N.B. woman argues 'dry celling' segregation for drugs inside body violates charter

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A New Brunswick woman is challenging a federal law that kept her confined in a segregation cell for 16 days on suspicion she had concealed drugs in her body.

Lisa Adams is in court today arguing the Correctional Service Canada practice of segregating and then monitoring prisoners for alleged concealment of drugs in their bodies violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Adams was accused of bringing drugs into Nova Institution for Women in Truro and concealing them in her vagina, and she was kept in segregation and observed, a practice referred to as "dry celling.''

The prisoner, who was serving time for drug offences, says that her mental health deteriorated during the segregation, and in the affidavit submitted to the court she says she had to arrange for a medical exam that showed she didn't have any drugs in her body.

Adams is challenging the validity of sections of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that permit the practice of "dry celling,'' arguing it is cruel and unusual punishment.
    
Federal lawyers have acknowledged Adams' confinement, which lasted from May 6 to 22, was unlawful in her specific case but they say a wider constitutional case can't proceed without expert witnesses being called.