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Article in The Coast questions use of solitary confinement

An article in The Coast is calling into question the use of solitary confinement in Nova Scotia’s prisons.

City editor Jacob Boon called the practice ‘torture’.

“Humans are social creatures, and it’s a form of torture to take that away and to put someone in a tiny cell with the lights on 24-hours a day as they were until recently,” said Boon.  “It severely affects someone for the rest of their life.”

Boon told News 95.7 studies have shown the use of solitary confinement can have a permanent effect on a prisoners’ mental health.

“The depression, the anger, the psychological effect,” he said.  “It can have permanent psychological affect after 15-days.”

Boon got back a freedom of information request back that said solitary confinement had been used over 8,500 times since 2009 in Nova Scotia’s prisons, 34 prisoners were held for over 15-days.

Nova Scotia’s justice minister Lena Metlege Diab said solitary confinement is used for the safety of the individual involved, as well as staff and other prisoners.

“There’s policies in place at the facilities as to when and how they segregate people,” said Metlege Diab.

Metlege Diab added the practice is only implemented as a last resort.