Lawyers say yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, the one that found the use of indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons as unconstitutional, could have implications on how all prisons are run across Canada.
The case was brought by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada, which asked the court to end “administrative segregation,” as it is currently practised, in federal prisons. West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund also intervened in the case to draw attention to what it termed the “gendered dimensions” of solitary confinement.
The use of administrative segregation is justified as a means to maintain security by not allowing an inmate to associate with other prisoners. This form of segregation differs from disciplinary segregation, which is used when an inmate has been found guilty of a serious disciplinary offence.