiary, and I do not think the impression should be allowed to go abroad that the person the hon. member has in mind is one of the seven wardens.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

No.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: He was another,

lower official.

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PC

Douglas King Hazen

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HAZEN:

Perhaps I should have said a guard.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Yes, in fact I think he was an assistant.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I have a few remarks to offer in connection with this ilem, Mr. Chairman, particularly in the light of some of the

statements made iij the chamber to-day and on June 21 in relation to the matter of penitentiary reform.

We have heard an' extended discussion of the recommendations of the Archambault royal commission. I do not know whether the Minister of Justice intended, when he spoke on this subject on June 21, to leave the impression some of us have drawn from his words. Certainly I hope he did not intend to give the impression which I think is given by his words in this respect. I believe many reading what he said will form the impression that the minister was throwing at least some cold water on hopes that the government really means to give effect to the recommendations of that commission. As a matter of fact there was much more reason for hope in the remarks of the minister when he spoke on this subject last fall, hope that the government really intended to implement the recommendations of the Archambault commission, than one would be warranted in drawing from his remarks of June 21. So before this item is passed, in the light of the study of conditions now being made by the commissioner, General Gibson, I hope the minister will give the house an assurance that there is no thought of delaying action on this report or giving to the recommendations therein contained anything less than meaningful action as soon as conditions permit.

It appears that others on the government side drew a similar impression from the remarks of the minister. That was evident in the address of the hon. member for New Westminster, who took occasion to question the capacity of Chief Justice Archambault to head such a commission. I do not feel called upon to justify the qualifications of Chief Justice Archambault for this work. I think his qualifications and those of his associates are abundantly demonstrated in the contents of the report itself. It is a remarkable document, one of the finest services of its kind to be performed by any royal commission in the history of this country. I for one am satisfied that the conscience of this country, now that the war is over and all excuses for delay are removed, will not permit dilly-dallying with the recommendations made by that commission. Chief Justice Archambault was supported by two eminent colleagues, Mr. R. W. Craig, K.C., former attorney general of the province of Manitoba, and Mr. J. C. McRuer, K.C., now chief justice of the high court division of the supreme court of Ontario. Both these gentlemen are eminent jurists, and it cannot be denied that they have had a broad experience with men who have found their way into these penal institutions. Nor

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can it be denied that they gave intensive and most intelligent study to the problem referred to them. They travelled widely; they studied other systems, and I think the report they wrote is the most comprehensive document of its kind to be produced in the history of this country; and w'e have had not a few documents of a similar nature.

Let it not be said that the need for reform of our penal institutions is any less urgent now than it was in 1938, when that report was written by the royal commission. I am not going into statistics; the committee has had ample statistics this afternoon. But I should like to refer to the press report of an address delivered by one who has had much to do at first hand with conditions in Kingston penitentiary. I refer to Canon W. E. Kidd, who for some time was protestant chaplain at this institution. In addressing a church assembly in Kingston on May 10 of this year he is reported as follows:

. . . members of the Christian church should see that men who are sent to penal institutions get treatment leading to reformation.

He said such treatment was not possible under the present system.

Think of that, in this year of grace 19461

Canon Kidd said he spoke as a chaplain who had seen thirteen years' service at the Kingston penitentiary. He said whatever is done with regard to reformation in penal institutions the Christian church should see that new regulations are satisfactory.

Many articles are being written about prison reform, he said, adding that Kingston penitentiary had a splendid staff, but it was hampered by government regulations. It is the general feeling that lack ot reformation at the prison is not due to the staff, he said.

Canon Kidd suggested that the deputy warden and senior officers of institution should get together occasionally to study improvements in the penitentiary system. "The regulations," said he "are formed in Ottawa, and the local authorities have nothing to say about them."

"Men who are serving time in these institutions are entitled to more than they are getting. There are many things that can be done. I think they should get more pay, so they can have sufficient money when they complete their sentence." he said. He charged that there* was a gulf between the penitentiary branch and.the remission branch at Ottawa, and that many recommendations are not acted upon at the right time.

