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Issue 38.1

CCJA INTERVIEW with JOHN L. HILL—PINE BOX PAROLE: Terry Fitzsimmons and the Quest to End Solitary Confinement. & Other True Cases
JUSTICE Report Editor

In this CCJA Interview, John L. Hill (2022)—a former Canadian defence attorney who practiced and taught prison law until his retirement, defending some of Canada’s most violent killers—discusses his recent book, Pine Box Parole (Durvile & UpRoute, 2022), in which he suggests that Terry Fitzsimmons (aka, a ‘natural born killer’) would never have killed anyone had it not been for his extensive time in solitary, violence by guards and abuses by other inmates. Hill considers the Fitzsimmons case important because it brought the exploration of mental torture to the forefront in Canada. The author reports having strived throughout his career, along with dozens of colleagues, to take up the cause of prisoner rights for more humane conditions. He congratulates many whose work helped to prevent abuses in our correctional systems over the years, in particular that of the national network of prison law lawyers with the Canadian Prison Law Association. This Interview with John L. Hill offers a clear, first-hand account of the brutality and other forms of violence found in Canadian prisons and a critique of the new Structured Intervention Units, the widely criticized system that replaced solitary confinement in Canadian prisons (CSC) under Bill C-83 (2019). Among other facts in Pine Box Parole, many readers will likely not have realized how most defense lawyers are blithely unaware of the extent of the practices of cruelty, violence, and black market drug sales that seem to characterize the Canadian penitentiary system. Mr. Hill also reflects on the origins and  implications of the thin blue line and his coining, in Pine Box Parole, of a new meaning for the word “justice” as a “concept that involves the authoritative imposition of social norms”. The CCJA thanks Mr. John L. Hill for this candid interview.

Solitary Confinement in Canada and the Promise of Structured Intervention Units in Canadian Penitentiaries (Part 2)
Chair, Structured Intervention Unit Implementation Advisory Panel (SIU AIP)

The Implementation Advisory Panel (SIU IAP) monitors, assesses and reports on issues related to the implementation and operation of Structured Intervention Units. In Part 1 of this article (HR 37.4), SIU-IAP Chair (and former Correctional Investigator of Canada) Howard Sapers discussed the end of segregation in Canada’s federal penitentiaries with the passing of Bill C-83 (2019). Part 2 explores the first 18 months of SIU operation, which fell short of the legislative framework’s expectations. Drawing heavily on the 2021-22 Annual Report of the Structured Intervention Unit Implementation Advisory Panel (SIU IAP 2022), Sapers elaborates several shortcomings in the SIU operations, including excessive length of placements (especially for prisoners with mental health problems), great discrepancies in the use of SIUs across the regions, issues around prison transfers, Indigenous over- representation, and constraints on the decision-making process of the Independent External Decision-Makers (IEDM).

MCJA – Annual Crime Prevention Breakfast (2022)
By MIKE COOK – Manitoba Criminal Justice Association and Defence Counsel at SCVC Law

MCJA’s Crime Prevention Breakfast is held in Winnipeg each November to celebrate Manitoba’s Crime Prevention month. This year’s 200 guests included Judges, Crown Attorneys, Elected Officials, RCMP Officers, Winnipeg Police Service Officers, Corrections Officials, Treatment Centre Providers, Psychologists and Psychiatrists and other citizens. The 2022 speaker, Mr. Will Gault, shared a story illustrating that drug/alcohol addiction are often predated by trauma and that recovery is possible with the right help. As an adult working as a Security Guard among other jobs, Mr. Gault became lost in addiction. After numerous failed attempts at rehabilitation from alcohol and meth, he found the 210 Recovery Centre. Mr. Gault is now happily married with children and a successful business. The MCJA applauds his inner strength and the never-ending support he received from his family, the police who arrested him and the treatment centre that worked with him. Mr. Cook urges those who will be in Winnipeg next November to visit the MCJA website ( and purchase tickets for MCJA’s 2023 Crime Prevention Breakfast.

