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

Terrace dental clinic say no staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 22 days after dental conference

Five members of the office attended the Pacific Dental Conference from March 5-7

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read