Whitehorse Daily Star

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WANTS RULES RELAXED – Darryl Sheepway (above), awaiting sentencing after being convicted of second-degree murder, says he feels like he has been ‘put in a box and stored on a shelf for 17 months’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

Living conditions are unjustified, inmate argues

Darryl Sheepway is requesting that the Yukon Supreme Court review his living conditions at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), claiming they are “unreasonable.”

By Emily Blake on February 23, 2018

Darryl Sheepway is requesting that the Yukon Supreme Court review his living conditions at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), claiming they are “unreasonable.”

Legal counsel for the 39-year-old, convicted in January of second-degree murder in the death of Christopher Brisson, 25, filed the petition for judicial review Tuesday.

It alleges Sheepway has been “effectively placed in separate and solitary confinement against his will” since his arrest on Aug. 19, 2015.

While at the WCC, Sheepway has been living in the Secure Living Unit (SLU) which is separate from other living units and has a higher level of observation, security and resistance to damage.

Under Yukon Corrections policy, inmates may be placed in the SLU if there is a “risk or perceived risk to the safety, security and good order of the correctional centre.”

The petition claims the SLU is the “mirror image” of the WCC’s Segregation Unit.

It says it qualifies as solitary confinement under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, more commonly known as the Nelson Mandela Rules.

Under those rules, solitary confinement is defined as confining prisoners for at least 22 hours a day without meaningful human contact.

The petition states that Sheepway spends two to five hours a day outside of his cell and has no meaningful contact with other inmates.

From March to December 2017, he did interact with one other inmate while outside of his cell, but before and after those dates had “no contact whatsoever” with other inmates.

During his trial late last year, Sheepway testified that his mental health has significantly deteriorated while he has been detained at the WCC due to feelings of isolation and inadequate access to services.

He has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance use disorder.

“I feel like I’ve essentially been put in a box and stored on a shelf for 17 months,” he said.

The petition notes Sheepway’s only access to fresh air is a concrete room of eight square metres with a vent bringing in air from the outside.

And it says he is handcuffed when moving outside of the SLU, calling the requirement “unreasonable” and “humiliating.”

It suggests the “sole basis” for this restraint is his admission to his psychiatrist in May 2017 that he was “so fed up” with being in the SLU he had thoughts of harming correctional officers. He noted he would never act on those thoughts.

The petition also alleges there has been no attempt at the WCC to integrate Sheepway into the general population, activities or programming.

The only programming he has been offered, it says, is the arts supply kit, which includes blank paper and pencil crayons that he is unable to bring into his cell.

He has also been provided an exercise bike but “has become too depressed to exercise.”

Meanwhile, the petition claims that Sheepway’s behaviour has been “excellent,” noting he has never attempted to escape, made threats nor tried to harm himself.

It does acknowledge, however, three incidents of “passive resistance” by Sheepway to orders from correctional officers.

It claims this non-compliance was in protest to their confiscation of his blankets, imposing excessive security protocols and administering punishments not within their authority.

The petition further alleges there has been “an astonishing lack of clarity, transparency and procedural fairness” surrounding Sheepway’s living conditions.

According to Yukon Corrections policy, when an inmate is placed in the SLU, WCC staff must complete a SLU Placement Form outlining the rationale for the placement, access to services and the process for requests to return to a regular unit.

But the petition claims that between Sheepway’s arrest and April 2017, he did not receive any written justification for his segregation and maximum security clarification.

It says he made numerous complaints and special requests to address the issue but many were not responded to.

On Nov. 5, 2017, Sheepway made a request for review to the Investigations and Standards Office (ISO), which provides independent oversight to the Yukon Justice Corrections branch.

On Feb. 28, 2017, the ISO concluded that the WCC had failed to provide written reasons and to develop an inmate plan for Sheepway.

Since then, Sheepway has received a placement form every 15 to 30 days.

The petition claims, however, that the reasons for his placement are “laconic and unclear” and do not cite regulation nor policy.

