Recently I read an online newspaper article (Whitehorse Star, May 14) written about the call for an independent audit requested by Yukon’s NDP justice critic, Lois Moorcroft, into the use of solitary confinement in the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, in particular the nearly 28 months of isolation allegedly spent by Michael Nehass.
I don’t know Michael and am not a party to his behaviour at the centre. What disturbed me most was the online comments that followed the article and the “likes” and “dislikes” for each comment.
If this is a representation of Yukoners’ opinions, then we are living in a very mean spirited environment.
The comments were overly in favour of support of the violation of Michael’s human rights and overly in disfavour for any suggestion that the justice system should be treating him humanely.
This fuels the fire for our justice system to continue this practice, as this is what is perceived as what the public wants.
Suggestions from one contributor that Ms. Moorcroft invite Michael to live in her home are so ignorant. That is not what she is calling for.
If I might be permitted to read between the lines, she is simply stating that there is a need to evaluate Michael’s mental state and that prison and solitary confinement is not the place to be treating those suffering from mental illness.
Solitary confinement can only worsen a mental disorder. The Whitehorse Correctional Centre is not where Michael should be.
Did the Yukon not just rally in support of Clara Hughes and her Big Ride campaign in support of mental health? Can we not see the hypocrisy in all of this?
I don’t know if Michael suffers from a mental health issue. I do know that we don’t have a chance of rehabilitating him through this type and length of humiliation.
When has humiliation brought about positive change? When have acts of kindness brought out anything but positive changes?