For Immediate Release
(OTTAWA, December 12, 2017) – Today, Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator of Canada, is pleased to announce that Mr. Richard (Rick) Sauvé has been presented with the 2017 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award .
“For more than three decades, Mr. Sauvé has dedicated his life to improving the situation and recognition of prisoners as rights-bearing persons. His name is forever associated with a prisoner’s right to vote. He has demonstrated that a life-sentenced person paroled to the community can be a prosocial and positive force for change. Mr. Sauvé is a very deserving recipient of this award,” said Dr. Zinger.
Behind bars, Rick achieved high school standing and went on to complete university degrees in psychology and criminology. He developed and ran a young offenders program – Straight Talk – while in custody. First as a prisoner and then as a parolee, Mr. Sauvé twice successfully challenged a prisoner’s right to vote before the Supreme Court of Canada. A seminal case, R. v. Sauvé affirms that prisoners remain citizens, entitled like everyone else in a free and democratic society to cast a ballot.
After gaining parole in 1995, Rick continued his prisoner advocacy work through LifeLine, an award-winning program funded by the Correctional Service of Canada that provided support services for prisoners facing life sentences. In that role, Rick counseled countless other life-sentenced persons, delivering programs, providing community escorts, and assisting at parole hearings. His lived experience gave him immense credibility among his peers, helping them understand that they too could lead a fulfilling and responsible life upon release from prison. While LifeLine was terminated in August 2012, the Office has recommended its reinstatement in its latest Annual Report.
After LifeLine , Rick continued to serve as an in-reach worker with St. Leonard’s Society of Canada. More recently, he developed and serves as a facilitator for Break Away , a gang disaffiliation program. A gifted public speaker, Mr. Sauvé has appeared before Parliamentary Committees and has been called to testify in a number of criminal sentencing hearings involving youth.
The Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award was established in honour of Mr. Ed McIsaac, who served as Executive Director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 18 years. Each recipient of the award receives a reproduction of a sculpture by Ms. Audrey Greyeyes, a Cree artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, entitled Medicine Man. The sculpture symbolizes wisdom, clarity of thought, and leadership – traits reflecting the spirit and letter of Mr. Sauvé’s life and character.
The ceremony will take place this afternoon in Ottawa, Ontario. Presented annually since 2009, Mr. Sauvé is the ninth recipient of this award.
Details on nomination procedures for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award are available on the Office’s website at www.oci-bec.gc.ca .
For more information contact:
Office of the Correctional Investigator
Tel: (613) 990-2690