OTTAWA — The federal government has rejected the Ashley Smith inquest’s recommendation to reduce the use of “administrative segregation” for inmates.
A 28-page response to the inquest’s recommendations, released Thursday afternoon, stated the government is “unable to fully support” the call to limit the use of segregation.
“To be clear, the term solitary confinement is not accurate or applicable within the Canadian federal correctional system,” the response reads.
“There are various aspects of the jury recommendations . . . that the government is unable to fully support without causing undue risk to the safe management of the federal correctional system.”
Smith died on Oct. 19, 2007 at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, after asphyxiating herself in her segregated cell.
Last year, a jury in the resulting coroner’s inquest determined her death was a homicide. A review from federal corrections watchdog Howard Sapers’ office found that corrections staff failed to respond to Smith’s urgent medical needs, and that inaction cost Smith her life.
On Thursday, Sapers said the decision to continue with the practice of administrative segregation was a “disappointment.”
“There is some substance in this response. On balance, I expected more,” Sapers said.
Sapers has called on the government to ban the use of segregation for mentally-ill offenders.