It also says Sheepway was never provided a hearing, an opportunity to obtain counsel nor given reasons sufficient enough to make meaningful submissions on why his segregation is unnecessary.

The petition quotes from the placement form, which indicates concerns with the serious nature of Sheepway’s charges and his employment at the WCC for six months concluding in October 2012.

“There are significant safety and security concerns to the facility that are unique to your circumstances as you were employed at this facility as a Correctional Officer and have intimate knowledge of this facility,” it states.

Finally, the petition claims Sheepway’s case is just one example of concerns with the use of segregation at the WCC.

“Despite its impressive budget, its low income population, and its high number of staff, WCC has a history of failing its inmates, most notably by its abusive recourse to segregation as a quick fix to any solution requiring some problem solving and thinking,” it states.

“WCC’s policy in the face of security or mental health concerns seems to be to segregate and confine.”

Sheepway’s legal counsel is requesting a number of declarations from the Yukon Supreme Court specific to Sheepway’s case as well as to WCC segregation policy generally.

Those include that Sheepway be moved to the general population or be gradually integrated for trial and observation.

Alternatively, it asks that an independent adjudicator be appointed to conduct a hearing into whether his confinement is necessary.

It is also seeking a declaration that the WCC’s SLU policy and the Corrections Act regulation that allows for extension of short-term separate confinement violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It notes the Charter is the supreme law of Canada and cites the right to life, liberty and security of the person; the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment; and the right to equal protection of the law.

It also says the policy and regulation are inconsistent with principles of the Yukon Corrections Act.

Alternatively, the petition is requesting that the court find the WCC has no power to confine Sheepway under the Corrections Act regulation when it is properly interpreted.

“Mr. Sheepway’s continued segregation and solitary confinement for a period in excess of 17 months is a sad illustration of how unconstitutional laws, lack of procedural safeguards and lack of imagination can lead to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment even in the most modern of prisons,” it states.

Eric Hendricks, the WCC’s assistant deputy superintendent, Supt. Jayme Curtis and Trisha Ratel, the director of communications, have been listed as respondents to the petition.

They have yet to respond to the claims, which have also not been heard in court.

A representative from the Yukon Justice Department told the Star it could not comment on the case specifically as it’s currently before the courts.

The department did not return a request for comment on WCC’s segregation practices by this afternoon’s press deadline.

Comments (24)

Up 0 Down 0

Mike madder on Mar 4, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Werner: your comment about watching to much TV is as ignorant as your retarded rant that it is the dealers fault that he is a addict I am well aware of Brissons past history and the fact he was a drug dealer for a long time but if there were no Sheepways out there buying the crack there'd be no dealers. Grow up. And as for murdering him for being a dealer sounds to me like you like blaming people for their own action. Sheepway was a homeowner and a husband and father he had it all and his best decision instead of being grateful for what he had he threw it all away for crack. Sheepway brought the gun Sheepway shot the dealer Sheepway went back and altered the crime scene Sheepway is as big a loser as the dealer because he took a life. Good or bad he took a life to feed HIS addiction not Brissons.
Your comments are pathetic and childish and as for watching to much TV you're right I have watched TV in Kent D Unit and Masqui pennitentary and I've seen first hand what happens to the Sheepways of the world. Stop making a murderer a victim. Once you've taken a life you're a murderer and from that moment on everything you've done good in your life has no meaning. Like the priests who raped all those kids in boarding schools don't take into consideration all the good he's done cause it was mute since the day he touched a child. To Mr. Brisson I am truly sorry for your loss and Werner live a life of gratitude and stop minimizing or justifying murder.

Up 2 Down 1

Werner on Feb 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Mike Madder,

Brisson was in jail twice before for dealing drugs, gun crimes, and gang involvement. Darryl was supposed to rob someone else, that's all that went wrong from the standpoint of a crack dealer. Surprise surprise, he pulled the gun on the dealer.

Get real about how Mr. Brisson Family Man, had no impact on the 'safety of our streets'.

