Ontario’s horrid dignitaries need to be punished for the inhumane treatment of an unconvicted Thunder Bay inmate.
Adam Capay’s been housed in solitary confinement in a plexiglass cell 23 hours a day, with the lights always on, for the past four years.
Capay was initially incarcerated for petty crime before allegedly killing another inmate during a fight in 2012. That’s right, allegedly. He’s yet to stand trial or be convicted of the murder. And therefore, being unduly punished by a system aimed at justice — innocent until proven guilty.
Capay’s trial has been postponed three times; although, Capay needs to take some responsibility for that himself. First was for a psychiatric assessment, secondly when he challenged the jury roster, and thirdly when he fired his first lawyer.
Now, if in the end he’s not charged that will be four mentally and physically devastating years of his life that he will never be able to get back.
The United Nations states solitary confinement should not exceed 15 consecutive days. Capay has been subject to the treatment for more than 1,465 days.
So who’s at fault for such a notable breakdown of the system?
Solitary protocols dictate Bill Wheeler, superintendent of the Thunder Bay maximum security unit, must sign off on any extension of five days over the 15.
MPP for Sault Ste. Marie David Orazietti is supposed to have only learned of the situation in mid-October. As an elected official he should have immediately jumped to action. “That is a decision that is made by the individuals operating our jails. I will not take individual action on a specific circumstance.”
Deputy minister Matthew, who reports to Wheeler, has also failed Capay. What was it he cared more about than the legal, ethical treatment of another human being? What about the integrity of the system he’s meant to serve?
How is it these men, as well as others aware of the situation, are able to flout law and ethics for so long without repercussions? How are they meant to be trusted moving forward? They are representatives of justice and care for those in their charge, and to completely disregard what their careers are meant to protect is disgraceful.
According to the Government of Canada’s justice laws web page, under the torture heading, “Every official, or every person acting at the instigation or with the consent or acquiescence of an official who inflicts torture on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.”
“Torture means any act or omission by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person.” This includes relating to an act the person has committed or is suspected to have committed, but does not include acts or omissions arising from lawful sanctions.
I am a believer in capital punishment , for those who’s crimes are befitting; and for those who who have been properly tried by Canada’s justice system and would be found deserving of death.
But even capital punishment is above torture. In a swift, just death there is civility. Torture and the lengthy, extreme segregation of Capay is a tragedy. It’s a good thing one honourable staff member of the jail stepped forward or who knows how long he would have been left in a box, conveniently forgotten?
Amelia Naismith is the reporter for The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.