Inmates at risk of suicide no longer to be placed in segregation
Inmates likely to harm or kill themselves and inmates with serious mental illnesses will no longer be kept in segregation, the Correctional Service of Canada says.
The CSC says its changes to administrative segregation, the term it uses for leaving a prisoner confined and isolated from other inmates for security reasons, took effect Tuesday.
They apply to all inmates with serious mental illnesses causing significant impairment, inmates “actively engaging in self-injury which is deemed likely to result in serious bodily harm,” and inmates who have bene found to be at an elevated or imminent suicide risk.
Additionally, inmates who are placed in administrative segregation will be allowed to have daily shows, and to spend at least two hours a day outside their cell. They will be given “essential items” right away, and other personal belongings within 24 hours.
“These policy changes will make a tangible and immediate improvement to inmates with complex mental health needs, and to the way we manage administrative segregation.” CSC commissioner Don Head said in a statement.
CSC says administrative segregation is used when necessary to maintain the safety of a prison, its workers and its inmates. Segregation can also be used when an inmate commits a serious offence while in custody. In those cases, it is known as disciplinary segregation.
Ending all forms of indefinite solitary confinement was one of the 104 recommendations to come out of the Ashley Smith inquest. Smith, a teenaged inmate at Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women, strangled herself to death in 2007 as guards watched on.
About one in eight male prisoners has at least one serious mental health issue, according to federal research conducted on newly arriving inmates.
With files from The Canadian Press