Monday, June 08, 2020

Library of Parliament Article on COVID-19 and the Federal Correctional System

HillNotes, a publication of the Library of Parliament in Ottawa, has published an article on COVID-19 and the Federal Correctional System:
"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal penitentiaries across the country have reported infections, with institutions experiencing outbreaks in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Both federally sentenced persons and guards have been infected. Because correctional facilities and their populations are part of the larger community, a disease outbreak within penitentiaries is also a health risk to society."

"Approximately 14,000 federally sentenced persons are in federal correctional facilities. They generally live in close quarters, with little separation between cells. Practising physical distancing is either not feasible or could require imposing measures (e.g. prolonged solitary confinement and lockdowns) that have been shown to cause significant physiological and psychological harm."

"The federally sentenced population is particularly vulnerable due to aging and higher rates of chronic illness. Many federally sentenced persons have struggled with high-risk behaviours associated with chronic health conditions such as Hepatitis C Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In addition, Indigenous Peoples are overrepresented in federal corrections (30% of federally sentenced persons compared to 5% of Canada’s overall population), and have higher rates of infectious disease and chronic health issues."
The article looks at the obligations to provide health services in correctional institutions, reports by the federal prisons ombudsman, the debate over early release of inmates during the pandemic, and current court challenges against the Canadian government's handling of the situation

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 5:34 pm

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