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Outed on trial

Thursday, December 5, 2019

North Fraser Pretrial Centre
Our investigation resulted in a change to better protect the personal health information of inmates.

While detained at North Fraser Pretrial Centre (NFPC), an HIV awareness outreach group visited with Steve on his living unit. This visit inadvertently revealed Steve as being HIV positive and he became the target of bullying and harassment by other inmates. As the conflicts escalated, Steve was placed in seclusion as a protective measure as concerns for his safety intensified.

Scared, angry and feeling like he was being treated unfairly, Steve reached out to us for help.

Our investigation focused on whether NFPC followed a fair process when they allowed the outreach workers to visit Steve on his unit and when they placed him in seclusion.

Through the course of our investigation, we learned that the practice of bringing HIV outreach workers to visit inmates on their living units was not unusual but the conflicts that Steve experienced had not occurred in the past. His case, however, highlighted the potential risks that this practice posed.

As a preventative measure, we asked NFPC to consider making some operational changes to decrease the risk of disclosing sensitive personal or medical information. NFPC agreed to implement changes and arranged for inmates to meet with outreach workers outside of living units in a private setting going forward.

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