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Civil Rights Group Files Lawsuit Against Federal Government Over Solitary Confinement Of Prisoners

In 2018, the B.C. Supreme Court struck down federal solitary confinement laws as unconstitutional because they discriminated against Indigenous inmates and those with mental illnesses.

Civil Rights Group Files Lawsuit Against Federal Government Over Solitary Confinement Of Prisoners
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From The Canadian Press: The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has launched a lawsuit against the federal government over the prolonged solitary confinement of prisoners at federal institutions, The Canadian Press reported Wednesday.

  • In 2018, the B.C. Supreme Court struck down federal solitary confinement laws as unconstitutional because they discriminated against Indigenous inmates and those with mental illnesses, the Toronto Star reported at the time.
  • The feds challenged that ruling, but the B.C. Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2019, affirming that prolonged confinement amounts to a violation of human rights.

Grace Pastine, litigation director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, told CP Wednesday that thousands of Canadians are still being isolated in their cells for 22 hours or more a day with minimal human contact.

  • The BCCLA’s notice of claim states that such conditions violate charter rights because they expose inmates to physical, psychological, social and spiritual trauma, CP reported.

The claim also states prison wardens are using lockdowns to isolate people in their cells for days, weeks and months at a time, and that such practices have a disproportionate impact on Indigenous and racialized people, or those with mental disabilities, according to CP.

Read CP’s full story here.

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