International Canada (English Speaking)
Statement of Concern Regarding Federally Sentenced Women in Canada
Over the course of the last three years, Amnesty International Canada
(English Speaking) has expressed concern regarding the conditions of
incarceration for Federally Sentence Women (FSW) in Canada. Most recently,
we have taken our concerns to the United Nations Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women on the occasion of examination
of Canada’s fifth report by the Committee. Our brief to the Committee
entitled “Equal Rights”, put forward six recommendations regarding federally
sentence women which called on the Canadian government to ensure that:
made by the Creating Choices report1, Arbour Commission2and
the Correctional Investigator’s Annual Reports for 2000-2001 and
2001-2002, are implemented without delay, in cooperation with relevant
organizations and cultural communities.
A greater number of alternative community facilities and community
release programs are made available to minimum security women to
prevent them from being negatively impacted by the high degree of
security that will be implemented when maximum security FSW return
to regional facilities.
FSW have reliable access to female doctors, mental health
practitioners, and other program and service personnel, and also to
women-centred and culturally sensitive programs and services.
FSW with mental illness and disabilities are incarcerated in facilities
that enable safe interaction with others and are provided with women-centred
and culturally sensitive support services.
A security classification system, solely for women, be created in
consultation with experts in the field of female offenders, and the
CSC staff who work with FSW receive regular and intensive training on
issues of gender sensitivity, racism, and supporting women with
mental illnesses and disabilities.
In addition to these recommendations, Amnesty International Canada
(English Speaking) believes that their effective and efficient implementation
is dependent upon the creation, by the federal government, of an
independent oversight body. This body should also be responsible for
providing FSW with adequate redress mechanisms and remedies for
prisoners whose Charter and human rights have been violated.