Tales from Canadian prison

Charles Scott: four months in horrific prison.Charles Scott: four months in horrific prison.Charles Scott, who lost his Saskatchewan farm, livestock, and second home after a police raid on his medical marijuana grow operation two years ago, was finally released on May 11, from the “Alcatraz filthy” prison where he was jailed for four months (See CC#31, Busted up dates). Now that he is out, he feels more free to talk about the conditions behind bars, and what Canadian courts apparently believe is fitting punishment for those who are big-hearted enough to help the sick and dying.
Scott was denied access to his antidepressant medications before he even got to trial. By the time he reached court, he was ready to explode. He had been providing medicine for the sick at great personal risk. Who had he victimized?

“I asked for a victim impact statement, said Scott, “And I started quoting Timothy Leary, from The Politics of Ecstasy: ‘Indeed we have the astonishing spectacle of a menopausal middle-class minority tolerant to alcohol and addicted to external power dictating the social and religious rituals of a sizable and growing majority.’ That’s when the judge asked me if I meant to insult the court. I said, ‘if the truth insulted the court then that was the case.'”

The court convicted Scott and threw him in the oldest slammer in Canada, twice condemned by building inspectors, where he was locked up with murderers and rapists, denied phone access to his family, and deprived further of his anti-depressants.

“They dragged me to the basement and strip searched me. I didn’t understand that I was being taken to the hole. I didn’t know what I was being disciplined for. All these guard surrounded me and one said, ‘take your goddam clothes off? You heard me! Rip your fucking clothes off or we’ll rip them off you!’

“These people are astonishing. They completely humiliate you. So I stripped my clothes all off, and they give me this large pink t-shirt. Pink? hot-pink. I thought it was a joke at first. Then they gave me a pair of pink panties. And then they give me a pair of pink socks. Then I look down this range and these guys are whistling and hollering. Then they searched me again. They were worried I might have something up my ass. Then they did at three o-clock again. They did it three times.”

According to Scott, the prison was as bad as the people.

“There is mold growing off the walls, the prison is falling apart. They make you take a food-handling course and then they break every rule,” Scott admonished, nearly gagging. “The ‘vegetarian’ macaroni has ham in it. The sausages literally have hair on them.”

During his stay, the papers released a story alleging a connection between Scott and the Hell’s Angels. Scott says he knew one as a casual friend, and attended his funeral, where he was photographed by investigators. What would otherwise be just an unproven allegation became life threatening when Scott found himself surrounded by rival members from the Rock Machine and Indian Posse gangs.

“The Indian Posse wanted to extort dope from me,” says Scott. “They threatened to kill my wife and kids? and then it got to violence and I had to fight.” When he asked to be protected, they threw him in the hole for another 42 days.

Scott’s case demonstrates the perverse state of a system that would torture citizens for doing what is widely accepted to be good and right. When courts and states act this way, they render their authority meaningless, alienate the respect of the masses, and disobedience becomes the new force of moral order.Charles Scott: four months in horrific prison.

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  98. david swanson on

    i sympathize with charles my name is david i spent those 4 months with him on his range while serving 18months for a completely unrelated charge. the general public has no clue what its like inside a real jail they just see tv.good work charles keep it up alot of ppl need a guy like you to stand up for ppl like us with illnesses that we cant recieve or afford medication for .thanks.