Life-long druggie says prison’s no answer

Vancouver granddad says jail turns addicts into hardened criminals

Prison, Terry McKinney tells me, screws up your head so badly that when you’re on the outside, it’s payback time: A confused and off-track kid goes in, a slick, seasoned felon comes out.

So if Prime Minister Stephen Harper thinks users and traffickers like him will rush to change their stripes — spooked by a $64-million anti-drug plan that imposes must-do jail time — he can forget it.

McKinney, a 59-year-old Vancouver granddad, has been a junkie for the past 37 years; a regular in B.C.’s prisons after numerous convictions for peddling heroin to bankroll what was a $1,000-a-day habit at the peak of his intake.

The inmate who has done time is 10 times smarter, 10 times more vicious and 10 times bigger, he says. They have nothing better to do than form alliances, pump iron and plan more sophisticated crimes. The first to befriend an offender when he’s sprung are his jail buddies.

More of this story by Joey Thompson, at The Province



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