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

Bish Creek fire removed from Province’s Wildfire Dashboard

Unclear when investigation into fire’s cause will be completed

District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

Cameras and convoys: Graduation in the age of COVID-19

Schools in Terrace and Kitimat are thinking outside the box to give students a graduation ceremony

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Most Read