Prison Watchdog Says Half of Jail Suicides Are in Segregation, Urges Action

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
September 10, 2014 Updated: September 10, 2014

OTTAWA—The federal prison watchdog says Corrections Canada must stop isolating mentally ill, suicidal or self-harming prisoners, saying inmates in segregation units are all too easily able to kill themselves.

In a report released on World Suicide Prevention Day, Howard Sapers says almost half of the suicides reviewed by his Office of the Correctional Investigator took place in segregation cells supposedly under close monitoring.

Sapers’ office examined 30 suicides in federal penitentiaries between April 2011 and March 2014.

Twenty-seven of those prisoners hanged themselves; 14 of them while they were in solitary confinement.

Sapers rapped Correctional Service Canada for using long-term segregation to deal with mentally ill prisoners, calling the practice unsafe and urging that it be prohibited.

He also expressed dismay that the prisoners were able to kill themselves in high-surveillance areas.