Canon Kidd also referred to Ontario reformatories, and said that in his opinion a full-time chaplain should be employed and not a part-time minister as at the present time. He said the inmates at the Kingston penitentiary had manufactured a large amount of war supplies during the second great war, and had given 3,000 blood donations.

I believe I need say nothing more on that subject, but I feel called upon to say a word concerning the commissioner who h"3 bee/ appointed by the government. I speak in the light of some of the suggestions from certain

quarters of the house to the effect that General Gibson, because of his military experience, is disqualified from carrying on efficiently and sympathetically the duties which devolve upon him as commissioner.

I speak as one who knows General Gibson personally, as one who has known him for many years. May I say to the Minister of Justice that he made an excellent appointment. That is one reason I rise at this late stage in the debate. General Gibson is a man of a most sympathetic and understanding nature. No one need have any doubts or misgivings on that point. I make that statement directly and emphatically to those lion, members who expressed misgiving because General Gibson had had a long military career. His military career was one which brought him distinction and honour. He served in both wars, and was active in the non-permanent militia between the two wars.

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CCF

John Oliver Probe

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. PROBE:

Is he humanitarian? Does he understand juvenile and adult psychology?

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Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

He understands human nature. I do not know whether the hon. member for Regina City and I would understand the same thing from the use of the word "psychology". I say that General Gibson understands human nature, and that is the most important requisite in the position to which he has been appointed. He has had a long and distinguished career at the bar in Toronto, and is a man with a humanitarian and sympathetic outlook. Let there be no misgivings or doubts on that point. I repeat that the minister made a most happy choice in his selection of General Gibson, and I look forward to the time when the commissioner's report will be placed before parliament.

The hon. member for Kootenay East, in his excellent review of this problem on June 21, asked the minister if he would give the house an interim report on progress made to date by General Gibson in the study of the problems assigned to him. I hope the minister will give hon. members the benefit of that report, as it may be received from General Gibson. I believe that the house would receive such a report with interest and profit, and that its presentation might very well not be delayed until the report is complete-unless there is some very good reason why such interim report should not be presented at this time.

The minister has emphasized the fact that the problem of penal reform is not one which concerns the federal government alone, but has pointed out that it concerns as well all the provincial governments. I, for one, am happy to report that in Ontario leadership has already been given in this field with the

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appointment of a minister of reform institutions. This is a new portfolio established in Ontario, and is being filled by Mr. Dunbar, the former provincial secretary. Already extensive reform of the penal institutions of the province is under way. I hope that the energetic action by the Ontario government by way of reform of the penal institutions within that province will be matched by equally energetic action on the part of the federal Department of Justice.

In closing, I feel called upon to comment upon certain remarks made by some hon. members during the course of the debate. From what was said one might draw the inference that the problem of crime in Canada to-day is simply one of reforming penal institutions. That is just not so. The reform of penal institutions is but one phase of that problem. It is an important phase; let there be no doubt about that fact, but it is not the whole problem. We can have an extensive measure of reform of both of our provincial and federal penal institutions, and still fail to come to grips with t'he problem of crime at its source.

A discussion of causes of crimes at their source will probably not find all hon. members in full agreement. Attention has been called this afternoon to what has been described- and I think extravagantly-as a wave of crime in Canada. I for one want to state my opinion to this effect, that the essential cause of a great deal of that serious crime-indeed, the greatest cause of it-is the break-down in the home life of this country. One can talk endlessly about other factors which enter into this problem; but I repeat that the greatest cause of crime in Canada is the breakdown of family life.

Not long ago we had in Toronto a great tragedy arising from the slaying in cold blood of a merchant engaged in business in my riding. His store was entered by four youths of twenty, nineteen, eighteen and seventeen years of age respectively. Two of them entered with drawn guns, one shooting the man to death in cold blood. These youths were tried on a charge of murder, and the jury brought in a verdict of manslaughter.

