Prison isolation needed in some cases: government

VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Canadian government is urging a judge not to strike down the country’s solitary confinement law, saying the practice can be necessary to protect the safety of people and the institution.

Mitchell Taylor delivered closing arguments Wednesday at a trial for a constitutional challenge of indefinite segregation filed by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada.

Prisoners need to be isolated at times, Taylor argued, including when they pose a threat to others or are in danger of being harmed in the general population.

“Administrative segregation is, in our submission, a reasonable, necessary tool for the safety and security of people — inmates and staff — and for the institution,” he said in B.C. Supreme Court.

The current regime limits the practice to certain situations, for the shortest possible amount of time and as a last resort after all other alternatives have been ruled out, he said.

Taylor said if Justice Peter Leask finds problems with the law, he should not strike it down, but rather identify the issues with it and allow Parliament to address them.

The federal government introduced a bill in June that would set an initial time limit for segregation of 21 days, with a reduction to 15 days once the legislation is law for 18 months.

It attempted to stop the trial, saying the bill addressed the concerns raised by the lawsuit, but the judge rejected the argument. Therefore the trial has focused on the current system, not the proposed law.

Joe Arvay, a lawyer for the civil liberties association and the John Howard Society, has asked Leask to strike down the current law and instruct the government to set a 15-day limit and establish external oversight.

Arvay said the law violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and there are many inmates in Canada that have been in solitary confinement for months or years, including one who has been segregated for 18 years.

Just Posted


Waterfront area redevelopment plan to be updated

Red Deer College a top Hockey campus

Expedia Canada ranks hockey campuses

Looking out for neighbours to fight rural crime

Building community to address crime

Suspect arrested after collision in stolen truck

Driver faces charges in court today

WATCH: Red Deer rings in the Chinese New Year

A couple hundred fill Festival Holiday to ring in the Year of the Dog

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Ambulance’s slow response time angers family

Woman suffers stroke, waits nearly an hour for ambulance

Over-burdened refugee tribunal ditches legislated timelines for hearings

OTTAWA — The Immigration and Refugee Board is giving up on following… Continue reading

New paramedic team coming to Red Deer

Paramedics provide on-site care to those with chronic conditions

Toddler breaks leg after boot sucked into escalator at Vancouver airport

VANCOUVER — A Calgary woman is reminding parents about the dangers of… Continue reading

Liberals looking at creating use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is raising the idea of creating… Continue reading

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

New doping charge could hurt Russia’s chance at reinstatement

Russia could lose its chance to be reinstated before the end of the Winter Olympics because of a doping charge against curling bronze medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky.

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month