Decision Maker Response

Justin Trudeau’s response

Oct 7, 2015 — Liberals understand that solitary confinement has serious psychological effects on inmates, who will be returned not just to the general prison population – but to society – at some point. The Conservatives’ “tough on crime” agenda is focused on punitive measures and ideological posturing rather than measures to keep Canadians safe.

While solitary confinement is supposed to be used as a last resort, former Liberal Member of Parliament and Justice Minister, Irwin Cotler, obtained figures from the government that indicate that over 20 percent of prisoners spend time in solitary. Moreover, correctional investigator Howard Sapers has found that solitary confinement is now “a default population management strategy.”

Disturbingly, the Conservative government has relied on stigma, myths, and stereotypes to develop legislation that is unlikely to have a significant impact on crime. The Liberal Party is committed to addressing mental health issues by working with victims’ advocates, provincial governments, and members of the legal and mental health communities to further modernize our system. Whether this comes through investments in early detection or the support of mental health courts, progress can be made that actually helps prevent such crimes from occurring in the first place.

A Liberal government will focus on protecting Canadians and making our communities safer by pursuing evidence-based policies that reduce crime and prevent re-offending, such as rehabilitative programs that are proven to limit repeat offences.