Senator says solitary-confinement bill will make some conditions worse, not better - InfoNews

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Senator says solitary-confinement bill will make some conditions worse, not better

Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, is seen outside the Ashley Smith inquest in Toronto on October 15, 2013. A Canadian senator who has spent four decades advocating for the rights of vulnerable people incarcerated in Canadian prisons says a new bill that purports to end solitary confinement should be scrapped. Sen. Kim Pate says the Trudeau government's Bill C-83 only offers a cosmetic rebranding of the practice of separating inmates from others in isolated cells for either administrative or disciplinary reasons.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
May 05, 2019 - 11:30 AM

OTTAWA - A senator says a bill that's supposed to end solitary confinement in Canadian prisons could actually make it worse.

Kim Pate spent most of her life advocating for women in the criminal-justice system before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named her to the Senate in 2016.

She says Bill C-83, which the House of Commons has already passed and sent to the Senate, just renames segregation cells as "structured intervention units" and removes caps on how long inmates can be kept in them.

The bill does say that prisoners in those units will have to be visited by health professionals, be allowed out of their cells for up to four hours a day instead of two, and get some meaningful human interaction each day.

The bill is partly an answer to a coroner's inquest into the death of Ashley Smith, a 19-year-old Ontario woman who died by suicide in 2013 after spending more than 1,000 days in segregation.

The government says the changes being proposed will mean better oversight of inmates who are separated from each other, in addition to the extra human contact.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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