June 9, 2021
On June 4, 2021, the CCLA made submissions to the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General regarding the government’s proposed changes to the regulations governing segregation and prisoner misconduct.
The proposed amendments to Regulation 778 contain a few welcome changes, including requirements for institutions to provide specialized care and medical units for incarcerated people in crisis, and a gesture towards establishing an alternative dispute resolution process for issues of misconduct. The proposed changes also respond to constitutional challenges – including CCLA’s case that established that prolonged, indefinite solitary confinement was unconstitutional.
Unfortunately, however, CCLA is concerned that the government’s proposed changes are insufficient to address the well-documented and ongoing rights violations in Ontario provincial jails.
CCLA’s submissions highlight a number of areas where we believe the government’s proposal would fall short of constitutional standards:
- Ineffective review process and procedural safeguards for segregation placements.
- Inadequate protections offered for people with mental health issues.
- Extremely broad exceptions to the (constitutionally required) upper limits on time spent in conditions that amount to solitary confinement.
We also urged the government to incorporate clear procedural fairness guarantees into the misconduct adjudication process.
Ultimately, these amendments simply do not go far enough to achieve their stated goal of improving the safety and accountability of correctional institutions and of meaningfully reducing the reliance on, and the harm caused by, the practice of segregation.
About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.
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