Release Man Held in Solitary Confinement for Four Years Without Trial

Target: Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi

Goal: Secure the release Adam Capay and commute charges against him based on his four-year wait for a trial, and end the practice of long-term solitary confinement.

Adam Capay, 23, has spent the last four years of his life in solitary confinement at the Thunder Bay, Ontario District Jail. He spends 23 hours a day in a plexiglass cell in a windowless cell block with an hour out of his cell each day for a shower and, occasionally, a phone call. Though he is incarcerated, Adam Capay has not been convicted of any crime.

Arrested at the age of 19 for a minor crime, Capay, who is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation, was sent to jail. While in jail he was allegedly involved in an altercation with another detainee which resulted in that man’s death. He was then charged with murder and detained awaiting trial. It is unclear whether or not he is guilty as he has yet to face trial.

According to the UN, solitary confinement for a period greater than 15 days is psychological torture; Adam Capay has been detained in solitary confinement for over 1,500 days. His case is not unique–a review of the Ontario prisons and jails identified over 1,300 other cases wherein detainees were held in solitary for periods greater than 15 days. Furthermore, under Canadian law, every person has a right to a speedy trial, which places an upper limit of 30 months between charges and trial. That threshold passed a one and a half years ago. Sign our petition and call for the end to Adam Capay’s solitary confinement specifically and extended solitary confinement generally.


Dear Attorney General Naqvi,

I was shocked and disturbed to hear of the case of Adam Capay, who has been detained at the Thunder Bay District Jail in solitary confinement for over 4 years. As you may know, the UN has defined solitary confinement periods greater than 15 days to be psychological torture; Capay has endured 100 times this period in a plexiglass cell under constant light but without windows.

This alone, whatever crime he was convicted of, would be unconscionable. But he has not been convicted of a crime, merely charged. As you no doubt know, section 11 b of the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to be tried ‘within a reasonable time,’ a phrase which the Supreme court has determined means within 30 months of charges. In the case of Adam Capay, it has been more than 48 months since he was charged. Accordingly, I urge you to ensure the charges against him are dropped, and that Adam Capay is released.

Of the thousands of people currently detained in solitary confinement in the Ontario jails and prisons, 1,383 have been detained for more than 15 days. This practice is a human rights violation; it is psychological torture. I urge you to identify these individuals and secure their release from solitary confinement. Furthermore, I urge you to discontinue the practice of long-term solitary confinement.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Henry Hagnäs

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