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January 19, 2015
OTTAWA — The first comprehensive legal challenge to Canada’s use of solitary confinement in federal prisons will be launched by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada Monday.
Even as many countries, including the United States, rein in use of segregation in prisons, Canada’s Correctional Investigator says this country has ramped up solitary confinement by 6% in the past five years.
The legal challenge to be filed Monday with the Supreme Court of British Columbia argues that administrative segregation is unconstitutional, amounting to “cruel and unusual punishment” that discriminates in particular against mentally ill and aboriginal inmates.
The suit comes a month after Correctional Services Canada published its response to the inquest into the death of teenage prisoner Ashley Smith, who spent more than 1,000 days in solitary confinement before killing herself in 2007.
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