A heavy heart is mine as I write what will probably be the last blog about Tom until he is released. There are several reasons for this, some (but not all) of which I will detail.
I had an appointment to meet with Tom on Monday, April 12 at 9:30 am. On the Thursday or Friday before, he was transferred to the penitentiary in Kingston. It would take me 4 – 6 weeks to be cleared for a ‘professional visit’ at that institution, or 1 – 1 ½ weeks to have ‘visitor’ status. I started the process immediately. That was Monday.
On Tuesday, I was informed (through my own sources, not CSC) that he was moved to ‘another location’ (unknown). On Wednesday I got a lead on another jail where he might be. I am waiting for a contact there to confirm this.
The Parole Office will not meet with me, although I requested this several times. I asked to meet with her and her Director, but was denied. They have discovered that I have been blogging about this and are ‘consulting legal’ to see what implications there are for our meeting. Stonewalled. I have written permission from Tom, signed by him in jail before he was taken to Kingston, to release the information of his file to me. It was witnessed by a prison chaplain at the jail who watched Tom sign (without duress or cohersion). They are investigating whether it is enough for them. So far, and into the foreseeable future, the answer seems to be a resounding no.
They suggested I speak to their Media Response person, and I did so finally after several days and voice messages. We spoke and I was informed of the process, the rules and regulations involved in a very general sense. When I mentioned that Tom’s conditional parole was completed on May 4th, there was some surprise and a quick investigation into his case. Affirmed. Oh, in that case, he will walk on May 4th.
I am not a quitter, and if this is an example of injustice and wrongful accusation/detaining, then it should not be. I have been advised by a lawyer (who is my friend) and an official from Corrections Services Canada that it might not be a good idea to continue to pursue this matter.
I asked my lawyer friend about possible ramifications if I continued to blog about Tom’s cause. He replied that nothing would happen as I am only presenting Tom’s side of the story (with Tom’s permission). He did mention however, that if I pursue it, it might be difficult for Tom.
The CSC official told me that it often does not go well with the individual involved (Tom in this case) after they have their story made available to the general public (!), and that I might consider ceasing to blog about this.
For Tom’s sake, I am stopping- but only because of my lawyer friend’s advice. I will bring you an update when he is released May 4th – sooner if something significant occurs.
A final note to you at Corrections Services Canada whom I understand are following this blog: I understand protocol, process and procedure, but please remember that you are dealing with a real person, with real feelings, who yesterday (April 14th) celebrated SEVEN (7) years of total sobriety. Here at the OIM office, we were planning a big party to celebrate – cake and all – but Tom was alone in his cell. Couldn’t even reach him by phone. Don’t even know where he is right now.
But one day when he is released, we will celebrate together. I would like to invite you to the party!