Wednesday, June 21, 2017

---The federal government is making a last-minute bid to halt a trial set to challenge Canada's solitary confinement prison policies as "cruel and unusual punishment." A short-notice application filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia argues that going ahead with the case would be a waste of court resources, since concerns about prolonged segregation are being addressed in new government legislation. It was filed in Vancouver Tuesday, just one day after the government tabled a bill setting a 15-day limit for segregation, and just two weeks before the landmark case was set to begin. The government wants to throw out the case, or at least delay it until its legislation passes through Parliament. ​"A Charter challenge to a statutory scheme that is subject to a legislative process for the purpose of significant changes is no longer an efficient and worthwhile use of the court's scarce resources," reads the application from the attorney general of Canada.----------No certainty bill will pass A swift response to the application filed today argues the case should proceed because there are gaps in the bill and no certainty it will even pass. A response signed by lawyer Joseph Arvay on behalf of the John Howard Society and BC Civil Liberties Association says, "Bill C-56 has so far only received first reading. It may yet be amended. It may yet die on the Order Paper. It is therefore uncertain whether it will be enacted and if so, in what form." If the Attorney General's position is accepted, where "the mere tabling of a bill on the eve of trial could derail a trial with a bill that does not actually resolve the litigation but actually prolongs it," the adjournment presents a serious impediment to access to justice, the response says. Legal limits on segregation urged Experts call for stricter rules on solitary confinement The court document says it is "all the more troubling" that there is no explanation for the late introduction of Bill C-56, and that if the adjournment is granted, costs should be awarded to lawyers who have worked on the case pro bono. ashley-smith03nw1

I don't for one minute believe that the federal government is trying to help the justice system by halting the lawsuit concerning solitary confinement. In my opinion, the federal government left the issue to languish until the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society went to court. They let the two organizations spend their time and money to get a court case going and then casually they put up a bill- Bill C-56 and ask the Supreme Court to throw out the lawsuit. What the heck? Do they think citizens are too dumb to realize the strategy that the federal government has used here? It's delay until the federal bureaucrats can't delay any longer. Then after costing the citizens and their organizations money, put in the legislation. Ask for the lawsuit to be thrown out. And thereby you've pretended to do the job that citizens asked for but haven't been hampered by a Supreme Court Ruling that might have inconvenienced the system by stating that solitary confinement is a human rights abuse and should not be used in the correctional system. That ruling is what is being fought over here in my opinion.
The Supreme Court should allow the lawsuit to proceed and if the court finds that solitary confinement is a human rights abuse, I hope then that the C-56 bill will be amended to indicate that any solitary confinement is unacceptable. But you know how it is folks. It's unlikely that the Supreme Court will proceed and the only thing we've learned from this junk is Team Trudeau is Team Harper.

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I've been following the lack of action by Team Trudeau with reference to the solitary confinement of prisoners in federal prisons. They simply ignored the issue until there was a court case. Then they make a bill to tell us that they are doing something. But the legislation that the Team Trudeau folks are proposing is still allowing solitary confinement. Why? I guess they all want a bureaucratically expedient method of punishing citizens and solitary confinement has the benefit of punishment of the worst sort.  For mentally ill prisoners this sort of punishment is torture; heck I think it is torture for all prisoners. But what does Team Trudeau care?

The real reason for the swift implementation of the bill was not to address the concerns of the citizens like myself who wrote to the federal government. Nope. The real reason was to end the legal challenge. You can't make this sort of stuff up. These politicians use strategy to subvert the democratic process. How? The citizens initiate a legal case to get a ruling on the solitary confinement issue by the highest court in the land. The government doesn't want that ruling which may go further than the bureaucrats want to go. So the bill and now the request to the court not to waste valuable court time and to squash the case.

I'm disgusted. I think we should vote out the Team Trudeau folks ASAP in the next election. This group is no better than Harper's crew. Heck they may be mirror images of each other.

