Published In

Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Subjects

prisoners; women prisoners

Abstract

The existing research into effective accountability and oversight of Canadian prisons has considered the situation of federally sentenced prisoners (that is, those serving sentences of two years or more) and has raised serious questions about their ability to access justice in the sense of having adequate and accessible means to ensure that their treatment and conditions of confinement are just and in compliance with the law. Relatively little is known about the state of oversight and legal review processes at the provincial level, where jail terms are short and prisoners’ rights litigation is rare. This paper attempts to begin filling that gap in knowledge by examining the situation faced by women imprisoned in provincial jails in Manitoba. The paper first surveys the existing international and domestic laws concerning prisoners rights and avenues for redress in Manitoba, before moving on to consider why and how those mechanisms are utilized or not, by listening to the voices of women who have been incarcerated recently at the Portage Correctional Centre. Finally, the paper considers what legislative or policy changes might be made to provide access to justice for provincial prisoners, drawing on recommendations and insights from the women themselves.

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