Discussing Dignity and Decarceration at CIAJ’s 46th Annual Conference
Nathan Afilalo – Lawyer, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ).

Thomas Mott Osborne, Canada Blackie, and Dynamite
The 1914 Mutual Welfare League Prison Reform at Auburn and Sing Sing


The press turned the sensational story of one of the most feared North American criminals of the early 20th century into Exhibit Number One of Thomas Mott Osborne’s prison reform. It is easy to credit whatever good Osborne did at two of North America’s largest prisons, the way he was able to woo criminals, with his charm. However, it was Osborne’s system – the Mutual Welfare League – more than his considerable charisma, that enabled the League to change lives and improve his prisons to the extent it did.

Call for Real-Life Stories from the Canadian Criminal Justice System
Section Editor Doug Heckbert

Have a real-life success story related to Canadian criminal justice to share? Contact Section Editor Doug Heckbert at or Nancy Wright (Editor-In-Chief) at for as a police officer. The two eventually come to understand each other’s perspectives and learn to work together to achieve great things…” (Chrismas, Preface, 2021).

More Chances to Change

This real-life success story about Roberto Diaz borrows insight from One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet by Richard Wagamese (2019), for whom the denial of Indigenous cultural identity came through the trajectory of foster homes and adoption later to manifest as alcoholism, homelessness and prison. Diaz and Heckbert reflect on how we are all one drum that must beat together. Diaz is calling for research into the potential benefits of integrating peer-support into the Canadian criminal justice system.


Police Body Cameras – The Ethics of Police Misconduct
Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice, Mount Royal University (Calgary, AB)

Frontline police officers often face challenging and dangerous situations. How they respond is guided not only by legislation and policy but also officer training, experience, and discretion. Sometimes, without considering the consequences, officers engage in larger ethical considerations. This article explores the ethical angst facing an officer whose partner violates policy in the use of their body camera. Different theories of ethical decision-making theories support transparency and accountability, but where in all this does the blue code of silence fit? Ethics education in police training may be a key step in settling police disclosure, transparency, and accountability for public safety.

Waco, Jonestown, Instagram: Deprogramming the World’s Largest Cults
By MEGAN DAVIDSON – BA in Criminal Justice, Mount Royal University—Class of 2023

Cult indoctrination is a form of power that can bend people’s wills under the right conditions. Canada has seen its share of doomsday religious cults, including the Branch Davidians or Canada’s Order of the Solar Temple. Tales of the more extreme cults are now streaming on popular media. People should stop to think, however, that the lures of social media resemble cult tactics and have far reach.

Criminology & Sociolegal Studies Students’ Association (CRIMSA) at University of Toronto
Honours Student, BA (Double Major: Criminology and Sociology), University of Toronto
and MICAELA LAWRIE (Honours Student, BA (Major in Criminology and double minors in Sociology and Equity Studies), University of Toronto
and ZAYNAB JIVRAJ (Honours Student, BA (Major in Criminology and double minors in History and Practical French), University of Toronto

University of Toronto’s CRIMSA President Sarah Borbolla Garcés and executive team members Micaela Lawrie and Zaynab Kivraj explore the mandate, functioning, and events of the Criminology & Sociolegal Studies Students’ Association (CRIMSA) at University of Toronto.

In Memory of Rick Ruddell (Oct. 15, 1961 – Jan. 02, 2023): A renaissance pioneer

By NICK JONES (Justice Studies, University of Regina, SK)
and JOHN WINTERDYK (retired – Mount Royal University, AB)

Rick Ruddell (1961-2023), Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Chair in Police Studies at University of Regina was long respected and will be missed by family, friends, students, and colleagues for his understanding and assistance, as well as his many publications and other vital contributions to Canadian criminal justice especially in the areas of corrections and policing.

Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice (CJCCJ) / Revue canadienne de criminologie et de justice pénale.
Call for Applications – Book Reviews Editor (English books). Contact

Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the Association’s views, but are included to encourage reflection and action on the criminal justice system throughout Canada.

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