Julie Ali
6 mins



This is really poor behaviour on the part of the Trudeau Team.
Why? 
1) They ignore the problem of solitary confinement of prisoners because the human rights of prisoners is of low priority for government.
2) Then lawyers for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada work for free to make a legal case.
3) This appeared to get the attention of the missing in action Trudeau government that then makes a bill that isn't good enough in my opinion in that it still allows solitary confinement. Why would we allow this sort of human rights infringement when more humane solutions are available such as locked mental health wards where you have folks getting the treatment they need in company without the segregation practices that are harmful? Also chemical restraints are possible making physical confinement simply a punitive measure rather than a rehabilitation strategy which is what is required. Any sort of solitary confinement is torture that is being legalized by the government; such treatment of those with mental health issues is also contraindicated.
4) The bill in place the Trudeau Team then go to court to try to squash the court case. What the heck? Why can't they simply do their legislative work without the need to do the legal case squashing? I'll tell you why. They want to end the legal challenge so that they can make the bill in the format that government wishes to make it. The legal case may make their law making in the format dictated by the Supreme Court of Canada and as such may make life less bureaucratically expedient for both the federal government folks as well as prison staff.
Such an obvious political meddling act should receive a rebuttal from the Supreme Court but based on the poor performance of the Supreme Court with reference to the Jessica Ernst case, I have no confidence in the judges there.
5) As for the Trudeau guy? Just Harper in a pretty face.


The federal government is making a last-minute bid to halt a trial set to challenge its solitary confinement prison policies as "cruel and unusual punishment." The…
CBC.CA

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/solitary-confinement-segregation-prison-1.4171833


Liberals move to halt landmark legal challenge to solitary confinement of prisoners

Application to toss the case comes one day after government tables bill putting 15-day cap on segregation

By Kathleen Harris, CBC News Posted: Jun 21, 2017 6:52 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 21, 2017 6:52 PM ET
This shows the solitary confinement range in the Springhill Institution in Nova Scotia. The federal government is applying to halt a trial challenging its segregation practices.
This shows the solitary confinement range in the Springhill Institution in Nova Scotia. The federal government is applying to halt a trial challenging its segregation practices. (Office of Canada's Correctional Investigator/Supplied photo)
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The federal government is making a last-minute bid to halt a trial set to challenge Canada's solitary confinement prison policies as "cruel and unusual punishment."
A short-notice application filed with the Supreme Court of British Columbia argues that going ahead with the case would be a waste of court resources, since concerns about prolonged segregation are being addressed in new government legislation.
It was filed in Vancouver Tuesday, just one day after the government tabled a bill setting a 15-day limit for segregation, and just two weeks before the landmark case was set to begin.
The government wants to throw out the case, or at least delay it until its legislation passes through Parliament.
​"A Charter challenge to a statutory scheme that is subject to a legislative process for the purpose of significant changes is no longer an efficient and worthwhile use of the court's scarce resources," reads the application from the attorney general of Canada.
The lawsuit, launched by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada in January 2015, argues current practices cause prisoner suffering and deaths, deprive fundamental protections, and discriminate against mentally ill and Indigenous inmates.
The trial is scheduled to begin July 4 and last about nine weeks.
Under the new bill C-56, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) will have an 18-month transition period, during which time the cap will be set at 21 days.

Bill addresses concerns

The government's application says the new statutory scheme will be significantly different from the one now being challenged. An adjournment would allow Parliament to debate the proposed changes, along with new CSC policies that address concerns raised by the challenge.
New directives that come alongside the bill say inmates with serious mental disorders — who are engaging in self-injury or are at risk of suicide, are pregnant, have mobility issues or are in palliative care — should not be placed in segregation unless "exceptional circumstances are identified."

No certainty bill will pass

A swift response to the application filed today argues the case should proceed because there are gaps in the bill and no certainty it will even pass.
A response signed by lawyer Joseph Arvay on behalf of the John Howard Society and BC Civil Liberties Association says, "Bill C-56 has so far only received first reading. It may yet be amended. It may yet die on the Order Paper. It is therefore uncertain whether it will be enacted and if so, in what form."
If the Attorney General's position is accepted, where "the mere tabling of a bill on the eve of trial could derail a trial with a bill that does not actually resolve the litigation but actually prolongs it," the adjournment presents a serious impediment to access to justice, the response says.
The court document says it is "all the more troubling" that there is no explanation for the late introduction of Bill C-56, and that if the adjournment is granted, costs should be awarded to lawyers who have worked on the case pro bono.
ashley-smith03nw1
Calls to limit the segregation of prisoners grew louder after the death of teen prisoner Ashley Smith in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Smith's family)
Calls for tighter restrictions over solitary confinement grew louder after the high-profile inquest into the death of teen prisoner Ashley Smith.
Smith died in a segregated prison cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., in 2007. A coroner's jury ruled that her self-inflicted choking death was a homicide and made 104 recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.
The government's application to adjourn will be heard Friday in Vancouver.



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