Canada, Bill C, Mandela discussed on The Big Story
The big story is brought to you by Scotia. I trade there's a traitor in all of us. Think about solitary confinement, and the Hollywood machine takes over you might think of a remorseless killer shut-away and a dark hole or a deranged inmate isolated to keep the rest of the population safe. I don't know maybe you think of one about man's archenemies. The point is solitary holds a place in popular culture that is often at odds with how it's actually used. And most of us are only now coming to grips with just how different solitary is in reality from television. In fact, Canada has been ordered to end the practice precisely because it's not used for the people. You think it's used for Canada was given a year to eliminate what it calls solitary confinement, and to create new regulations around it now that year is almost up, and how close are we to actually ending a practice that critics say meets the United Nations definition of torture. We're not nearly close enough. And what happens when that deadline passes? And there is no new legislation. Nobody really knows. But we are about to find out. Jordan Rollins, and this is the big story. A lot of the people who get put in this situation are not a danger in some cases, they're actually the most vulnerable people in prisons. Justin Ling is a freelance writer who's written for publications like the global mail, the walrus Maclean's and today we're talking to him about a piece he wrote for national magazine, the official periodical of the Canadian bar association. What kind of rules govern solitary confinement in Canada, currently the correctional services act governs how someone's allowed to be put in what the act calls administrative segregation which mystic way of saying solitary confinement. The rules do provide oversight, you know, the institution has to keep reporting back as to why they're keeping people in solitary confinement or sorry administrative. Segregation, right? I, you know, there has to be a reason for putting them there. Although those reasons are often nebulous and hard to pin down and those inmates barring a security concern or whether have to be outside for an hour a day and cannot be a captain in confinement for for more than twenty two hours at a time. They need at least two hours out of their cell one of which is usually outdoors. That's kind of it. And even those those sort of regulations can be bendable and changed based on the situation. Jade. Inmates. Are also supposed to have contact with their family. This supposed to be able to have phone call. They're supposed to be allowed to bring their effects their books their blankets into their cell. But a lot of the time for seemingly some of the time that even that doesn't necessarily happen often this of human conduct. You get is much less than what a human being actually needs to honestly, stay sane. So what is going on with solitary confinement and Canada right now, and I'm gonna call it solitary rather than administrative segregation, just because it's a more widely understood term, well the courts actually agree with you. So over the last couple of years two different groups have filed constitutional challenges to Canada's solitary confinement regime. One of those challenges was in the British Columbia the BBC's liberty this season. And one of them was in Ontario by the Canadians liberties association now in both cases, they were challenging the constitutionality of solitaire confinement under section seven of the charter in rights to the freedom. The rich says what we have the right to liberty safety and security of the person. Okay. So both constitutional challenges turned on the idea that solitary confinement or administrative segregation the government calls it deprives inmates of their section seven charter rights the life, the right to life liberty and security of the person. And in those challenges they cited numerous examples where people were being held in solitary confinement for at least twenty two hours a day where the meaningful human contact. They received was often through the food slot in their doors. So when a nurse came by kind of per the regulations to check on their health and safety. It was done through a slot in the door and imagine getting a checkup through, you know, a, you know, maybe a seven by two inch hole in your door. It's it's absurd. Checks by the head of the institution are done to the slot in the door a phone call the receivers pass through the slot in the door your food is passed that slot. Otherwise, you're talking about it. You know, I I think a seven by ten foot cell with windows. Yeah. Basically, no way. Windows your time outdoors. I spoke to one lawyer who represented who was dealt with, you know, some some clients who have been in solitary often, you can stand when they bring outside for your our outdoor time. You're standing in an area that's not much bigger than your cell surrounded on most sides by concrete or brick and on one side by barbed wire fence, you can only see really outdoors looking up to the sun. That's not meaningful time outside that's just outdoor solitary confinement. Sanctional you don't talk to other people. You don't see other people? You don't get exercise. And what both challenges said is that this is solitary confinement as defined by the UN conventions against torture. There's something called the Mandela rules that say Soltero confinement consists of keeping someone in a cell small