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location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 4 / Chapter 1 Administrative Segregation: The Litmus Test of Legitimacy / Administrative Segregation in the 1980s

Administrative Segregation in the 1980s

Despite the recommendations of the House of Commons Sub-committee, the Service did not conduct an internal two-year evaluation of the new segregation review process after two years. However, as part of my 1983 study of the disciplinary process at Matsqui and Kent Institutions, I reviewed a series of cases of prisoners who had been placed in administrative segregation. In this way, I hoped to assess whether the "new, reformed" process had been successful in ensuring that segregation decisions were made fairly and that prisoners were not subject to inhumane and degrading conditions. During this pre-1992 period, the power to place a prisoner in administrative segregation continued to rest in the broadly worded authority of the Penitentiary Service Regulations, although Commissionerís Directives now provided a much more detailed decision-making structure. Written reasons had to be given within twenty-four hours of a prisonerís placement in segregation and the placement confirmed by the warden on the following working day; a hearing before a Segregation Review Board consisting of an assistant warden and two other staff members had to take place within three days of the prisonerís segregation; a weekly review by the Board was required for the first two months of segregation and a monthly review thereafter. In addition, monthly reviews were required by Regional Headquarters for prisoners segregated for more than sixty days and by National Headquarters for prisoners segregated for more than ninety days. The prisoner was given the right to appear before the Review Board at his initial review and at the subsequent monthly reviews. After spending thirty days in segregation, he was, subject to his co-operation, to be given a psychological assessment. It is within this procedural context that the following two case studies are set.

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