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Dubé says Ontario should develop a long-term plan for inmates with developmental, behavioural and mental-health challenges, but, in the short term, inmates in segregation should be assessed by a mental health provider every 24 hours.
The ombudsman’s office has received 557 complaints about segregation in provincial correctional facilities in the past three years, and in one case someone was in segregation for more than three years.
The ombudsman says the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services does not routinely keep track of how many inmates are in segregation, but it recently found that the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre and the Central East Correctional Centre had 1,677 segregation admissions over five months last year.
Dubé says, “it is difficult to understand the ministry’s policy position that segregation is a last resort, carefully controlled and monitored,” when, instead, it seems to be a tool used to “effectively punish the most difficult and vulnerable inmates.”