May v Ferndale Institution, 2003 BCCA 536

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Get this out of WESTLAW UdeM:

May v Ferndale Institution, 2003 BCCA 536 at para 21 (available on WL Can) citing Spindler, supra note 22.

There’s also this thing in canlii:


May v. Ferndale Institution

2001 BCSC 1335, [2001] B.C.J. No.1939 (B.C.S.C.)

M and four other inmates challenged their involuntary transfers
from minimum to medium security by way of applications for relief in the nature of habeas corpus with certiorari in aid. Each inmate was serving a sentence for either murder or manslaughter. The transfers were initiated as a result of a security classification review, called for by Regional Headquarters, of all offenders in minimum security serving a life sentence who had not completed a violent offender program. The review included the utilization of tools such as the CJIL/Computerized Reclassification Scale and the Offender Security Classification, which according to the CSC provides a rationale in the three areas of institutional adjustment, escape risk and public safety concern. The inmate applicants argued that their right to procedural fairness was breached by non-disclosure of the scoring matrix for the CJIL model. Furthermore, it was their submission that it was only a change in general policy – a direction from headquarters to review the security classifications of offenders at Ferndale serving a life sentence utilizing the CJIL/Computerized Reclassification Scale and the Offender Security Classification – that prompted their transfers. In response to these arguments, the Court dealt with two issues: 1) Whether relief in the nature of habeas corpus is available in the circumstances from a provincial superior court; and 2) If it is, whether each of the applicants has made out a case for that relief?

Bauman J. began with the threshold question of whether a provincial superior court had jurisdiction to review a federal prisoner’s involuntary transfer on an application for habeas corpus. Referring to R. v. Miller, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 613, 23 C.C.C. (3d) 97 (S.C.C.), Bauman J. asserted that the court was authorized to review the validity of the transfer decisions in this situation because the applicants put their case on the basis of an alleged absence or excess of jurisdiction, rather than a challenge inquiring into the merits of the case. The alleged lack of jurisdiction here centred upon the applicant’s submission that the CSC had simply applied an arbitrary new policy to the applicants without considering the individual merits of their cases as mandated by ss28 and 29 of the CCRA, and the Regulations. Having established that the Court had jurisdiction to review the decision by way of a habeas corpus application, Bauman J. turned to consider the applicants’ arguments.

The Court highlighted that the CSC indicated that the scoring matrix of the CJIL model was not available and thus not capable of being disclosed.

In regards to the question of whether the transfers were motivated solely by the arbitrary application of a general policy, Bauman J. held that it was true that each of the decisions resulted from a review apparently prompted by a general instruction from headquarters, but that, in itself, is not objectionable so long as there has been a true review of each inmate’s case in light of the statutory criteria. In this case, a review of each file indicated that the responsible officials considered each case on an individual basis and upon its own singular merits. The decisions in each case were reasoned and based upon specific concerns with each inmate.

The petitions were dismissed.


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