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

Rockets drop close match to Everett Silvertips

The Rockets lose 3-1 to one of the WHL’s best

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

Okanagan College basketball wraps up regular season

Coyotes’ squads will finish the season with two games against Capilano

Death Café returns to Okanagan

Vernon, Kelowna and Summerland events toast touchy subject

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Expect delays on Highway 1 west of Golden due to vehicle fire

Expect delays while driving Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke. Drive BC… Continue reading

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Semi loses control on Highway 97A in Shuswap

Slippery roads contribute to crash of transport truck carrying tires

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Syrian refugee responds to racism in Canada

Guest columnist Mustafa Zaqrit

Lower Mainland boy shot with pellet gun

Surrey RCMP believe Cloverdale pellet gun incidents are ‘linked’

Most Read