Public Safety Minister: Government’s working to remedy ‘mistaken views and directions of Harper era’

Ralph Goodale

REACTING to Wednesday’s decision by the BC Supreme Court to end indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons across Canada, Public Saftey Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement emailed to The VOICE: “Since early 2016, our new government has been working on reforms to remedy the mistaken views and directions of the Harper era.”

He added: “That takes time and effort. Our goal is to ensure consistency with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and best correctional practices.”

Goodale said: “Our government is committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in the federal correctional system.

“Recent court decisions in Ontario and British Columbia regarding the laws that govern administrative segregation in federal correctional institutions were commenced under the previous government as a reaction to the overuse of administrative segregation.”

Goodale pointed out: “We have new legislation now before Parliament (Bill C-56) to impose a presumptive time limit on the use of administrative segregation and to implement a system of independent oversight. We are improving the conditions of confinement and investing $57.8 million in better capacity to provide more effective treatment of mental illnesses. The Correctional Service of Canada has also developed categories of offenders for whom administrative segregation is not to be used.

“According to Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger, C-56 “will put Canada at the forefront of best correctional practices in the world.”

“While these matters remain before the court, we are reviewing all recent court judgments; we will identify any further and better ideas that need to be incorporated in our reform package. But we have been proactive from the beginning and our work is already well advanced.”