FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
John Howard Society Saskatchewan Applauds Precedent Setting Ruling
On Monday, a decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal affirmed that the rights of prisoners to due process must be maintained within the Province’s correctional facilities.
“If you are going to take away rights – you had better do it in a way that is procedurally fair,” says Nicholas Blenkinsop, counsel for Jamie Myles Mercredi. Mercredi opposed his placement at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre when placed a lower-risk unit that resulted in more cell time.
This sets a precedent in the Province, making it clear that procedural fairness applies to unit placement decisions, which are not referenced in the Correctional Services Act or Regulations.
“The decision says, ‘we aren’t going to tell you what the procedures need to be, but we looked at it – and there needs to be something in place,’ which I think is a very reasonable approach,” says Blenkinsop.
The John Howard Society of Saskatchewan advocates for safer communities and as a result more humane and just practices for those at risk or involved in the criminal justice system. The organization is grateful to see this decision.
“Procedural fairness as it relates to unit placement is an issue that affects every inmate in Saskatchewan,” says JHSS CEO, Shawn Fraser. “This is the first decision of its kind and will have an impact on how prisoners are placed going forward. We hope that it can be applied to other cases that deal with relative loss of liberties behind bars. It also helps the bigger picture: when we have peace and order in our prisons, everyone benefits.”
Communications and Administrations Officer
John Howard Society of Saskatchewan
Legal counsel, CLASSIC Law