News / Toronto

Ontario moves to cut time spent by inmates in segregation by half

The government is cutting time spent in segregation in half, from 30 days to 15 days, and saying the disciplinary measure will only be used as a 'last resort.'

David Orazietti, minister of community safety, on Monday announced new rules regarding the use of segregation.

Torstar News Service

David Orazietti, minister of community safety, on Monday announced new rules regarding the use of segregation.

The Ontario government is cutting the number of days in a row inmates can spend in segregation in half — from 30 to 15 — and saying the disciplinary measure is only to be used as a “last resort.”

David Orazietti, the province’s minister of community safety and correctional services, announced the changes Monday — effective immediately — while also saying the government will hire a third party to help it overhaul the use of placing inmates in isolation as a disciplinary measure.

The government has already conducted its own review, with the goal of reducing the number of inmates in segregation while offering alternatives to the practice.

The independent reviewer will conduct further consultations and is to report back next spring.

But starting today, Orazietti told reporters segregation will “only be used under the least restrictive conditions available while still maintaining inmate and staff safety” and a “weekly segregation review committee” is to be in place at each of the province’s 26 adult correctional institutions.

Jennifer French, the NDP’s critic for community safety and correctional services, told reporters after the announcement that there’s a crisis in corrections that the government is not addressing, including the mental health needs of inmates.

And for inmates who are in what’s called “administrative segregation” for long periods of time, they need supports that “staff have been calling for real changes and this government is not bringing that forward today.”

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