Two women are going public with claims about mistreatment of prisoners they have relationships with who are currently behind bars at the Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ont. The complaints include racial discrimination and unsanitary living conditions.
Chelsey Murphy’s friend, Shane Roach, was transferred to Millhaven 10 months ago, after being involved in a home invasion back in 2013.
Roach faced numerous charges including robbery and numerous gun charges.
While in Millhaven, Murphy claims Roach was subjected to mistreatment, including verbal abuse, discrimination and says they have been living in extremely hot conditions over the past few months. She also claims inmates are not allowed to shower for days on end.
“He’s at a point where he’s just so emotionally and mentally put down that he feels like he has no hope,” says Murphy.
Murphy also claims that other inmates that are held in the same range as her friend are being locked in their cells for the majority of the day, with less than half the usual allowance of free time outside their cells.
She says inmates typically have four hours outside of their cells per day at Millhaven, whereas now she says the inmates staying in her friend’s range are only being allotted 20-90 minutes per day outside their cells.
Murphy says inmates then have to decide whether they want to eat, make a phone call or shower during that time, which she claims can be as short as 20 minutes.
“He’s been on other ranges there and he said he’s never encountered what he has with this range,” said Murphy.
A partner of another Millhaven inmate who has chosen to remain anonymous also says her husband has received inhumane treatment at the institution.
“When he keeps ending up back at this specific institution at Millhaven, they keep giving him lots and lots of problems,” she said.
She claims problems in the prison range from unsanitary conditions to verbal abuse by staff.
When referring to what happens once inmates are processed into the institution she said, “They have to go and ask for cleaning products to clean blood and feces off the walls and floors, it’s not clean when they get there.”
Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is aware of these claims and told Global News that Millhaven reviews issues brought forward by family members of inmates and ensures they are addressed.
However, Murphy says she has attempted to contact the warden of Millhaven on numerous occasions but has not received a response.
“Recently, inmates refused to lock up on a specific range, and through discussion with inmates, staff modified the schedule of the range to allow small groups on a rotating basis for the safety and security of the institution,” said Kyle Lawlor, a CSC spokesperson.
Lawlor did not confirm their claims. However, CSC addressed the claims that there was no air conditioning or fans in the range during the summer months.
“CSC does not use fans or other cooling devices such as air conditioners on ranges for safety reasons; however, inmates may purchase small fans for their cells, ” Lawlor said in an emailed statement.
While Murphy says she understands there are restrictions for inmates, she believes her friend’s rights are being violated in this specific institution.
She hopes raising awareness of what she and others consider mistreatment in correctional facilities will bring change.
“They’re supposed to be giving them tools and resources so that when they get out into the community they don’t re-offend and end up back in there but the closer they get to freedom the harder they make it on them,” said Chelsea.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Chelsea Murphy as Shane Roach’s spouse.