Documents show a quarter of solitary confinements in N.S. used for medical issues or protection

Freedom of information documents show close to a quarter of recent solitary confinements in Nova Scotia's jails have been due to medical issues or protection from other inmates.

The figures, for the period of February to June of this year, may include multiple instances of the same offender returning to solitary.

For the first time, the Corrections Service is providing figures that break down the solitary confinement by type.

About 80 confinements out of 600 provided, or about 13 per cent, were for medical reasons, and another 10 per cent were for ``protection of the offender.''

The director of corrections, Sean Kelly, says most segregation for medical reasons were in health units, though some are in regular solitary cells.

Current rules only require these prisoners receive 30 minutes of fresh air, whether they're in solitary for disciplinary reasons or other reasons.

Kelly says the corrections service is working towards providing more programming opportunities for these inmates, including opportunities to interact with other offenders.