We had a Medical Director named who decided to transfer from the Department of Health to the Department of Correctional Services, and I followed him. In doing so, I became Chief Psychologist of the Psychology Department at the Vanier Centre For Women, a department consisting only of myself. I decided (or perhaps was asked) to assess enery newly-admitted inmate and, because I was familiar with the MMPI (the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) from my time as an intern at the University of Kansas Medical Centre, that became part of my way of getting to know our new ladies. The tests themselves were administered by the correctional staff and scored by myself. I then offered to share with each of the inmates my interpretation of the information that she had given me.
Working at the Vanier Centre For Women was a very interesting experience, and I enjoyed it immensely. The institution was like a state-run Salvation Army. Its Superintendent was a social worker, as was its Deputy in charge of programs. Wards (cell blocks?) were cottages, and inmates were assigned to them by a sort of categorization system. Invictus was for young delinquents – I remember one girl telling me that her mother couldn’t make her do anything but, when I looked at her MMPI test results it was apparent that this girl had no freedom of movement at all. If her mother said, “Stay in tonight,” she was so oppositional that she had to go out. If her mother had suggested that she go out, she would have had to stay in.
There was another cottage for seasoned cons; and still another for assorted crazies. I remember one young lady who smuggled a gun into the courtroom with the intention of freeing her boyfriend who was up on some charge or other. What incredibly poor judgement! On the other hand, our clientele didn’t have a monopoly on poor judgement. One of the staff actually brought a revolver into the institution for one of the inmates to use in a play that they were putting on. Needless to say, the Superintendent was not pleased.