A segregation cell door at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre during a media tour in 2012. An amended Yukon Corrections Act came into affect on June, which is intended regulate the use of segregation at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

WCC adopts new definition of segregation

Secure living unit dismantled

An amended Yukon Corrections Act has come into effect, which will better regulate the use of segregation at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC).

Al Lucier, assistant deputy minister of justice, and corrections director Andrea Monteiro spoke with the News on July 23 to go over what has changed.

Amendments to the act were introduced last October and passed in November. Lucier said the amended act came into effect on June 19.

Monteiro said the amendments tackle the use of segregation and separate confinement, including a new definition of segregation that falls more in line with the United Nations definition of the term.

“Rather than (defining segregation as) a place, a segregation unit, what we did is introduce a definition that outlines segregation as a condition of confinement,” Monteiro said.

Under the new rules for non-disciplinary placement in segregation, an inmate confined to his or her cell for 22 hours or more would be considered segregated. To be placed in such condition will now require additional external oversight and different rules to ensure procedural fairness.

The new legislation introduced an oversight review process.

Segregation can be used for up to 15 days at a time. In a period of 365 days, an inmate can only be in segregation for 60 total days.

Adjudicators from outside the prison will perform reviews. They will review consecutive-day and aggregate-day placements to ensure that the regulations are followed.

Should there be an incident at the WCC, an external hearing adjudicator will look over the situation and possibly could prescribe segregation.

Monteiro explained that the WCC’s secure living unit (SLU) has been dismantled and no longer exists as per the amended legislation. The SLU was the focus of a civil action between the WCC and Darryl Sheepway, who filed a petition over his placement in the unit.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale determined in his September 2019 decision that the WCC did not have the legal authority to create the unit in question.

“Justice Veale’s decision outlined that Yukon Corrections did not have the legal authority to create such a unit unless it was enshrined in the regulations or legislation,” Monteiro said.

With the amendments, she indicated that the WCC is now operating within the legal boundaries of what was determined by the Yukon Supreme Court.

The WCC is now taking an individualized care approach with inmates to meet their specific needs and inmates will have their own individualized care plans created for them.

Lucier said previously the WCC operated with the SLU, meaning there was a place to put inmates. The focus has shifted from a physical location in the prison to the conditions of someone’s confinement.

“You can find somebody who needs an increased amount of attention and perhaps that falls within restrictive confinement but that restrictive confinement doesn’t mean that individual is shipped off to a new unit,” Lucier said.

Monteiro clarified that segregation has not be abolished at WCC. She said it is an important management tool for a small select group of inmates. There are strict rules on when it can be used and for how long.

She added that these new definitions help keep a better number of how many inmates are incarcerated under segregation conditions. She explained that under the previous definitions, an inmate could have been in his or her cell for 22 hours or more but not counted as in segregations if the individual was not in the unit.

Now anyone confined into a cell of 22 hours a day will be considered in segregation.

With these amendments in place, she figures segregation will be used less. She said this practice has been barely used in the last year.

“Having segregations as part of the law in the territory is really just a safeguard for those very unique one off situations that might occur,” Monteiro said.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse Correctional CentreYukon justice department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read