Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Alpha Ward, Headingley Jail

They were going to put me in a place where I would be safe, and then some nice people were going to come and talk to me and figure out how to help me. That's what they told me when they took me to Alpha Ward, Headingley's maximum security lock-up.

The first thing they did was taken away my gen-pop (general population) grays, and outfit me in fluorescent orange. Then they shackled me hand and foot and led me to the ward. My cell was actually a palace compared to Cellblock 8. I had a small table and almost ten feet to pace back and forth for 23 1/2  hours a day.

Meals were slid to me through a slot in the door. We didn't get anything that required plastic knives or forks, only a flat cardboard spoon like they used to give you with dixie cups, so the diet was somewhat limited, but otherwise passable. Of course there was no juice, which back in the cellblock you at least had theoretical access to, and which we actually got plenty of in remand. You had to wash your meal down with milk or water. In fact, everything seemed just a little more bland in solitary.

In Remand, whatever they gave you for breakfast, there was always toast and jam on the side; and enough of it so that you could put aside a slice or two for a snack in the evening. Here in isolation, there was also toast, or if not toast, then plenty of plain bread...but only one tiny jam container at breakfast time. So you could save your bread for later but there was nothing to sweeten it with. That was hard to take. All the more so because the evening were that much longer: supper in solitary was served at 3:30 pm!

I needed to wait two days before my phone access was approved, so in the meantime I couldn't phone home to tell anyone why I had stopped calling regularly. I finally got them to give me a lawyer call, for which they escorted me into the guard's office. After making my call, I asked the female guard to bring me some reading material "if you could". She didn't like that. "Don't you know how to say "please"? We base things on respect around here". I asked here if she didn't think "if you could" was the equivalent of "please", but she didn't think it was. 

I wanted something to read to pass the time, so eventually I asked here if she would "please" get me a book to read, and she did. I know I have a lot of "fans" reading this who are gloating right now at how I finally learned some "respect". Yes, that is the way they teach you things in prison. Obviously the "respect" all flows in the upward direction. The people behind bards obviously don't deserve to be respected, they only have to learn to give respect to their superiors.

While I was still in Remand, I had the chance to speak to the Duty Counsel (Legal Aid lawyer) about how I was going to get out of jail. I told you how I disputed the bail conditions and the judge ordered me held until trial. I actually had some inkling that it might be hard to turn this around, but I deliberately refrained from asking the duty counsel about this prior to making my argument...because I didn't want to chicken out. Now that the deed was done, I was finding out that it wasn't so easy to just go back and tell the judge you'd changed your mind. There was every prospect I could be in jail for months awaiting trial.

The duty counsel, Jen Neufeld, told me that my best chance was something called a "bail review". It wasn't a piece of cake. I would have to show either that conditions had changed since my original hearing, or that the judge has misapprehended the charges against me. I thought I actually had a shot at the latter. The Crown had laid charges of "forcible entry", and when the judge asked him what that referred to, he wasn't really sure. He seemed to think it was related to the alleged "home invasion" when I tried to serve papers on Professor Bush back in January. But when I got the charges, they were all related to the events of February 7th. So there did indeed appear to be some confusion as to what I was charged with.

But I couldn't even argue for my bail review until I got ahold of the transcripts of my original hearing,  and that was going to take at least a week. It would be quite awhile before I got out of jail.

That's when I got my phone call from Solitary and talked to Jen again. She had some very good news for me: it seems she had been thinking it over and figured out that maybe she could make a deal with the Crown for my early release. She had already spoken to him and he was going to get back to her. There was a chance after all that I might get out before the weekend.

In the meantime, I was still doing time.

My god I love George Jones! Here's another one:


  1. Jail is not the place people would wish to be in. Just the thought of being away from your family, not being able to do the things you want to do, and even get to choose the food you want to eat, all added to the weight why people wouldn't want to be in it. But I like how you handled your situation coolly, and called for the right people to help you out. I understand that having difficulty in applying for a bail must be frustrating, but I am glad to know that you're finally out and free at last.
    Buford Embry

  2. Thanks, Buford. Did you like the George Jones?

  3. I'm a bit surprised that they escorted you out and placed you in a lock up setting like that. Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly and expectations come with a price. Have you left out any details to why they have moved you? It's a system that no inmate can fight against, I mean you can give it a try and take a swing at it, but in all, they all stick together in his family of Law. And the one who files a claim or complaint, they never win. Winnipeg Police, Courts, Department of Justice. I wish you well in your upcoming court appearances.