What was the headline in the Toronto newspapers after that conviction? One of those headlines was based on statements given to the press by the parents of those unfortunate boys. "Unfortunate boys"-yes; but criminals, too. What did those headlines contain? Here is the headline which appears at page 3 of the Toronto Globe and Mail of May 17, "Gangster movies, depression, lack of housing blamed by parents of boys for Tobias slaying".

I would agree that quite probably each of those factors entered into the decisions of these bo3rs to embark upon crime-gangster movies, depression and lack of housing. But the staggering fact, as anyone who reads the article containing the statements of the parents will find, is that not one parent took the slightest responsibility for what had happened. They blame these things outside the home. True, they referred to unemployment as having created unrest in the home, and undoubtedly that is so. I do not wish to be misunderstood on that point. I am an advocate of social reform, and hope I always shall be. But, to my mind, the shocking thing was that not one of those parents took the slightest blame or responsibility upon himself or herself for what had happened. Not one said, "Well, probably we should have done more to bring that boy up in t'he way he should go. Probably if we had spent more time with him, been more careful in our training of him, had seen that religion entered into his training and that he had gone to Sunday school and, church it would have been different." But one finds not one word of that kind in the press conference held with the parents of these boys.

As against that I should like to read to the committee what I believe is sane and com-monsense language as it is found in the statement made to these boys by the hon. Mr. Justice Keiller Mackay, a very distinguished jurist on the Ontario supreme court bench, when he passed sentence on them. I quote from the remarks of Mr. Justice Mackay as they appear in the Globe and Mail of Saturday, May 18:

"After a fair trial on an indictment of murder," said His Lordship, "you have been found guilty of manslaughter. Because of the vigorous defence accorded you and chiefly, to my mind, because of your youth, you have been narrowly saved the awful spectre of the gallows.

"During the last score and a half years,

100,000 Canadians have laid down their lives, and 200,000 more have been broken and bruised in defending the honour and maintaining the defence of this country, whose laws you have defied and whose institutions you have sought to debauch.

"Nor, indeed, can any thinking person blame the newspaper press, the theatre or literature for causing your crime. Nor is it the fault of the times. Never in history have there been so many opportunities for education and for social and other advancement. And in the last few years, there have been agencies looking for young men to employ. Attempting to lay the blame on the press, the theatre or literature is sickly and sloppy sentihientality.

"What is to blame is the criminal instinct and a craze for money and corrupt impulses. These must and will be restrained. I can hear someone say those are harsh words, but let that someone reflect that if his or her or their father, husband, mother, wife or child, was by a group

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of armed robbers ushered into eternity in a twinkling, probably those words might not seem so harsh.

"You, one and all, engaged in a dreadful enterprise. I must and will do my duty as a judge and not permit sentiment to interfere with my judgment. You have been found guilty of a ruthless invasion and a ghastly crime."

I have touched on this subject to emphasize that important and urgent as is the need for reform of our penal system, it is not the whole answer to the problem of crime in this country. The problem of crime in this country cannot be resolved into mere questions of social influences outside the home. Those influences can be combatted if some attempt is made in this country to return to the sound standards of the Christian home.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I did not intend to rise this afternoon, but in view of the discussion I thought I should like to say a word on this matter in connection with which I have had considerable interest ever since coming to parliament. Some of my colleagues have placed the views of this party before the committee and there is no necessity for me to reiterate what they have said. However, I should like to comment on what the last speaker has said.

It is quite true that the home has not played its part as it should have in the bringing up of families, but let us bear in mind that the destruction of home life in this and many other countries is not due entirely to the individuals who form those homes. It is due to the industrial and economic conditions amid which those homes have to exist at the present time. To my mind, society has a responsibility equal to that of the home. When I go into some of our cities I find that there are no places where boys and girls of adolescent age or young men and women may mingle together and engage in cultural activities. During the war I met many young western boys and girls who came to this city and who complained bitterly about how different it was from the small western communities from which they had come. There they could go to the schoolhouse in the evening and have a dance under decent conditions, whereas there was no place in this city to go except to some night club where the dancing was accompanied by liquor and all the rest of it.

