The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is calling on the federal government to intervene in the case of Joey Toutsaint, a Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmate who has spent more than 2,000 days in segregations at various federal institutions.
CAP national chief Robert Bertrand addressed the issue on Thursday, saying progress was being made towards improving conditions and programming for Indigenous inmates. However, he also said urgent action is still needed to get Toutsaint transferred to the Regional Psychiatric Centre (RPC) in Saskatoon.
“Despite progress with Bill C-53 and the proposed measures that may address Indigenous offenders and their need for specific programming, CAP is calling on the government to implement an urgent resolution for Mr. Toutsaint and all other Indigenous offenders in segregation,” Bertrand said in a media release.
“Mr. Toutsaint’s treatment demonstrates that inadequate action has been taken to protect over-incarcerated Indigenous people, including those whose experiences are compounded by a lack of appropriate mental health services,” CAP vice-chief Kim Beaudin added.
CAP wants Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to support the injunction filed by B.C.-based Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) to have Toutsaint moved to the RPC for mental health treatment. Toutsaint has filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and his legal representatives worry his health won’t hold up long enough for the case to be heard.
Toutaint is originally from the Black Lake Denesuline Nation in Northern Saskatchewan. He had little contact with his birth father and became involved in gang life as a teenager following the death of his mother. He entered youth custody in North Battleford as a 16-year-old and is currently serving an indeterminate sentence after being declared a dangerous offender in 2014.