Minister addresses jail segregation practices

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Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak gave some insight into segregation practices at Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) during a statement in the legislative assembly on Wednesday.

Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak gave some insight into segregation practices at Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) during a statement in the legislative assembly on Wednesday. There were 187 instances where prisoners were placed in administrative segregation in 2017-18, of which 39 occasions exceeded 15 days. Eighteen of those 39 were voluntary placements, 13 were because the inmate threatened the safety and security of the jail, four were were protective custody reasons and four were due to medical observation. Of the 13 segregations for security purposes, "there was an extremely compelling reason why the inmate was segregated as long as they were. Segregation is not something we take lightly and it is not something we overuse. The data speaks for itself; in Nunavut long term placements in segregation are used sparingly," Ehaloak said. All segregation placements are reviewed by BCC staff at least weekly, and reintegration plans are created, Ehaloak added. However, there are times when long-term segregation is "the only appropriate course of action," she said. The minister noted that solitary confinement is not used at BCC as the inmate placed in a special unit, separate from the general population, still maintains "continuous meaningful contact with staff, caseworkers, elders, program staff, other inmates and visitors." Ehaloak also commended corrections workers for their hard work and bravery as they sometimes endure assaults and abusive language in the workplace. A riot occurred at BCC on June 20, resulting in substantial damage to the facility and charges against 11 current or former prisoners. There was also a riot in October 2017 that caused serious damage to the correctional centre.
Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak gave some insight into segregation practices at Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) during a statement in the legislative assembly on Wednesday. NNSL file photo

There were 187 instances where prisoners were placed in administrative segregation in 2017-18, of which 39 occasions exceeded 15 days. Eighteen of those 39 were voluntary placements, 13 were because the inmate threatened the safety and security of the jail, four were for protective custody reasons and four were due to medical observation.

Of the 13 segregations for security purposes, “there was an extremely compelling reason why the inmate was segregated as long as they were. Segregation is not something we take lightly and it is not something we overuse. The data speaks for itself; in Nunavut long term placements in segregation are used sparingly,” Ehaloak said.

All segregation placements are reviewed by BCC staff at least weekly, and reintegration plans are created, Ehaloak added. However, there are times when long-term segregation is “the only appropriate course of action,” she said.

The minister noted that solitary confinement is not used at BCC as the inmate placed in a special unit, separate from the general population, still maintains “continuous meaningful contact with staff, caseworkers, elders, program staff, other inmates and visitors.”

Ehaloak also commended corrections workers for their hard work and bravery as they sometimes endure assaults and abusive language in the workplace.

A riot occurred at BCC on June 20, resulting in substantial damage to the facility and charges against 11 current or former prisoners. There was also a riot in October 2017 that caused serious damage to the correctional centre.