Canada B.C. civil rights group sues federal government over solitary confinement
B.C. civil rights group sues federal government over solitary confinement
VANCOUVER — A civil liberties group has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over solitary confinement, two years after the top courts in British Columbia and Ontarioruled there has been a violation of prisoners' constitutional rights. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association alleges in a notice of civil claim filed in British Columbia Supreme Court that the conditions of solitary confinement infringe on federal inmates' charter rights,The B.C.
VANCOUVER — A civil liberties group has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over solitary confinement, two years after the top courts in British Columbia and Ontarioruled there has been a violation of prisoners' constitutional rights.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association alleges in a notice of civil claim filed in British Columbia Supreme Court that the conditions of solitary confinement infringe on federal inmates' charter rights, arguing they are exposed to physical, psychological, social and spiritual trauma.
Grace Pastine, the association's litigation director, said thousands of inmates are still being isolated in their cells for 22 hours a day or more with little access to human contact, despite promised reforms.
Class action certified alleging harm from extended solitary confinement in N.L. jails
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge has certified a class action lawsuit alleging harm from prolonged periods of solitary confinement in the province's jails. The lawsuit claims negligence by the provincial government in ensuring the safety and well-being of inmates, and alleges the use of periods of solitary confinement over 15 days is unconstitutional and violates basic human rights guaranteed under the charter. St. John's law firm Morris Martin Moore announced its bid to certify the suit in September 2020, and Justice Valerie Marshall granted consent on Thursday.
"Wardens at federal prisons continue to isolate people for days, weeks and months at a time as a routine form of prison management," she told a news conference Wednesday.
Long periods of isolation have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous and racialized people or those with mental disabilities, says the notice of claim, which names the Attorney General of Canada as a defendant.
The lawsuit alleges that inmates who experience extended use of restrictive movement routines and lockdowns "are observed to suffer from a wide variety of adverse effects" including anxiety, hallucinations, panic, paranoia, self-harm, social withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
A statement of defence has not been filed with the court. A spokesman for Justice Canada said the Correctional Service of Canada would respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but the agency did not immediately provide a response.
Rapper Young Thug sues over swiped bag that had cash, songs
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta rapper Young Thug said an apartment concierge let an unknown person take his Louis Vuitton bag holding about 200 unreleased songs and more than $100,000 worth of jewelry and cash. The performer's allegations are in a lawsuit against the company that manages the apartment complex where he lived and its concierge company, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The newspaper said neither JLB Peachtree nor concierge company Pegasus Residential has answered requests for comment about the lawsuit filed last week in Gwinnett County Superior Court on behalf of Jeffery Williams, 30, whose stage name is Young Thug.
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None of the allegations made in the notice of civil claim have been tested in court.
The Correctional Service launched so-called structured intervention units at 15 prisons across the country in November 2019, months after the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Canada’s administrative segregation regime violated inmates' charter rights.
It said then that the units would bring "transformational and historic changes" to eliminate disciplinary segregation. It said the cells had windows and provided access to a yard for inmates, who would receive health assessments. Visitors, legal counsel and spiritual leaders were also given access, the same as for others in the prison system.
However, senior counsel Megan Tweedie of the civil liberties association said in an interview that the units are "essentially solitary confinement by another name."
Tweedie said efforts have been made to deal with the problem through internal grievance processes.
"Nothing's happening," she added. "So we're stepping in to fight that fight for them."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2021.
Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
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