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Canadian Human Rights Commission
While we may not have the same incarceration numbers, private prisons or overt existence of a prison pipeline, Canada has seen an increase in incarceration over the last decade, and this population continues to be over-represented by black, brown and Latino youth. This highlights a need for open discussion.
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It seems obvious that solitary confinement for someone with mental health issues is dangerous and destructive. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has long held that placing vulnerable individuals in solitary confinement denies them their human rights, and for those with mental health issues, it can lead to irreparable harm.
We love to pat ourselves on the back up here in Canada and tell the world how progressive are we, but can we even claim to be progressive when we are, by definition of the United Nations, torturing our own citizens?
Four months ago, I began teaching inmates in two of Ontario's maximum security jails. The experience has taught me a lot in a very short amount of time. I'm learning about an alternative universe that exists in parallel to mine. I'm accessing a dimension which is completely divergent from the one I was born into, and I'm still trying to digest it all.
"There have been complaints for years about the state of our institutions."
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Rehabilitation programs at correctional facilities in North American prisons are transforming the way offenders learn vocational skills and practice behaviours that will set them up for success after serving their time.
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There is a violent offender on the loose in Winnipeg -- and police are powerless to do anything about it. This individual has plagued the police and the community for years. He has not faced any consequences for his behaviour. Why? Because he is a 10-year-old boy, and under the law, he is too young to be charged.
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Inmates tend to have more health problems and shorter life spans compared to the general public.
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Canadians might be surprised to learn that many health and social services widely available in the community are not available in most of Canada's correctional facilities -- this needs to change. We are missing a critical window of opportunity to reframe the period of incarceration as a time to help people improve their health and well-being before returning to our communities.
This is about both health and human rights, said one researcher.
The program aims to stop the "revolving door" of addiction and crime.
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Freedom of expression has cost my husband, Raif Badawi, his own freedom. As we speak, he is locked inside a small cell in a remote prison in Saudi Arabia; a country where censorship prevails. A country, my country, which views women as second class citizens. A country, my husband's country, that he so loves -- all of its land, its women and men, his love of his country, which extends right up to the doors of Shura, which is set on ruining the aspirations of an entire people. A country where the young are choking in a whisper that should be a scream.
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The current system has tremendous shortcomings -- it abandons victims, leaving them to heal alone, at times powerless, and without any meaningful answers. There is a better way to help victims heal and to hold offenders accountable for their acts while empowering them to improve their lives. That alternative is restorative justice.
"Research shows the earlier and longer youth spend in the system, the worse the outcomes are," says Peter Leone, a professor at the University of Maryland who has studied juvenile justice measures around the world for more than 20 years. It costs approximately $100,000 a year to incarcerate one young person in Canada. If that individual becomes a hardened life-long criminal, the amount will exceed a staggering $2 million, according to a Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.