A solitary confinement cell is shown in a undated handout photo from the Office of the Correctional Investigator. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO- Office of the Correctional Investigator)

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the federal government has announced it will appeal a B.C. court decision that finds indefinite solitary confinement is unconstitutional.

The ruling was handed down last month following a challenge by the association and the John Howard Society of Canada.

Association executive director Josh Paterson says he’s shocked by the appeal because the federal Liberals pledged during the election campaign to end so-called administrative segregation.

He says the appeal shows they intend to fight to save a system that breaks the law and makes society less safe.

READ: Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health, says advocate

In his Jan. 17 decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Leask found indefinite segregation undermines the safety and security of inmates, staff and the public.

The Crown argued the practice was reasonable and necessary, but the judge accepted the association’s position that solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and can lead to severe psychological trauma.

The ruling was suspended for 12 months to give the federal government time to draft new legislation, which Leask said must include strict time limits on segregation.

Following the decision, Paterson said the civil liberties association wrote to the federal ministers of Justice and Public Safety, seeking an end to further court action.

“Having won in court, we extended a hand to the government to work together to fix this problem to no avail. Despite us reaching out, to date, the federal government has given us no response other than filing this appeal,” Paterson said in a news release.

At the time of the January judgement, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government was reviewing it and “is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in the federal correctional system.”

Caily DiPuma, the acting litigation director for the civil liberties association said prisoners continue to spend weeks, months and even years in small cells without human contact, and she called the federal appeal “another example of justice deferred” for the vulnerable and marginalized.

“We will not turn our backs to them, nor will Canadians. We will fight this appeal,” she said in the association’s statement.

The Canadian Press


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Celebrity Christmas food and toy drive in Langley

Annual event helps families and abuse victims

VIDEO: Aldergrove Children’s Christmas Party

Princesses aplenty along with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ballon animals and face painting

VIDEO: Highway overpass protest in Langley against United Nations ‘compact’ on immigration

Demonstrators on 232 Street bridge say Canada will have less say over who is allowed in the country

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

VIDEO: Aldergrove Christmas Parade attracts big crowds

Families lined up all along parade route in downtown Aldergrove

VIDEO: Langley Community Chorus Christmas Concert at Adergrove’s St. Dunstan’s Church

Aldergrove’s St. Dunstan’s Church was filled to capacity with an appreciative audience, Dec. 8

Most Read