Sunday, 21 January 2018

Indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian Prisons Ruled Unconstitutional by B.C. Court

Read about it here.
The judge had this to say:
"I find as a fact that administrative segregation … is a form of solitary confinement that places all Canadian inmates subject to it at significant risk of serious psychological harm, including mental pain and suffering, and increased incidence of self-harm and suicide."
"On the evidence before this court, the most serious deficiency in dealing with administrative segregation is the inadequacy of the government's processes for dealing with the mentally ill.
"Beyond the risk of psychological harm inherent in the segregation experience itself, the fact that Aboriginal inmates are placed in segregation more often, with limited access to programming, impacts their ability to transfer to lower security institutions and to obtain conditional release, as they may not have been able to carry out their correctional plan and may not be perceived as significantly rehabilitated as a result."
But the Supreme Court in British Columbia isn't um... supreme. There's the Court of Appeals above it, and then there's the Supreme Court of Canada. So this challenge can go on for a while if the government (in Canada this is all federal jurisdiction) decides to challenge it.
The use of solitary confinement is not subject to judicial review and its use and length are quite arbitrary in Canada. After several high profile deaths of inmates, it was found that, as a nation, we have no accurate picture of how often this punishment is applied, nor is there any consistency to its application.
And - you had to see this coming - minorities, especially Aboriginals and mentally ill persons, are especially subject to this punishment.

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