And you say it's the addict's (Darryl's) fault that Brisson was a crack dealer. ha ha ha!! That is a good one! Especially after your tirade that Brisson had no impact on Darryl's circumstance. Can't have it both ways my friend.

I happen to agree with Greenie. It was a dance that took two, and one of them was going down. Brisson just didn't think it would be him. From long experience probably. It was supposed to be the guy he was taking hundreds of dollars a day from who crashed and died, and / or some schmuck at the gas station or a home owner.

Oh, and Mike? You sound like you've been watching too much TV. Your fantasies about jail life are not as exciting as the movies you play in your head.

Up 0 Down 3

ProScience Greenie on Feb 28, 2018 at 11:00 am

Seen too many Yukon people's lives messed up by crack (and other hard drugs) Mike madder. That includes kids in their early teens. Lives destroyed. Every single one of these dealers knows exactly what they're doing yet they keep on distributing the poison despite the path of destruction caused. I don't wish death on anyone and understand and feel for the loss of the families involved but I have pretty close to zero sympathy for what happens to the manufactures, dealers and enablers, from top to bottom, of these incredibly dangerous hard drugs.

Brisson could have stopped dealing and walked away but didn't. He also was fully aware of the bad craziness that crack addicts can sink into and the risks involved being a dealer. His fate was as much his own fault as that of the guy that killed him.

As well, one of the reasons for anonymous posting is that it is a very small territory and the last thing I want is an angry friend of a crack dealer paying me and my family a visit because I express my opinion that they're nothing but scum. Surely you are aware that these are very dangerous people that you are expressing sympathy for.

Up 2 Down 1

Right on Feb 27, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Yeah, whats wrong with these people that are criticizing this guy? They must be pro death penalty fascists, picking on a guy declared guilty of murder and admitted he robbed a bunch of stores in Ontario, why are people so mean and judgy?
He didn't get sent to another jail because we only have one jail here, but things are looking up for him now right?

Up 0 Down 6

Mike madder on Feb 27, 2018 at 1:14 pm

ProSciemce Greenie
Your comment is as ignorant and insulting as the fact that you don't print your real name but hide under a made up name How are our streets safer with the victim dead? You think this crack head did society a favour by killing Mr.Brissam. First, he had a family, second, without the Sheepways of the world, there would be no dealers. Blame the dealer for getting the addict addicted where's the accountability for ones own self? You smoke crack, you get wired, you sell and lose everything cause that's part and parcel of it all. Then in desperation you murder and then try and hide the body and cover your tracks. And he did our community a favour? Chris had as much right to live as anyone and this piece of work needs to know that when he goes south there's gonna be a lot of inmates wanting to spend quality time with hm. I'm betting he doesn't last a year because not only did he know better but he took advantage of his position as a guard and a well educated father and husband and traded it all for crack. I hope he enjoys the time he will be serving first in Kent institution which is a max for his first two years in PC where ex guards cops such as himself are gonna get all the love he can handle.

Up 5 Down 2

Juniper Jackson on Feb 27, 2018 at 12:08 am

Some one always has to drag the United States into every single issue.. but, yeah..in this comment "Mike' is right.. I do want capital punishment back.. i will put a child murderer/rapist, a cop killer, and a few more to death myself.. the argument always is.. well..killing x won't bring y back.. yeah..but it will keep x from killing a,b,c,d,e,f,g... and yeah.. my opinion is.. Mr. Sheepway surrendered his rights the instant he took the life of another human being.. Other posters think it's ok for Mr. Sheepway to have killed Mr. Brisson, because Mr. Brisson was a bad man too.. I guess we get to pick and choose who it is ok to kill... whose life we will end.. Sheepway gets a do over.. Brisson does not.. once someone is dead, its not a level playing field any more.

Up 4 Down 12

Mike on Feb 25, 2018 at 11:02 pm

I love all these comments criticizing this guy. I guess lots of people here believe in the US way of being a police state. Why don’t we just start executing people now if we feel like this guy doesn’t deserve any rights. Other murders and serial rapists have done a lot worse and more rights in jail but because the Correctional Center and the Yukon Justice System don’t know how to deal with the situation. Oh well! F**k him.

