Solitary confinement in Quebec federal penitentiary
On February 24, 2016, Arlene Gallone, represented by Trudel Johnston & Lespérance, launched a class action regarding solitary confinement. The lawsuit says the practice of the Government of Canada of confining inmates to solitary confinement (such as administrative segregation) for more than 72 consecutive hours violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Similarly, the lawsuit says the solitary confinement of inmates with a mental health disorder violates both of these fundamental laws, regardless of the length of their placement.
The class action seeks compensatory damages for the harm that class members suffered as a result of their unlawful solitary confinement and punitive damages for the Correctional Service of Canada’s intentional interference with their fundamental rights.
On January 13 2017, the Superior Court of Quebec authorized Arlene Gallone to bring a class action in damages against the Attorney General of Canada. On February 28th, 2017, the Plaintiff filed the Originating Application.
The Government of Canada and the plaintiff have started preliminary settlement discussions.
These discussions are held conjointly with two other class actions on behalf of prisoners that have been placed in administrative segregation: Brazeau v. Canada and Reddock v. Canada launched in Toronto by Koskie Minsky LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
The prosecution of the class action was suspended until December 2018 while the parties engaged in settlement discussions. The parties did not reach an agreement, therefore the prosecution of the file started again in January 2019. The Attorney General of Canada will file its defense on April 30, 2019. Examinations on discovery of representatives of the Correctional Service of Canada will be held in May 2019. No trial date has yet been set.
Are you a member?
The group is defined as follows:
Class members in prolonged solitary confinement
All persons held in “solitary confinement”, such as in administrative segregation but excluding disciplinary segregation, after February 24, 2013 for more than 72 consecutive hours, in a federal penitentiary situated in Quebec, including consecutive periods totalizing more than 72 hours separated by periods of less than 24 hours;
Class members with mental health disorders
All persons held in “solitary confinement”, such as in administrative segregation but excluding disciplinary segregation, after February 24, 2013 in a federal penitentiary situated in Quebec who were, prior to or during “such solitary confinement”, diagnosed by a medical doctor either prior to or during such “solitary confinement” with an Axis I Disorder (excluding Substance Use Disorders), or Borderline Personality Disorder, who suffered from their disorder, in a manner described at Appendix A, and reported such prior to or during their stay in “solitary confinement”.
-Significant impairment in judgment (including inability to make decisions; confusion; disorientation)
-Significant impairment in thinking (including constant preoccupation with thoughts, paranoia; delusions that make the offender a danger to self or others)
-Significant impairment in mood (including constant depressed mood plus helplessness and hopelessness; agitation; manic mood that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staffs or follow correctional plan)
-Significant impairment in communications that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan
-Significant impairment due to anxiety (panic attacks; overwhelming anxiety) that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan Other symptoms: hallucinations; delusions; severe obsessional rituals that interferes with ability to effectively interact with other offenders, staff or follow correctional plan
-Chronic and severe suicidal ideation resulting in increased risk for suicide attempts;
-Chronic and severe self-injury; or
-A GAF score of 50 or less.
If you think you are class member and want to receive information on the file, you can sign up to our mailing list by signing the form below.
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