Status of Women – Study on Indigenous Women Prisoners

Prisoners’ Legal Services executive director, Jennifer Metcalfe, appeared today before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women as part of their current study on Indigenous women prisoners. Click here to read her speaking notes.

Ms. Metcalfe called on government to engage with First Nations and Indigenous organizations for self-determination in the administration of correctional services, and to ensure that they are well resourced to provide full wrap-around support for women who have experienced multi-generational trauma.

Inside/Out: A Prison Memoir at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Join us at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival for Inside/Out, a memoir about life in the Canadian prison system. Inside/Out follows Patrick Keating’s journey as a child growing up in Montreal, getting into drugs and crime, entering the juvenile detention system at the age of 16, and serving a total of three sentences, one for bank robbery. Patrick’s honest and engaging delivery of his funny, sad, and stirring true story helps dismantle our ideas of what a ‘criminal’ looks like – and helps us better understand how language, race, and class… Read More

CSC Policy: Consideration of Aboriginal Social History

Correctional Service Canada is currently updating policy regarding the consideration of Aboriginal Social History in the administration of Indigenous prisoners’ sentences. PLS supports these initiatives and provided feedback on making this policy even stronger. You can read our comments here.

Prisoners’ Legal Services recommends reforms to British Columbia correctional laws.

Today, Prisoners’ Legal Services wrote to Premier John Horgan, Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth with a list of recommendations for legislative reforms that would improve the lives of BC provincial prisoners. You can read our list of recommendations here. We hope the new BC government will take this opportunity to reform prison law to be in compliance with the United Nations’ Mandela Rules and abolish the use of solitary confinement in BC which is considered to be torture or cruel treatment if it is used for more… Read More

Correctional Service Canada is failing to treat prisoners with drug addictions. Read our letter.


On July 17, 2017, Prisoners’ Legal Services wrote to Correctional Service Canada on behalf of 33 prisoners struggling with addiction who are unable to get appropriate medical treatment. The letter raises urgent concerns about woefully inadequate resources and the abrupt and inhumane discontinuation of medication for patients who do receive Opioid Substitution Therapy. As the letter explains, many clients say they are looking for help to stop using drugs and are afraid of overdosing, but that they are unable to get the help they need. Some have been waiting months—and some even… Read More

British Columbia is saving lives by giving drugs to opioid-addicted prisoners

British Columbia is dramatically expanding a key drug treatment program in prisons, winning praise from experts who say jails are important venues for reducing drug-related crime, overdoses, and transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C. Read the whole story at the National Observer.

Canada’s prison agency closes in on new solitary confinement rules

Canada’s prison agency is close to establishing new rules that would prohibit the placement of vulnerable people in solitary confinement and increase the time segregated inmates can spend out of cells. Read the whole story at the Globe and Mail

Supporting Prisoners’ Mental Health: Conference Agenda

Register at Eventbrite. The conference is approved for 7 mainpro+ credits for family physicians 2.75 hours of continuing professional development by the Law Society of BC. Full agenda is published here.

Registration open! Supporting Prisoners’ Mental Health

Conference Date: June 2, 2017 | Conference Location: Vancouver Convention Centre. Supporting Prisoners’ Mental Health: Best practices and alternatives to solitary confinement Register now! This day-long collaborative conference will provide a forum for medical professionals to discuss ways that they can comply with the UN Mandela Rules and advocate for their patients’ mental health in a correctional setting, navigating the waters between ethical and professional obligations and the security concerns of the prison environment. Confirmed speakers Dr. Gabor Maté, Best-selling author and retired medical doctor Dr. Craig Haney, Distinguished Professor of Psychology,… Read More

Supporting Prisoner’s Mental Health: A False Choice between Treatment and Security

BC Counsellors – April 21, 2017 JT suffers from frontal lobe deficits, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. He entered the federal prison system in 1995, where he was held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time. He began to self-harm in the form of head-banging as a coping mechanism.

The Correctional Service of Canada put JT under a Behaviour Management Protocol that required him to be locked in his cell if he engaged in head-banging, and to remain there for 24 hours without banging his head. If he did not stop banging his head, he would be given an order to stop and then force, including chemical agents, would be used against him. He was held in solitary confinement for hundreds of days…

Read the whole story at Also check out the conference we are hosting on June 2, 2017 on mental healthcare in prisons.