Darryl Sheepway pedals to the finish with his team in the 2-Mile, 2-Dog race in 2012. Sheepway, who was convicted of second-degree murder in January, talked to the News about his experience behind bars in Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) thus far. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Darryl Sheepway says petition about WCC conditions about ‘right and wrong’

Secure living unit conditions have improved but still aren’t comparable to general population, he says

Convicted murderer Darryl Sheepway says that his recent petition to the Yukon Supreme Court about his living conditions in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) isn’t about “whining,” but “more about right and wrong than complaining.”

Sheepway, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in January for the 2015 shooting of Christopher Brisson, has been incarcerated at the WCC since August 2016. He’s been kept in the secure living unit (SLU), which places more restrictions on inmates that those in the general population.

“My case has solely been about punishment and storage … (there’s been) nothing therapeutic or rehabilitative,” Sheepway told the News in an interview May 2.

“I’m not saying I didn’t do anything wrong. I deserve to do my time … (but) being in jail and getting a sentence is not about punishment, it’s about rehabilitation for the future. But the fact is, that doesn’t happen.”

In his petition, Sheepway alleged that he had been kept in “separate and solitary confinement” for the majority of his time at the jail and had little meaningful contact with other inmates.

The conditions in the SLU have since changed, he said — inmates are now on “unlock” for the majority of the day and allowed to interact with each other, and have been given access to hot water as well as limited exercise equipment — but it’s still a far cry from the WCC’s general population.

“It’s a good change but it doesn’t necessarily mean a lot to me,” he said.

Sheepway was also critical of comments assistant deputy minister of justice Al Lucier made last month, in which Lucier, whose portfolio includes corrections, referred to the WCC as “my hotel” and portions of the justice system as “travel agents.”

“I think the entire Yukon government should be appalled he made a comment like that,” Sheepway said, adding that that kind of attitude about corrections at the top will only lead to it trickling down through the rest of the system.

“There’s nothing enjoyable about being here.”

While he said he understands why some people may not be sympathetic to his situation, Sheepway repeated that his petition about conditions at the WCC isn’t just about him — it’s about “right and wrong,” and how policies and protocols about corrections aren’t being adhered to.

“I think they’re all using words to make people who make the law feel good, but in reality, these principles aren’t followed,” he said.

“I think people are entitled to say what they want to say (but most) people are completely ignorant of the law and justice. I would have been one of those people before.… It’s not me complaining about my living conditions, it’s about creating change for the future.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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