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Defending the damned

By Carl Meyer      

Canada’s prison watchdog has six months left in the job. He still has plenty on his prison reform plate, but when asked about the future, he emphasizes optimism.

Sapers is like an exotic bird rarely seen in Ottawa politics: a blunt-talking, feather-ruffling watchdog who nevertheless holds on to his job through multiple federal elections. He is only the third such investigator that’s ever been appointed—after an initial five-year appointment, he’s been reappointed four more times: in 2009, 2012, 2015 and this year. The Hill Times photograph by Sam Garcia
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For Howard Sapers, one of the most striking moments of the last decade came soon after he released a damning report on racism and discrimination in Canada’s prisons. By any reasonable standard, the 2013 report by Sapers, the country’s correctional Investigator, should have given pause to every Canadian. It found that black and indigenous people were being thrown in jail at alarmingly accelerated rates, far out of proportion with their numbers in Canadian society. Moreover, once inside, their

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