Supreme Court to hear appeals on solitary confinement in prisons

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will revisit the decisions of courts in British Columbia and Ontario that said the federal law allowing prolonged solitary confinement in prison was unconstitutional.

In a pair of rulings today, the high court agreed to jointly hear the federal government’s challenges of the provincial appeal-court decisions.

READ MORE: Feds wins last-ditch reprieve for law which allows prisoner isolation in Canada

The Supreme Court also said it would hear cross-appeals from civil liberties groups in each case that argue the provincial decisions didn’t go far enough.

Although it contested the appeal-court decisions, the federal government brought in new legislation it said would end the practice of segregating prisoners who pose risks to security or themselves.

3:23BC Civil Liberties Association on solitary confinement ruling

BC Civil Liberties Association on solitary confinement ruling

Human-rights organizations have criticized the changes as a cosmetic rebranding with insufficient safeguards.

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As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons today for agreeing to hear the cases.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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