This may be Harper's signature achievement - transforming Canada's prisons into ovens for baking hardcore criminals. Steve has a prison fetish and he's got it bad. Along with his sidekick "Kinky" Toews, they're on a real Law'n Order rampage and it's having the predictable results. This first paragraph from The Globe & Mail sums it up nicely:
The ombudsman for federal prisoners says the effects of harsher sentencing laws brought in by the Conservative government are being felt in overcrowded prisons, where interaction between staff and inmates is becoming increasingly rare and rehabilitation is undermined.
One thing about prisons is that they're all educational institutions. You go in there, you learn things, things you'll use later in life when you're back on the streets. When prisons are vile and overcrowded, it tends to be the inmate population that's doing the teaching and they're not passing along the skillset you and I might prefer.