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Canada had a year to end solitary confinement. Time’s up, and it hasn’t.

Last Updated Dec 6, 2018 at 10:43 am MST

(Photo: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

The practice of isolating prisoners without meaningful human contact violates inmates’ rights, two separate provincial courts have ruled, and Canada must change it. The government was given one year to draft and pass legislation altering the rules around what it calls “administrative segregation”. That year is up on Dec. 18. While a new bill is in the works, the earliest it could pass is mid-2019, and there are questions about whether it will stand up to a court challenge if it does.

Meanwhile, thousands of prisoners remain in limbo. Alone. Some are in solitary right now, and very few of them meet the stereotype Hollywood has given us of the criminals who deserve solitary. Activists say they’re often the most vulnerable people in the correctional system. So, what happens to them when the current standards expire with no replacement? Is Canada violating their human rights? If so, what kind of recourse do they have? How can they tell their stories? This is a problem the government would probably like to bury underground and ignore. Just like…well, you get the idea.

THE BIG STORY PODCAST GUEST: Justin Ling, freelance writer (Maclean’s, The Walrus, National Magazine)

Today’s Podcast: Canada had a year to end solitary confinement. Time’s up, and it hasn’t.

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