During the war we did nothing to provide the kind of entertainment under the right circumstances that these young people need, and this has had something to do with the loosening of morals we have witnessed during the past few years. I am not disagreeing with my hon. friend, because I think the responsibility on the home is very great. As one who

had something to do with young people for many years before coming to this House of Commons, may I say that I think the school also has some responsibility in this regard. Our educational system should provide more centres of community activity. We keep our schools closed after four o'clock and over the-week-end; they are not used as they should be or as they are in some places.

I agree largely with, what my hon. friend' has said, but there are one or two comments I wanted to make. To-day we are not dealing; with crime so much as with the penitentiaries. I was glad to hear what my hon,. friend said: about the new commissioner of penitentiaries, General Gibson. My hon. friend described him, as being a man possessing broad human sympathies. That is a first requisite for this position. I do not know General Gibson, and I do not know what his qualifications are other-than that he has had a distinguished career in the army, but I must confess that when the announcement was made I was disappointed because I had hoped that this appointment would be filled by someone trained in penology. An understanding of human nature and the possession of broad human sympathies, may counteract any disability that General Gibson may have in regard to training, and I hope that this will prove to be the case.

I do not want to say anything derogatory-about the staffs of our penal institutions, but there is another feature that I had in mind.. These guards are chosen largely because they possess certain physical attributes and have had certain physical training. Probably a good physique is necessary for this work, but there is something more important. A guard in a prison should, be trained in the handling of human beings just as an attendant in a mental hospital or a nurse in, an institution is trained. After all, the cure of criminality is sometimes. akin to the cure of a disease. Quite often a little human understanding and psychology will assist those who are engaged in this kind' of work to help a criminal overcome his. criminal tendencies.

I have had some experience in the handling-of people generally and1 particularly younger-people, and I know that you will quite often find young people who are not amenable to-discipline, wh,o are sometimes inclined to do-, things they ought not to do. I found that punishment was not the best way to handle delinquency. Quite often punishment raises-in the mind of the individual punished a resentment and sometimes that resentment is-carried into the wider field of the community. Instead of there being a personal animosity against the one who inflicts the punishment, quite often that animosity is against the whole-

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community. I never believed in corporal punishment and during my many years in educational institutions I did not use it. I have found that an understanding of psychology is the essential thing in the handling of any individual. I had hoped and I still hope that we shall be able to incorporate into our penitentiary system by and by men and women who will have been trained to handle the people in these institutions.

When I was in Great Britain a year or so ago I had the privilege of speaking to several people there who were interested in prison reform and had been to a large degree instrumental in bringing about reforms in the British penal system. They told me what they were doing in this matter. In recent days young university graduates who have made a study of psychology among other things, instead of volunteering as some of them did years ago to go down to Church House in Limehouse and give their lives to the underprivileged in the distressed slum areas, are devoting their lives to helping the people in the penal institutions. In accepting positions in these institutions they are doing the kind of job for society which in former days was done by ministers of the Gospel and by laymen, members of the priesthood, and others. The value to society of their contributions to the reclaiming of criminals' cannot be overestimated. I hope that more and more in our penal institutions we may find a desire to train the personnel that we need. I do not say that all the personnel needs to be trained, but among them there should be at least a sprinkling of those who have made a study of psychology and personal relationships and can give leadership in the reclaiming of those who have been convicted of criminal offences.

One other thing I was going to say, and this does not affect the Minister of Justice to the same extent as it does the Ontario department. I have been disturbed over what I have heard from juvenile court judges and others of the lack of accommodation for adolescent delinquents. I am told that in this province, during the war particularly, when many of the government buildings were being used by the military, first offenders were often mixed with others who had quite a record of offences. That is something we should guard against. We should see to it that first offenders at least are given an opportunity of rehabilitating themselves and that they are kept segregated from confirmed criminals. Penal institutions for offenders serving short sentences should be so organized that young delinquents are not subjected to influences which tend to confirm them in a life of crime.

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June 27, 1946