Coronavirus: Prisoner, human rights groups file lawsuit over federal inmates’ safety

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By Staff The Canadian Press

Posted May 12, 2020 10:58 am

Updated May 12, 2020 11:00 am

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2:31Calls for faster action to stop COVID-19 spread in prisons

With more than 190 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in correctional facilities across Canada, and the death of an inmate, calls are multiplying for the federal government to be more proactive in stopping the virus’s spread behind bars. Abigail Bimman reports.

A prisoner and several human rights organizations have filed a constitutional challenge against the federal government over the safety of inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Johnston and the organizations that include the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Prison Law Association are trying to compel the government to take proactive steps to ensure prisoners’ safety.

They say they’d like to see the timely release of federal prisoners, especially for older inmates or those who have underlying health conditions.

The suit alleges Correctional Service Canada cannot keep prisoners safe because it cannot ensure the proper physical distancing measures without reducing the prison population.

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