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Transfers To The Regional Treatment Centre

Beginning on April 25th, the CSC began considering the necessity of transferring the six women directly involved in the April 22nd incident to another institution to defuse the situation. The decision ultimately made was to transfer them to the Regional Treatment Centre of Kingston Penitentiary, a male institution, which houses many sex offenders and violent offenders undergoing treatment. That transfer was effected on May 6. On May 11, two of the prisoners filed notice of applications for habeas corpus requiring their return to the Prison for Women on the basis that their detention in the Regional Treatment Centre was illegal. Two months later, on July 11, the court while finding that the original transfer did not contravene the prisonersí rights, held that continued incarceration against their will in a male penitentiary was not justified. The court directed the return of the women to the Prison for Women. That return did not take place for several days because the CSC did not wish to move all the women as a group and also decided that physical alterations should be made to the Segregation Unit -- in the form of installation of treadplate to the open barred cells and two cameras inside each cell. Madam Justice Arbour made these findings regarding the events around the transfer:

The facts surrounding transfer also raised questions about the commitment of the CSC to the principles of "openness," "integrity," and "accountability" expressed in its Mission Statement . . . The habeas corpus order was not complied with immediately, and in my opinion, direction should have been sought by the court if compliance was not to be immediate. Moreover, in its response to the habeas corpus application, the Correctional Service allowed to be placed before the court sworn evidence that was inaccurate and misleading. In these interactions with the courts, the Correctional Service fell short of the standard that is expected of every litigant, let alone of a branch of the administration of criminal justice, which is charged with individual liberty.

The issues raised with respect to the Servicesí interactions with the courts is not only a question of accountability or openness. It reveals the same kind of absence of rigor in fulfilling its legal obligations that was disclosed throughout this inquiry. (Arbour at 105)

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