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There is a further and related reason for closure of these units. Their establishment as repositories for dangerous prisoners is the leading edge of a strategy of segregation characterized by an escalation in the number of prisoners being defined as 'dangerous' and the proliferation of institutions for their control. This has already happened in some jurisdictions in the United States. Sheldon Messinger, in his study of 'the strategies of control' developed in the California prison system, describes how one 'adjustment center' eventually spawned its own segregation unit to deal with the most recalcitrant prisoners.63 Cohen and Taylor, commenting on the California experience, predicted in 1972 that 'the "complicated Chinese box effect" which resulted "with inmates in the innermost box ideally required to traverse each enclosing one on the way to relative freedom" is, we believe, precisely the way the English penal system is evolving.'64

In 1974 the English prison authorities, having established in the 1960s 'maximum-security wings' in three prisons for dangerous prisoners, opened the 'control unit' at Wakefield Prison for the most disruptive prisoners. As I have described earlier, the control unit was short-lived; after only a year in operation and in the midst of public criticism it was closed. However, Cohen and Taylor's prediction of the evolution of the penal system is still an accurate reflection of the situation in Canada.

In 1977 Canada established its two SHUs and defined the dangerous prisoners who would be imprisoned in them. In 1980 that definition was expanded; as a result there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of such prisoners. In August 1980, when I first visited the SHUS, their combined population was fifty-one. By the time of my third visit in May 1982, in the wake of the expanded definition of 'dangerousness' introduced by CD 274 in December 1980, the number had jumped to 125. In 1981 alone ninety-nine prisoners were approved for transfer to SHU by the National Review Committee.65 The solicitor-general has recently announced plans for the building of three new SHUs, two of which are said to be replacements for the Millhaven and the CDC units. However, the pressure that is likely to be brought to bear on the system by the growing number of prisoners serving twenty-five years, together with the expanding definition of dangerousness, suggests to me that if these new units are built they will supplement rather than replace the old ones.66 The way will then be paved for Foucault's 'carceral continuum' to include a hierarchy of SHUs to correspond with a perceived hierarchy of dangerousness, each stage in the hierarchy being characterized by regimes which regressively will, in the words of Professor Norval Morris, 'read like the design of the inner circles of hell.'67 Canadian prisoners have already experienced such regimes. Jack McCann brought his action in order to put an end to them. As I have tried to demonstrate, they have not ended. Allowing the SHUs to remain on the carceral archipelago will ensure the continuation not only of the dehumanizing regimes that presently exist in Millhaven and the CDC but also of future regimes which, in tightening the web of control over the lives of the men subjected to them, will give new and terrifying meaning to 'cruel and unusual punishment.'

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