Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present petition e-482, a petition organized by my friend, who is now a senator, Kim Pate, of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, in both official languages. This petition calls upon the Government of Canada to review and remedy all cases of women prisoners held in administrative segregation over the past five years.
I believe this is a very important petition to bring forward because of some undeniable facts: first, women with mental health issues are still being held in administrative segregation at alarming rates, despite the findings of the 2007 Ashley Smith inquest; second, indigenous women and women with debilitating mental health issues are the fastest growing prison population and the groups most affected with being harmed or dying in segregation; third, many international and national organizations, including the United Nations, have called upon the government to remedy the excessive use of solitary confinement in our prisons; and finally, in a 2011 report, Juan Mendez, a UN special rapporteur on torture, concluded that solitary confinement can constitute torture. In his opinion, prolonged solitary confinement in excess of 15 days should be subject to an absolute prohibition.
It is in this context that I present this important petition this morning.