"I'm seeking change, a change for the people in the future who may be placed in such a [tough] situation."
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.
On August 10, 1974, Edward Nolan died by suicide in a segregation cell at Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ontario. Each year on August 10, we commemorate Prisoners' Justice Day to remember Nolan and all of the prisoners who have died in custody, and to renew calls to respect the basic human rights of prisoners housed in jails, correctional centres, and penitentiaries across the country.
The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Stéphane Dion, recently declared that Canada "should join this important protocol" -- the United Nations' Protocol against Torture. More than a decade after it was initially passed, Canada is still sitting on the bench and watching cases after cases of torture happening.
Every year, thousands of people are placed in segregation in jails and penitentiaries across the country. Systemic data about the use of segregation in both provincial and federal contexts indicates that segregation is being overused on -- and causing particular harm for -- vulnerable groups, such as black and indigenous prisoners, women, and those with mental health disabilities.
Prison policy experts are urging the federal government to act fast on a promise to limit solitary confinement behind bars