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Michael Nehass, Indigenous inmate who spent years in solitary confinement, to be transferred to B.C. hospital

September 12, 2017

Michael Nehass, who started believing a technological device had been implanted in his torso during his six years at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, will arrive at the Hillside Centre in Kamloops on Sept. 18, a judge ordered Tuesday.

A First Nations man whose criminal charges were stayed by the Whitehorse Crown prosecutors' office after he spent much of his period of incarceration in solitary confinement will be transferred next week from a forensic psychiatric facility in Ontario to a mental-health hospital in British Columbia.

Michael Nehass, who started believing a technological device had been implanted in his torso during his six years at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, will arrive at the Hillside Centre in Kamloops on Sept. 18, a judge ordered Tuesday. "I have always said that it's proper mental-health care for Mr. Nehass that's needed, not the criminalization of mental illness," Mr. Nehass's lawyer, Anik Morrow, told reporters outside the courthouse on Tuesday. "And that's what was happening here, the criminalization of mental illness."

The case has highlighted several issues plaguing the correctional system, including the overrepresentation of First Nations in prisons, the mental-health risks linked to extended periods in isolation and the challenges in accessing treatment.

The 33-year-old, who is a member of the Tahltan First Nation, faced five charges dating back to an alleged assault in 2011. He was convicted in 2015, but in February, a judge declared a mistrial after determining he was unfit to participate in his own sentencing.

Read more on the Globe and Mail's website.

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