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By Pierre Hawkins
Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan
PBLS is proud to announce the successful launch of our Inmates Legal Assistance Panel Program. This program, launched in late 2017 and inspired by similar work done at CLASSIC, provides legal advice and representation to inmates facing institutional legal issues.
The administration of justice within correctional institutions has recently proven to be a hot button topic. While media reports often focus on the use of segregation in prisons, the range of legal issues and potential sanctions in the institutional setting are broad. Inmates frequently face legal issues including administrative charges, segregation review hearings, transfer applications, and applications for access to medication and medical services. The handling of these legal issues can have an impact on an inmate’s quality of life, contact with family, privileges, and earned remission. As a result, these issues can have a profound impact on an inmate’s rehabilitation.
The pervasiveness of addiction and mental health issues within prisons underscores the importance of the proper handling of institutional legal issues. In such a controlled setting, the principles of administrative law risk falling by the wayside. Wherever vulnerable people face decision-making bodies, adequate legal representation is important to ensure that justice is both done and seen to be done. Nowhere is this truer than in prisons.
PBLS would like to thank its volunteers Thomas Hynes, Kara Moen, and Daniel Leblanc for their work on behalf of inmates since the launch of the program. If you are interested in volunteering for this panel, whether you are a current PBLS volunteer or not, please contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.