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Constitutional challenge to Canada's jail segregation laws begins

A solitary confinement cell is shown in a handout photo from the Office of the Correctional Investigator. A lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada says solitary confinement violates the charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO- Office of the Correctional Investigator MANDATORY CREDIT

A constitutional challenge to Canada’s segregation laws is expected to begin in a Toronto courthouse Monday morning.

At issue is the practice known as administrative segregation that civil liberties groups argue can amount to indefinite solitary confinement.

In July, an Ontario court rejected the federal government’s attempt to delay the challenge because parliament had proposed legislation to address the issues.

Two years ago, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies launched the constitutional challenge.

The two say the practice is harmful, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and means offenders are effectively punished more than once for the same crime.

The hearing is expected to last all week.


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