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Spotlight on Solitary, November 2020

On November 16th, 2020, a coalition of groups invested in prisoner justice launched a 15-day spotlight on the ongoing practice of solitary confinement in Canada. This spotlight led up to the one-year anniversary of the supposed implementation of the Structured Intervention Units (SIUs) in federal Canadian prisons – an implementation that has received considerable public criticism over the failure of the Correctional Service of Canada to cooperate with the independent oversight committee, and a lack of meaningful change from the solitary confinement units they were intended to replace. While the federal government may have announced that solitary confinement has been abolished in Canada, this 15-day spotlight – coordinated by The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, The John Howard Society of Canada, Prisoners’ Legal Services, and the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University – brought to light all of the ways in which the practice of solitary confinement continues to persist in Canada, just by any other name: SIUs, Restrictive Movement Routines, Mental Health Monitoring, Medical Isolation, Lockdowns, and Dry Celling.

Over the 15-days, we hosted daily events and were joined by some of Canada’s most respected and recognized advocates, scholars, lawyers, and politicians – and featured the critical voices of
individuals with lived experiences of incarceration
and community groups.