Corrections Canada responded Thursday to the study of two criminologists and the comment of the Prisoner Ombudsman (Correctional Investigator in Canada) who on Wednesday decried the extremely frequent use of what amounts to solitary confinement, known as a “pit.”
By e-mail, the ministry notes, “The modular structured intervention model is fundamentally different from the previous model. They are not punitive. Quite the contrary. […] “It is a temporary measure to help inmates adopt more positive behaviors that help keep the entire institution intact,” writes Marie-Pierre Liquiere, a media relations consultant.
The Correctional Service of Canada also notes that inmates in temporarily isolated federal prisons nevertheless benefit from various daily programs, activities, and contacts with staff or other prisoners.
In their study, criminologists Anthony Dub and Jane Sprott calculate – based on data provided by the Canadian Correctional Service – that across the country, 28.4% of inmates have moved into “organized intervention units” who are not entitled to four legal hours outside their cell; 9.9% had this treatment for 16 days or longer, according to the authors.
In the study, Quebec stands out as the sad hero of this exclusion because resorting to this procedure appears to be particularly frequent. The authors say British Columbia, which is isolating detainees for 16 days or more, is torturing them under the Mandela Rules, which set minimum conditions for detention while respecting human rights.
The ministry asserts that independent external decision-makers have reviewed a thousand cases in which temporarily separated prisoners failed to spend at least four hours outside their cell every day as they are entitled and as required under the Mandela Rules. M. “Often this type of situation arises because the inmate rejects the possibilities presented to him on a daily basis.”I am Liquiere.
However, the Canadian Correctional Service does not refuse to study the two criminologists.
The Ministry concludes that this study will add to the observations that will help it bring about improvements, especially with regard to some regional differences.