Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC) officials have replied to a petition by an inmate alleging she’s being kept in conditions mirroring separate confinement, arguing that her placement isn’t nearly as restrictive as claimed.
WCC acting superintendent Tyler Murray and director of corrections Andrea Monteiro, in a response filed to the Yukon Supreme Court on Oct. 21, asked for Charabelle Silverfox’s petition to be dismissed.
Silverfox filed her petition in late September, alleging that she’s been kept separate from the jail’s general population on what’s known as the third tier since July without adequate justification. The petition also claims that Silverfox’s placement on the tier is essentially the same as separate confinement, but without any of the legal protections afforded to inmates, such as access to a review panel, that are officially designated as being separately confined.
Silverfox is asking the court to declare that she’s being kept in “non-disciplinary segregation or restrictive confinement,” and to order that she be returned to general population.
The WCC’s reply, however, argues that the jail has good reason to keep her in third tier, and has been regularly reviewing her placement while offering her as many freedoms as possible.
Silverfox, the response says, has assaulted other inmates and corrections officers on four occasions since entering the jail in May 2019 after being arrested on charges of first-degree murder, forcible confinement and indignity to human remains. She’s also threatened corrections officers, the response says, and some inmates have said they feel unsafe around her.
“WCC has undertaken numerous interventions to prevent Ms. Silverfox from being violent,” the response says. “This included placing Ms. Silverfox on rotating lockdowns, providing Ms. Silverfox with access to counselling and other programming, having two corrections officers with her while she was outside her cell, and attempting mediation with inmates with whom she had conflict.”
Silverfox was given the opportunity respond to her initial designation as being in segregation on July 15, her change in designation to “non-disciplinary restrictive confinement” the day after and was taken off that designation on July 17 to allow her more time outside of her cell, though she remained on Third Tier.
She’s had more than six hours of unlock time every day since July 17 with the exception of Aug. 16, the response continues, and during unlock, is able to visit with her sister and other inmates as well as phone family and friends and have visits.
She also takes part in therapeutic programming and counselling, sees medical staff regularly and “has the ability to take part in some recreational activities.”
“Silverfox’s placement on the third tier is reviewed regularly to determine the appropriateness of her placement, to ensure that she has as much social interaction as possible and has access to programming and recreational activities, and to monitor her mental health,” the response says.
“… In any case, Ms. Silverfox’s placement on the third tier of the Women’s Unit does not constitute segregation or restrictive confinement.
“The respondent complied with all requirements of procedural fairness in placing Ms. Silverfox on third tier.”
The response asks that even if the court finds that Silverfox is being held in segregation or restrictive confinement that it not order she be returned to general population, but direct that the matter be reviewed by the panel as set out in the Corrections Act and regulations.
The petition has not yet been heard in court.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org