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 Fernie introduces shipping container restrictions

Containers are prohibited on residential properties except in very specific instances

Outdoor facilities reopen in the Elk Valley

Select parks, outdoor playgrounds, and public washrooms reopen for public use

Elk Valley municipalities send out 2020 property taxes

2020 property tax payments, annual utility payments, and homeowner grant applications are due July 2

ERA seeks to enhance local wetlands

The ERA proposed a new project at the lastest Committee of the Whole meeting

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Most Read