Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Unwashed Masses

If I don't shower and shave today, my co-workers will give me dirty looks, but the only offence committed will be against common etiquette.

If a prisoner doesn't shower and shave today, it's a breach of international law:

Something smelled foul about the case of Regina v. Savane Jones, but it wasn't the quality of the evidence.

It was Mr. Jones.

In an unusual ruling, Mr. Justice Casey Hill of the Ontario Superior Court took the administrators of Maplehurst Correctional Complex to task for depriving Mr. Jones of a shower and a hot meal following his return every day from his sexual-assault trial.

To expect a defendant to be at his best when he is hungry and smells rank works against everything from simple logic to United Nations Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, Judge Hill said.

"There is no reasonable excuse for the failure of the correctional authorities to permit Savane Jones to shave and shower daily when it was known he was appearing in court," the judge said. "That failure delayed the trial, inconvenienced jurors and others, and put a fair trial at risk."

Let's see what said United Nations rules have to say:

13. Adequate bathing and shower installations shall be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower, at a temperature suitable to the climate, as frequently as necessary for general hygiene according to season and geographical region, but at least once a week in a temperate climate.


16. In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be enabled to shave regularly.

So as long as he's getting a shower once a week and a shave at least twice, the United Nations should be happy, so why isn't Justice Hill?

Provided that the prisoners are not a threat to the health and safety of themselves and others, they can skip a shower and a shave once in a while.

Source: Globe and Mail

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