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article imageToronto inmate placed in solitary confinement for having HIV

By Nicole Byerly     Jan 26, 2015 in Odd News
Toronto - An inmate at Toronto South Detention Centre is seeking $200,000 for a Human Rights Violation, alleging that he was placed into solitary confinement, and held for over 90 days, because he had HIV.
Jamie Simpson, 44, was transferred to Toronto's new superjail, the Toronto South Detention Centre, on May 20, 2014 after spending three months at the Toronto West Detention Centre in Rexdale. Simpson was to remain at the new superjail until his trial for charges of theft under $5,000, breaking and entering, mischief and breach of probation. In describing what lead to this arrest, Simpson stated, “I was homeless and I’m an addict, I was a drug addict," finding committing these property crimes to be a quick and familiar solution.
Having contracted HIV in 2003, Simpson had been open about having HIV. Having a long history of breaking the law starting at the age of 13, he had become very familiar with many prisoners throughout Toronto. He had spent much of his confinements in Toronto's Don Jail, which had closed in December 2013, resulting in many prisoners being transferred to Toronto South. Upon his arrival to the facility, Simpson was placed in a general population unit, B4C, where an inmate approached him and stated they were aware of him being 'sick' and they did not want him to be there with the rest of them.
Suddenly, Simpson was faced with a new atmosphere, one that was not at all familiar to him. Having spent so long in and out of prison, the inmates he had come in contact with never seemed to have an issue with his health condition. This time was very different. After the inmate confronted him, a group of eight to 10 inmates joined him in speaking with the correctional officers that were on duty. After a 30-minute discussion, Simpson alleges he was approached by a Sergeant who informed him that he would have to be placed into solitary confinement for the night until they figured out where he was going to be placed. That one night turned into over 75 nights Mr. Simpson remained in solitary confinement. This confinement ultimately lead to the filing of a Human Rights Violation complaint, which was filed January 7, with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario alleging he was held in solitary confinement because of his health condition.
According to Simpson, the solitary unity at Toronto South was filled with inmates who had medical issues and problems with mental illness. His complaint depicts a state of "deplorable and filthy conditions" where he spent up to 24 hours a day locked up, recalling a time when another inmate smeared feces into the ventilation system, which caused the smell to spread throughout each cell. Another inmate threw feces throughout the common areas and landing some on the door to Simpson's cell.
Cruelty of confinement poster
Cruelty of confinement poster
He also alleges that several instances occurred where he was denied access to showers, and basic hygiene rights, which ultimately led to a staph infection in his upper lip. The infection swelled to the size of a golf ball, prompting Simpson to request a transfer to the medical unit. He was denied several times before finally being able to go near the end of September, when his mother phoned into the jail and requested a transfer so her son could be treated. After spending a week in the hospital, Simpson was transferred back to Ontario to serve the remainder of his sentence, eight days, where he remained in solitary confinement.
According to Lauren Callighen, press secretary to Minister Yasir Naqvi, Ministry regulations require, for an inmate who is sentenced to more than 30 days in solitary confinement, the jail superintendent must report the reasons to the Correctional Services minister. Naqvi's spokeswomen would not comment as to whether or not he knew about Simpson's case in particular, and the jail clerk refuse to release information regarding his confinement to Simpson's lawyers.
More about HIV, Human Rights, Human rights violation, Toronto, toronto jail
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