Here is a sample of some of the images from


Now availablefrom Friesen Press in hard cover, paperback and ebook,


A book of art and narratives by artist and retired Correctional Officer Pat Bliss

About the Book:

Life inside a Federal Penitentiary is a mystery to most people. Closely governed by rule and law, Federal Penitentiaries are nevertheless complex communities of people who live and work behind the razor ribbon that encircles them. Correctional Officers are among the few people who are part of the daily experiences behind the walls of prisons across the country.

This collection of images of twenty-nine pieces of artwork and their narratives is one retired Correctional Officer’s depiction of that community, and of his experiences working at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. The artwork, created with various mediums, captures moments and events, experiences and feelings—both traumatic and humorous—that have impacted the artist. This body of work provides a glimpse into what life behind the razor ribbon is like for those who live and work there, and has been a healing journey for the artist who created it.

Behind the Razor Ribbon—A Correctional Officer’s Perspective illuminates and provides understanding of the role of the Correctional Officer in Canada’s prison system in a unique and personal context.

This art project (I am not a novelist) has been a seven-year journey of acknowledgement, acceptance and enlightenment.  The creative process has helped me face some of the worst experiences of my life and rediscover some of the best times of my life.  While some may have anticipated a dramatic tell-all, political outrage, blood and guts documentary, sensationalism was never my goal.  It’s too easy to turn on the TV or access the internet and get a belly full of that.  I will carry the memories of many horrible images for the rest of my life.  However, this project gave me permission to acknowledge them and lay them to rest.  It also, to my surprise, allowed me to relive positive moments that I can cherish.  I can remind myself that I am proud to have been a Correctional Officer.  I am proud to have worked at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.  I admire the people I worked with throughout my career, and those who are still making forays behind the razor ribbon every day.  Anyone who has worked or is working in a prison setting understands how the environment wears you down, a bit every day.  It wasn’t until I retired that I fully realized how deeply my career had affected me.  Painting and building 3-dimentional pieces has lifted the load off my shoulders.  It is my sincerest hope that this art project will do the same for others.  It’s all about finding peace.  Remember the comradery and the humor.