Elimination of Administrative Segregation

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The use of Administrative Segregation is a practice that is used by correctional institutions across Canada.  It is a practice that needs to be eliminated as it does nothing but cause more problems for inmates. Whether it be for administrative reasons or not, segregation has no benefits for inmates. Locking inmates up for 23 hours a day is inhumane and needs to stop as those who spend time in segregation are coming out with many problems such as skin conditions, mental health issues and other health problems that most times are not even being addressed.  It has been stressed that there are psychological damages that begin to set in for inmates when they spend more than 15 days in segregation, yet some are spending months in segregation, as much as 22 months at one time.

The prairies have the second highest number of segregation cases among women inmates and majority of inmates placed in segregation are aboriginal men and women who are locked up for 23 hours a day with one hour out a day to shower, make phone calls to family and exercise.  Sometimes with the rotation change inmates are not released from their cells for almost 36 hours.

The use of segregation dates back to the 1900s and then was considered to be cruel and unusual punishment that led to suicide rates, inmates becoming insane and violent, the fact that this cruel means of punishment is still used is wrong, and disturbing that some are placed in segregation for no reason. Being in segregation inmates lose human contact and there are many severe physical and mental consequences that effect the inmate such as gastro-intestinal problems, insomnia, deterioration of ones eyesight, weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations, migraines, back and joint pains, poor appetite, weight loss, aggravation, anxiety, suffer from panic attacks, low level of stress tolerance, irritability, fear of death, depression, feeling of helplessness, social withdrawal, anger, rage, poor impulse control, outburst of physical and verbal violence against others, self and objects, unprovoked anger, fear of social contact, cognitive outbursts such as poor concentration and memory, perceptual distortions like hypersensitivity to smells and noise, hallucinations, suffer from paranoia, psychosis, and  are at high risk for self harm and suicide.

Inmates subjected to extended time in segregation are at the highest risk.  With claims of inmates who have spent time in segregation like an inmate at Regina Provincial Correctional Center who was incarcerated there for 3 years, and spent 20 months in segregation, or another inmate at RPCC who spent several months on segregation and suffers from Chron's disease, needed medical attention after losing 24 pounds in 20 days, but was refused, his pain was so extreme that he had to attempt suicide in order to get medical attention that he needed.  Once seen he was prescribed a special diet, but was refused that.  There are countless inmates across Canada in both provincial and federal correctional institutions that are put this inhumane torture on a daily basis.  

Correctional institutions are to Correct ones behaviour, not make them worse.  As a first world country we put people through some inhumane treatment, some of the same treatment that we fight wars for when citizens of third world countries expose people to such treatment.  

Regardless of what someone has done, the use of administrative segregation is inhumane and a practice that needs to be stopped.  There is no positive benefit to the use of segregation and the isolation creates more harm than good,  

 



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