Milner Ridge Inmates Watching Porn? Kelvin Goertzen, Manitoba MLA, Says He Witnessed It

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WINNIPEG - Inmates in a Manitoba jail watched hard-core pornography, and when a guard shut off the TV, they simply turned it back on, a Manitoba politician said Wednesday.

"It was explicit sex, full-frontal nudity," said Kelvin Goertzen, the justice critic for the Progressive Conservatives.

Goertzen said he was surprised during a tour of the Milner Ridge Correctional Centre on Jan. 9, when he came across a group of about 10 inmates watching porn on a TV in a common area of the jail's high-risk section.

"I pointed this out to the superintendent at the time. He tried to take pretty quick action in terms of shutting down the TV," Goertzen said during a debate over the Justice Department's budget details.

"The prisoners sort of looked back, were surprised that the TV was turned off ... and then turned it back on because they had the remote control."

The TV was shut off again and the incident ended, Goertzen added.

Goertzen's comments came as a surprise to Justice Minister Andrew Swan, who promised to stop any porn in jails. He also pointed out that Goertzen was only raising the issue four months after the fact.

"The member ... could have asked me in the four months before today, but that's his choice," Swan said.

"I can look into this, but I can advise the member that that would not be acceptable conduct in a correctional centre."

Goertzen said he raised the issue immediately with the jail's superintendent, who told him the problem would be addressed.

Jail inmates are normally allowed basic cable or satellite programming, funded by profits from the jail's canteen, Swan said.

Goertzen raised the issue on the same day federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced that he had stopped pornographic TV programs at a federal prison in Springhill, N.S.

In that case, it appears the prison's cable package had been upgraded and one of four new channels showed pornography overnight, according to an email from Toews' office.

Goertzen said he had no idea how the Manitoba inmates were able to access a channel with pornography.

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