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Code of Justice

Cameron Moffat awaits a fate worse than death. -
Cameron Moffat awaits a fate worse than death.
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Kimberly proctor's killers will face a fate worse than death

Nineteen-year-old Cameron Moffat — one of two Vancouver Island youths who raped and murdered 18-year-old Kimberly Proctor — is being transferred to a federal prison to serve a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 10 years. His accomplice, Kruse Hendrik Wellwood, will stay in the Youth Detention Centre until he turns 18 next January, when he will join his partner in the federal system. In October, Wellwood and Moffat plead guilty to the first-degree murder of Proctor, whose badly burned body was found under a bridge on the Galloping Goose Trail on March 19, 2010.

Monday asked writer Timothy Collins, who has intimate knowledge of Canada’s prison system, to provide us with an insider’s look at what these killers would likely face.

A life sentence with a chance of parole before either killer has turned 30 doesn’t sound much like justice for ending an innocent young woman’s life. The victim’s father, Fred Proctor, has said these men deserve a slow, painful death. I can’t say I disagree. Still, I know enough about Canadian prisons to assure you that Cameron Moffat and Kruse Wellwood will have innumerable opportunities over their miserable lives to wish they had been put to death. What they’re facing is arguably worse. You see, the men inside the walls have their own code of justice.

Moffat has been sent to a maximum security pen (most probably Edmonton Max after a short psych evaluation at Abbotsford). Upon arrival, he will quickly discover that just about everyone is tougher than himself. Those who aren’t have friends who are. He’ll also learn that these tough, dangerous men do not like him.

He’ll learn the term “skinner.” That’s what other inmates call sexual predators. Skinners are the bottom of the prison food chain and are punished by other inmates in ways you cannot even imagine. That label will never fade. It will stick to Moffat like glue.

Moffat will also be called a “goof.” Believe me when I tell you that “goof” is worse than any expletive. It generally results in an automatic fight, but in Moffat’s case, he’ll have to take it. Fighting for him would likely result in his death.

After Moffat receives a  few beatings (and he will), the system may put him into protective custody with other skinners and “rats” (informants) but that life is so restrictive it can drive a man insane (or in Moffat’s case, more insane).  It can involve a 23-hour-a-day lockdown in a dirty cage about the size of an average service station bathroom.  He will eat, defecate, sleep and try to stay occupied in that space for a very, very long time.

If the system tries to put him into general population, (the cages are no better, but there is a little more activity), he has a good chance of serious injury or death at the hands of other inmates. You see, gangs run Canadian prisons and they don’t have any more use for skinners than other inmates.

Moffat may get some personal possessions, if his family chooses to provide him with any of the few items that he is allowed. But there’ll be no internet and no computers of any kind. He will be able to get a TV, but not larger than a 12-inch screen. His clothing will be prison garb with the long-term possibility of some personal clothing if he ever leaves maximum security.

Still, he shouldn’t get attached to anything; he likely won’t keep personal items long. Skinners are frequently robbed and extorted.

Moffat may already have been told that he’ll be “paying rent.” That involves his making arrangements for regular payments to gang confederates on the street in exchange for not being stabbed or beaten. If his family or friends don’t pay or are late for a payment . . . well, it won’t be pretty.

There won’t be any open visits for Moffat either. For his first few years, anyone who chooses to visit this goof will do so through a glass barrier. It won’t matter though. Even if he gets a few visits at first, the outside world has a way of forgetting the men behind bars. Moffat better get used to the company of men who don’t like him.

He won’t be phoning anyone either. Not for a long time. The gangs own the phones in prison and they don’t share with skinners.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Prison is a horrific place.

The worst reality for Moffat will come when the men inside tell him the truth. He’s never getting out; not ever. The judge set the stage for that by pronouncing that Moffat was likely to be a danger to society for the next 40 years. That little gem is on his file as well as his designation as a “high-profile offender.”

Oh sure, he can apply for parole in 10 years. I can buy a lottery ticket. My chances are better.

No; for the rest of his miserable existence, Moffat will hear the daily crash of his cage door as it locks him away from the world. He will think that he’s being abused by some of the guards through a constant deluge of dehumanizing behaviour that is par for the course in prison. He will never know a loving relationship, experience the wonders of the world, or have the opportunity to accomplish anything worthwhile. He has been warehoused in a brutal, violent and dangerous place where he will never know respect or feel safe.

Incidentally, have you noticed that I’ve repeatedly referred to Cameron as Moffat?  I thought it was appropriate since no guard or parole officer or anyone inside the system will ever call him Cameron. Cameron doesn’t exist. To them he’s “Offender Moffat.” That’s all he’ll ever be.

And, incidentally, in less than a year, when Moffat’s little buddy, Kruse Wellwood, is dropped into the gladiator school of real prison, he’ll find out that everything I’ve said about Moffat’s experiences will apply to him as well. In fact, he’s a little guy (the inmates will describe him as a buck-and-a-half goof) and his time may be even worse.

He won’t ever get out either. Neither of them will. They will get exactly what Fred Proctor asked for; a long, slow, painful and horrific life, until death. M

— Timothy Collins

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