Stacey Bishop

Articles by Stacey Bishop

solitary_confinement_greyNew lawsuit challenges use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

In January 2015 the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the John Howard Society filed a lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada challenging the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. The lawsuit charges that solitary confinement is cruel and unusual punishment, leads to prisoner suffering and deaths, and is discriminatory against prisoners with mental health illnesses and Aboriginal prisoners. Solitary confinement, also known as segregation, is the practice of confining a prisoner to a cell and depriving them of meaningful human contact for up to 23 hours a day. In Canadian federal prisons, solitary confinement is used in two ways. ‘Disciplinary Segregation’ is used when a prisoner is found guilty after a hearing then ‘sentenced’ to a maximum of 45 days of segregation as punishment. With ‘Administrative Segregation,’ however, there is no hearing. The prisoner is placed into solitary confinement based solely on the opinion of a prison administrator that the prisoner’s presence in the general population is a risk to security or safety of others or to the prisoner themself. Significantly, here is no limit on the amount of time a prisoner may be held in administrative segregation. (…)

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