A class action lawsuit is being filed alleging the federal government is failing to provide adequate care to mentally ill prisoners.
They claim prison workers are relying far too heavily on solitary confinement as a way to deal with them.
The case is being represented by law firm firm Koskie Minsky. Lawyer James Sayce says, “Prisoners in federal institutions who suffer serious mental illness are not being given the treatment they are statutorily entitled to.”
If certified by the court, the case would pit the Attorney General of Canada against federal inmates diagnosed with mental illness between 1992- present.
The lawsuit is seeking at least $600 million in damages and estimates hundreds of mentally ill prisoners could be part of the action, should it become certified.
A statement from the claim, which was filed on Friday, alleges that solitary confinement is used almost as a crutch to “contain and manage” mentally ill prisoners,” calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.”
None of the allegations in the case have been proven in court.
A spokesperson with Correctional Service Canada says they are reviewing the claims.