Interventions in the House of Commons
 
 
 
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the research on the phenomenon of solitary confinement is quite clear that solitary confinement exacerbates mental illness problems. It makes what we call psychiatric disorders much worse. It does that through the conditions under which people are held. Quite often, in situations like that of Mr. Capay, in Ontario, people are held in conditions where the lights are always on so they cannot sleep. Not only are they denied basic human contact, they are held in conditions that are actually labelled by the courts as being inhumane.
The other part of this is that while people are in this kind of segregation, they cannot access mental health supports. Those who need the help the most are most often those who are in segregation and therefore cannot get treatment.
I am not disputing that there needs to be some kind of regime for the most difficult offenders. Quite often when they are suffering from mental health and addiction issues, they are not behaving rationally. We have to have some kind of system, but it has to respect their right to get treatment, to get rehabilitation and to be treated as human beings.
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