Justice Peter Leask found that the laws surrounding segregation in prison discriminate against Aboriginal and mentally ill inmates. (Shutterstock/cunaplus) A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the practice of indefinite solitary confinement in Canadian prisons is unconstitutional.
In a lengthy ruling released Wednesday, Justice Peter Leask found that the laws surrounding segregation in prison discriminate against Aboriginal and mentally ill inmates.
He also found that the existing rules create a situation in which a warden becomes judge and jury in terms of deciding whether prolonged or even indefinite segregation is needed.
"I find as a fact that administrative segregation … is a form of solitary confinement that places all Canadian inmates subject to it at significant risk of serious psychological harm, including mental pain and suffering, and increased incidence of self-harm and suicide," Leask wrote.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the John Howard Society of Canada (JHSC) brought the challenge against the federal government, arguing that rules regarding administrative segregation, more commonly known as solitary confinement, are inhuman and unconstitutional.
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