RCMP must fix women’s rights violations in Kamloops jail

Posted on

Following news of allegations of voyeuristic activities by male RCMP and civilian guards at the
RCMP lockup in Kamloops, the BCCLA is calling for improved conditions in the women’s cells
in the city, including basic things like female guards for female prisoners and access to
showers. The group says the conditions in the cells are discriminatory, as male prisoners have
access to these basic services and women don’t.

“When we were on our northern tour, we heard about abysmal conditions for women in RCMP
cells in Kamloops,” said David Eby, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “No showers, no visitors
other than lawyers, no toothbrushing for up to five days in RCMP cells. Men get daily showers,
family visits and visits from advocacy groups in a fully equipped facility. We were going to wait
for our final report to raise this issue, but given these new developments, we expect the RCMP
to act now to at least provide women equal access to services.”

The BCCLA says that during its visit in Kamloops this past month, local non-profit service
providers told the Association that women are regularly watched by men even while using the
washroom. The BCCLA also heard that service providers are routinely barred from bringing
women feminine hygiene supplies and new clothes for court. The service providers also told
the Association that because there is no women’s remand facility in the city, and that the
closest full remand facility for women is in Prince George or Surrey, women prisoners only get
access to showers one day per week.

“There is no excuse for having exclusively male guards guarding female prisoners, or that
women can’t shower or brush their teeth for five days, or that women can’t make themselves
presentable for court, or that men aren’t treated in the same way,” said Eby. “The RCMP
should have seen issues like this most recent one coming a mile away, and we hope they
make the general conditions for women in cells in Kamloops a priority in their current

David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997