Correctional Investigator Report on Administratrive Segregation in Federal Prisons
The Investigator acts as the ombudsman for inmates incarcerated in Canadian federal institutions.
Administrative segregation or solitary confinement is commonly used to manage mentally ill offenders, self-injurious offenders and those at risk of suicide.
Segregated inmates spend 23 hours a day alone in their cells (furnished with a bed and a toilet – no table or chair). The segregated inmate eats all meals alone in the cell, is permitted to take an hour of outdoor exercise per day (weather permitting and with other compatible inmates if possible), is given the opportunity to shower every second day and has limited access to the phone and programs.
The majority of interactions with correctional staff, nurses and psychologists are conducted through the food slot of the segregation cell door.
Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator of Canada, found that inmates in administrative segregation are twice more likely to have a history of self-injury and attempted suicide, and 31% more likely to have a mental health issue.
Sapers is of the opinion that segregation is overused in Canada. The report also shows that certain incarcerated groups are more affected than others, including federally sentenced women with mental health issues, Aboriginal and Black inmates. Aboriginal inmates continue to have the longest average stay in segregation compared to any other group.
Sapers called for the Government of Canada to limit the use of administrative segregation, prohibit its use for mentally ill inmates and for younger offenders (up to 21 years of age), impose an initial limit of no more than 30 days, and introduce judicial oversight or independent adjudication for any length of stay in segregation beyond 30 days.
Labels: correctional services