Lawsuit alleges a disabled inmate forced to sleep on the floor for 21 days

  • October 4, 2021
  • Daniel Mulroy
  • Comments Off on Lawsuit alleges a disabled inmate forced to sleep on the floor for 21 days

Kitten Keyes is an inmate at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario. Keyes is a person with disabilities who uses a wheelchair and states that she was forced to sleep on the floor of her cell for 21 straight days because her cell was not accessible. Keyes is now suing the Attorney General of Canada for $10 million.

Keyes states that the cell in which she was held for 3 weeks was not wheelchair accessible and had no safety bars to assist with her mobility. As a result, her wheelchair (which was issued by the Grand Valley Institution for Women) could not reach her bed and she was forced to sleep on the floor. She was also left without assistance to use the toilet.

Keyes has since been moved to an accessible cell where she is able to sleep in a bed, but she still faces daily obstacles due to the prison’s lack of accessibility.

Keyes stated that she accepts her prison sentence and is not looking for special treatment but stated: “I want to be able to do my time like any other woman in here. This is important. Like, I’m not going to be the only one here in a wheelchair,” she said. “I’m not asking for anything more than what I’m entitled to, and that’s to be in a wheelchair-accessible environment.”

In her statement of claim which was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Keyes is seeking:

  • $5 million in general damages;
  • $2.5 million for a breach of section 12 of the Charter, for cruel and unusual punishment; and
  • $2.5 for a breach of Section 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Section 15 of the Convention, which Canada is a signatory to, states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Bonnie Brayton, the national executive director of the Disabled Women’s Network of Canada stated to the CBC: “We like to believe we have strong commitments to human rights in this country, but we’ve got a strong commitment to some people’s rights and a complete disconnect to others, including the rights of people in prisons.”

You can read the full CBC article here (link).

Bakerlaw has assisted a number of clients address accessibility issues and discrimination. To learn about our work here (link).

Tags: ,