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MEDIA ADVISORY: Human Rights Hearing Begins for Formerly Incarcerated Two-Spirit Person Challenging Violence and Abuse in Federal Prisons

Press Release

WHAT: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Hearing for Nicholas Dinardo

WHEN: Monday February 12, 2024 to Thursday February 15, 2024

WHERE: Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Victoria, BC

VICTORIA, BC (Lək̓ʷəŋən traditional territories), – Beginning on Monday, February 12, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal will hear the case of Nick Dinardo (they/them), a formerly incarcerated Two-Spirit and transfeminine member of the Piapot First Nation. Mx. Dinardo will argue that Correctional Service Canada (“CSC”) discriminated against them on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, and disability during their time in federal prison.

While Mx. Dinardo was in prison, correctional officers used violent force against them over 45 times. These uses of force included breaking their arm, pepper spraying them when they self-harmed, and shooting them with a rubber bullet in the face. The video footage of officers breaking their arm, which was obtained through a Privacy Act request, is available here: https://prisonjustice.org/news-release-correctional-service-canada-finally-releases-video-footage-of-guards-excessive-force-against-a-person-in-prison/. Mx. Dinardo also spent extended periods isolated in the Structured Intervention Unit, for periods as long as 181 consecutive days.

Further, Mx. Dinardo faced significant harassment and abuse as a transfeminine person incarcerated in prisons designated for men. CSC repeatedly refused Mx. Dinardo’s requests to transfer to prisons designated for women. In their case, Mx. Dinardo is seeking systemic remedies to improve the lives of gender diverse people and people with disabilities in prison.

Jennifer Metcalfe, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, says: “Mx. Dinardo’s treatment in federal prison is a national disgrace. We are inspired by their courage to take on CSC and fight for change.”

Nicole Kief, Policy Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services, says: “No one should suffer the kinds of indignities and abuses that Mx. Dinardo experienced in prison. The injustices raised in this case are systemic, and CSC must change its policies to comply with the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

For details on how to observe the hearing (virtually or in person), please contact the CHRT:
https://www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/operations/upcoming-hearings-en.html#:~:text=How%20to%20contact%20us%20to,make%20sure%20it%20will%20proceed

Mx. Dinardo is represented by David Taylor, Christopher Trivisonno, and Maritza Woel of Conway Baxter Wilson LLP and Jessica Magonet of Prisoners’ Legal Services.

For further information: Media Contacts: Jennifer Metcalfe, jmetcalfe@pls-bc.ca, 604-636-0470; Nicole Kief, nkief@pls-bc.ca, 604-636-0470

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