Court decision has been handed down regarding inmates human rights case. (Contributed)

BC Corrections told to reconsider transfer of transgender inmate to male prison

Moved out of Maple Ridge woman’s prison after incident

A B.C. Supreme Court justice has rejected a bid by a transgender inmate to be returned from a male prison back to the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge.

But the court has ruled that BC Corrections should at least give the decision a second look.

Haedyn Patterson has been in prison since 2014, awaiting extradition to the U.S., and was transferred out of Alouette on Aug. 14 following a “violent incident,” according to a ruling issued Dec. 10 from New Westminster Supreme Court.

Patterson initially had been jailed in Surrey Pretrial Services Centre, but, in September 2018, was transferred to Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, after she told B.C. Corrections she identified as female.

Both Alouette correctional centre and Surrey Pretrial have the capacity to house transgender inmates.

After being moved back to Surrey Pretrial in August, Patterson sought to have the transfer reconsidered and also asked to be transferred to Okanagan Correctional Centre, which houses both men and women.

Justice J. Iyer found some justification in the inmate’s complaints, noting that BC Corrections didn’t provide a written explanation for its decision to transfer Patterson to Surrey – until almost two months after the move.

That, in turn, prevented Patterson from later properly applying for reconsideration of that decision, according to the judgment.

The judge said it was procedurally unfair for Patterson not to receive the written reasons for her transfer until two months after the move.

“Procedural fairness required that Ms. Patterson be provided with written reasons for the transfer decision promptly, or if not, with an explanation for any delay,” the judge wrote.

“‘As soon as practicable’ does not mean whenever correctional authorities choose,” said the judge.

The judge noted that the delay affected Patterson’s ability to make a case for “reconsideration” of her transfer.

Patterson, on Sept. 25, formally requested reconsideration of the decision to send her to Surrey, writing that she was concerned about being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted in the male institution.

She also addressed the conduct that led to the transfer, “acknowledging her responsibility for it and committing to change her behaviour,” said the judgment.

However, the judge points out that BC Corrections decided against reconsideration of the transfer without getting a copy of Patterson’s Oct. 12 submission, in which she disputes BC Corrections’ claim that she was not taking transgender medication.

She had filed the Oct. 12 submission only after finally receiving the reasons for her move.

READ MORE: Transgender inmate at Maple Ridge women’s prison files discrimination complaint

Patterson said she only paused that medication on the advice of a specialist and that she had resumed taking it and invited BC Corrections to check with her doctor.

“The compound effect of these errors is that the reconsideration decision was procedurally unfair,” the judge wrote.

She concluded that while the decision to move Patterson to Surrey was reasonable, it was part of the actual decision-making process that wasn’t fair.

READ MORE: Alouette women’s prison adds capacity

She told BC Corrections to again reconsider the transfer.

BC Corrections said in a statement Monday that it is reviewing the ruling.

“No decision about an appeal or other courses of action have been made at this time.”



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Terrace’s public consultation budget meeting sees one-person turnout

75 per cent of tax increase earmarked for new city staff

Expect delays on Nisga’a Highway 113

Avalanche control work is planned between Laxgalts’ap and Gingolx

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read