A woman serving a six-year prison term in Abbotsford has filed a notice of civil claim against the attorney general of Canada, saying she is experiencing “psychological deterioration” due to extended periods in segregation.
BobbyLee Worm, 24, is an inmate at Fraser Valley Institution, a women’s prison in Abbotsford. She is a first-time offender serving a sentence which began in June 2007 for offences that include robbery.
Her sentence is scheduled to end in October 2012.
She has served the majority of her time in segregation – after fights with other prisoners – and is suffering the “long-term consequences,” the claim states.
“While in segregation, Ms. Worm can be confined to her cell, deprived of meaningful human contact, for up to 23 hours a day, for months at a time.”
The claim states she has shown “significant signs of psychological deterioration” and is unable to access treatment for pre-existing conditions – depression and post-traumatic stress disorder that she suffered due to an abusive childhood.
The claim is being supported by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
The association says that prisoners who are subjected to extended periods of isolation can suffer from effects that include: psychosis, paranoia, rage, major depression and suicidal behaviour.
The claim states that prison administrators unlawfully placed Worm in segregation and have been negligent in her care, and counselling services provided to her have been “delayed and inadequate.”
She is seeking costs, damages and a declaration that her Charter rights have been breached.