B.C. yet to comply with international standards at correctional centres: report

Nelson Mandela Rules set of standards for inspecting B.C.’s 10 prisons, psychiatric centres

B.C.’s Ombudsperson says the government has yet to implement United Nation standards for treatment of prisoners while inspecting provincial correctional centres, two years after its initial probe.

In an update on the investigation Thursday, Jay Chalke said the province has yet to adopt a set of guidelines known internationally as the Nelson Mandela Rules.

These rules allow independent inspectors full access to information relevant to inspections in B.C.’s 10 correctional centres, including the ability to interview inmates confidentially, issue written reports and recommendations and receive transparent responses.

“The proper inspection of our correctional centres is critical for a variety of reasons,” Chalke said in a news release. “It’s one key way to ensure the basic human rights of inmates are being respected. Regular inspections also help ensure rigorous health and safety standards are in place and are being regularly monitored, both for inmates and staff.”

The initial report released in June 2016 pointed to seven key recommendations, including inspectors undergoing new training courses, creating a set-out policy on the reason for inspections and including at least one member who is independent of the branch on each inspection team.

Since then, the province has adopted six of the seven proposed changes. The seventh recommendation, the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Rules, has yet to be completed.

“While I am generally satisfied with the progress that has been made to ensure that correctional centres are being inspected more adequately now, compared to the previous decade, B.C. must start complying with the applicable international standard,” Chalke said.

“Two years ago government committed to do so, now it’s time to live up to that commitment.”

Black Press Media has reached out to B.C.’s Attorney General for comment.

UNDER INSPECTION: The Hiatus in BC Correctional Centre Inspections by Ashley Wadhwani on Scribd


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