Canada – Sharp Decline in Use of Solitary Confinement

This is an interesting article outlining the fact that Canada is holding fewer inmates in solitary confinement for shorter periods of time – a positive step towards respecting prisoners’ human rights. The average length of stay had declined from 44 days which was the average in 2008, to 26 days in 2016.

Solitary confinement is still used as a punishment in many countries around the world, and in many of the prisons where the people we support are serving a sentence. The denial of meaningful human contact can cause extreme isolation as well as anxiety, depression and psychosis.

Segregation usually means lock-down for 22 hours a day.

The article does go on to say, however, that whilst the service has taken strong leadership in showing a commitment to creative alternatives to segregation, concerns have been raised that some individuals who are moved into alternatives to segregation may still be in highly restrictive routines, with limited access to programs, services and employment.

This sort of treatment and environment can have detrimental effects of their own. This is why reforms are required to ensure positive momentum is maintained; easing reliance on segregation, especially for inmates with mental health problems/those prone to self-harm.

To ensure the survival of a person who is incarcerated, among other things, Prisoners Abroad helps maintain their mental health, by providing books to keep their minds active and dictionaries to assist them with learning a language. These resources help prisoners tackle loneliness and isolation.

The full article is available here.

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