cell by themselves twenty two hours a day without meaningful human contact. And especially if that lasts for more than thirty days candidate does that all the time thousands and thousands of cases a year consists of keeping someone in a windowless cell for more than twenty two. For at least twenty two hours a day. The court says it will call it administrative segregation, call it whatever you want. This is solitary confinement, solitary confinement is more or less torture. You need to stop doing this. The court said this is unconstitutional, you have twelve months to fix this. When was that in the -tario case that was last December in the British Columbia case, it was last January time's up the time is up. And here's the problem when a court suspended exploration of invalidity is that call it or basically when they strike down the law, and they give you some time to go and be right. The law usually governments you get to work you'll you start immediately. When this happened in the Carter decision when the supreme court, basically says our laws on assisted dying right insufficient. Parliament had to go back and start working on those laws. Now, unfortunately, in that case, there is an election. So after the election, the Trudeau government had to come to the supreme court and say we didn't have enough time. There's an election. This was you know, if extrordinary circumstance we need some more time the supreme court said in this one case. Because you can point to a very exceptional circumstance where you couldn't you know, any possible way be writing legislation concerning there was election. We'll give you a little more time not as much as you want. But we'll give you a little more time, and they use that time in and actually got the lawn place before the law was actually struck down. And there is no laws governing it in this circumstance. You know what? The canes have liberties association as saying is you don't have any reason while you didn't get this law done. It took them ten months. Ten months after that first decision to get along place. It's called Bill Eighty-three before parliament. Now, you actually write the lot introduce it. Yeah. That laws still being debated. The government does not think it's going to pass that law before July. That's seven months on top of that twelve months. They already got. Now, they're going to the court and arguing before the interior court of appeal saying, oh, we need more time any more time. Why do they need more time? It's totally unclear. They were actually there. They actually put forward, you know, evidence to back up why the time the evidence as the canes delivered. Association pointed out was little more that, you know, a basically affidavit from a law clerk, citing publicly available documents describing what Bill CD three does they didn't provide any reasons whether took all of this time, and the judge you could tell was skeptical from the get go. The attorney general was ordered to go basically, go back to the drawing board and come back with not only kind of reasons why they take so long. But also an explanation of how Bill CDs three actually addresses the original judgment that found that the the the whole system was unconstitutional. There's actually a real skepticism that Bill c three will even fix the original things laid out by the courts. What does that solution? Look like how different is Bill c Eighty-three from what we now consider administrative segregation. Well, they changed the name of it again. Which is the real good is there from the gecko. Now, I it's structured intervention units. And this is I think anyone who really follows us, and it it bothered me that there's not more coverage of this. I even feel like I've been deficient in my coverage of this because I. Didn't even know about Bill three. I forgotten that was coming up. This had been totally off my radar until someone actually kinda poke me and said, you should really look at this. And when I started looking at this is absurd the functional difference between the the structure intervention units and administrative. Segregation is it. Yes. There will be more time outside your cell. There will be more time outdoors. You're talking about twenty hours a day in yourselves opposed to twenty two and you're talking to hours outside as opposed to one that technically gets you outside the definition torture in what solitary confinement is under the Mandela rules. But a lot of people are saying that's still doesn't cut it. And for some people that might be appropriate. You know, for the most hardened criminals who are a danger to themselves and others. But a lot of the people who get put in the situation are not a danger in some cases, they're actually the most vulnerable people in prison. We've heard from the from you know, these lawyers from from prisoners rights advocates saying that a lot of times prisons. I will end up putting people in there who are former cops who are LGBTQ prisoners people. Who basically the the prison says if we keep you in general population, you could get stabbed. Yeah. The only way to protect you is to put you in a cell by yourself. The problem is, you know, the rules are not in place. And the the oversight is not in place to make sure that there will taken care of all they're there, and they can get out if they need to be taken out. Up next. There's so many problems here. And and frankly, it's I think everyone's confounded, but how sort of indifferent? The government seems to this.