Federal government wants Ontario inmate segregation fight put on ice

TORONTO – The federal government is urging an Ontario judge to adjourn a challenge to solitary-confinement laws.

It says proposed legislation and policy changes will deal with the issues at play.

READ MORE: Ontario’s corrections adviser urges ‘profound’ changes to segregation practices

Civil liberties groups argue rules that allow inmates to be put in what is essentially indefinite segregation violate the Constitution.

The challenge focuses on inmates who are put into so-called “administrative” segregation, usually for their own protection.

The groups argue long-term isolation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

READ MORE: Ontario ombudsman slams inmate-segregation system; says people put at risk

In many cases, the inmates suffer from severe mental illness that can be exacerbated by solitary confinement.

A federal lawyer says Bill C-56, introduced earlier this month, would set presumptive limits on administrative segregation, along with independent oversight of its application.

VIDEO: Independent advisor’s report latest to blast segregation system in Ontario’s jails. Mark Carcasole reports.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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