End Solitary Confinement in Canadian Prisons
Mental health has become a pressing concern in Canadian society, and in Canadian prisons. Due to cuts to social services, welfare, and health care, many individuals with mental health conditions and addictions are entering the prison system. But, prisons often lack the staff and resources to effectively provide necessary services to support these individuals. What’s more, methods used in prisons to address mental health issues make matters worse.
Women and girls in Canada’s prisons are at a particularly high risk of dying or becoming seriously ill while in custody. One third of reported incidents of self-harm in Canadian prisons involve women. These incidents are often met with the use of segregation. Solitary confinement is used inappropriately and far too frequently. It creates and worsens mental health issues.
Many Canadians know of the case of Ashley Smith. Ashley was just nineteen years-old when she died in solitary confinement in October 2007 at the federal prison for women in Kitchener, Ontario. The inquest into her death ruled it a preventable homicide. To prevent further deaths, the inquest called for an end to indefinite solitary confinement and stricter limits on the use of segregation. Sadly, their recommendations were not implemented and mistreatment in Canada’s prison system continues.
But there is a solution. The government that will be elected in October can take immediate steps to end solitary confinement, particularly for women and girls and people with mental health issues. That’s why we’ve started this petition and we’re asking for your signature.
To date, no federal leader has committed to address this during their election campaigns. It’s time to tell them that this is an election issue that matters to Canadians. Please sign and share this petition to help send this message.
Canadians for Fiscal and Social Accountability is a group of citizens concerned with the manner in which our tax dollars are spent. Instead of pouring billions of dollars into jailing the most marginalized, we want to see monies allocated to health care — especially mental health services, education and social services. Jails are not treatments centers and we must stop allowing them to be used as such. http://www.caefs.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/crimeprev-e.pdf
- Leader, Green Party of Canada / Chef, Parti Vert du Canada
- Gilles Duceppe
Federal Party Leaders: End Solitary Confinement
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