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640 days, four walls and one tiny window: Richard Wolfe’s dispatches from solitary - The Globe and Mail

5.6.16

640 days, four walls and one tiny window: Richard Wolfe’s dispatches from solitary - The Globe and Mail: Richard had no idea whether he would be isolated for a few days, a few weeks or a few months. As time wore on, inmates moved in and out of the unit. Some returned to general population here at the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre, some went to a penitentiary, some went home. Some also crumbled under the strain: They heard voices, screamed for no purpose, cut themselves to escape. They launched hunger strikes, plotted suicides, and railed against the absence of programs. When they returned to the world, Richard stayed behind.

Months dragged as he waited for trial, and then later a presentencing report that would allow the judge to consider options less restrictive than incarceration in cases involving indigenous offenders. In the meantime, Richard was kept in the most restrictive regime possible.

His case posed a difficult problem: As a long-time criminal who had been violent during previous stints in jail, had once founded a notorious gang, and was now in jail for sexual assault, he was a target for other prisoners. If he were placed on a normal range, he might be killed. The system found no better answer than to lock him up alone, indefinitely.


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