Do you think this would be allowed to happen anywhere else in Canada where an ex corrections would have to stay in the same place he worked this long. Not a chance. We still have rights, even as prisoners, in this country or do we live in the states. Maybe some of you would like to live in Trumpland!

Up 5 Down 1

Facts are nice on Feb 25, 2018 at 2:54 pm

"...his employment at WCC for six months"???

Try six years.
Including being tactical leader.

Up 5 Down 4

ProScience Greenie on Feb 25, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Needs to be pointed out that the victim in this case was a hard drug dealer that caused who knows how much harm to so many, so for better or worse the streets of our town are little bit safer than they were.

Up 3 Down 7

CJ on Feb 25, 2018 at 11:31 am

My first reaction was not sympathy for Mr. Sheepway. But how else will injustices be addressed in prisons? In a sense, he's better equipped than most to understand the system isn't supposed to work the way he's described, where staff that isn't overseeing a large population apparently simply avoids following a prescribed process.

There have been some distressing things happen at the jail that take way too long to be fixed. I'll never forget the story of the mentally ill man that was put in solitary for an extended time, simply because there was no space at the hospital. I don't want authorities to turn a blind eye to irregularities/civil rights violations/cruelty in prisons because they know that people on the outside will secretly and not so secretly endorse any form of retribution. We should be better than that, and if we can't be better on a personal level, I want politicians and bureaucrats to rise above that.

I don't know where Mr. Sheepway's treatment at jail falls on the spectrum of injustice. But the jail needs oversight and this is part of it.

Up 10 Down 0

Kj on Feb 25, 2018 at 4:56 am

Well...this is going to be a popular story
I grew up driving by the jail as a kid thinking...”hmm, probably really sucks to be in there. I should probably try to maybe be a good person so I don’t have to go.” You know like not doing drugs and not killing someone

Smallest fiddle. Don’t worry, you won’t be there long. Before you know it you’ll be off to a federal joint...I hear they are great. I wonder if the person you killed thinks of the amenities where they are?

Up 10 Down 0

My Opinion on Feb 24, 2018 at 9:12 pm

You Reap What You Sow buddy. Even though I have no pity for his victim, it could have been any of us walking downtown at night and he needed money and that could have been the end of us.

You are not in a Country Club, you are in Jail. Maybe the segregation is for your own good. Inmates don't like screws.

Up 11 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Feb 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm

"Living conditions are unjustified, inmate argues" If the dead could speak, I wonder what they would say about their present situation?
Can't do the time- don't do the crime.
What did he think it would be like? The place they send politicians and rich business people who have been found guilty of other crimes?
Google search drug dealers found guilty in Turkey

Up 11 Down 0

A.F. on Feb 24, 2018 at 8:58 am

Hmmm... what about the guys who’s in a box laying 6 feet underground. (Sorry for the descriptiveness) Where are his rights as a human, to still be living? It seems to me that him having intimate knowledge of the jail, would be a safety risk to the guards and other inmates. While I don’t believe in complete solitary confinement, I still think some sort of seclusion is still necessary at this point.

Up 11 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Feb 24, 2018 at 8:07 am

Mr. Sheepway killed another human being.. by doing that, he has removed himself from any care that I might have about his own well being.. Mr. Sheepway has his life... way, way more than Mr. Brisson has. Mr. Sheepway is unhappy? I don't care.. wish it were worse for him.

Up 11 Down 0

Lennjp007@yahoo.ca on Feb 24, 2018 at 7:02 am

The man should have never murdered another man. W T.F.

Up 11 Down 1

Matt on Feb 24, 2018 at 3:32 am

One of the most obvious traits of addicts is being "needy". Sheepway is no exception.....he needs to man up and start to put his life in order if he can. Stop whining about what he doesn't have and remember what his victim doesn't have and set about being grateful that we don't have capital punishment for murder.

No sympathy for this guy until he shows signs of becoming remorseful and stops the "passive resistance" which he has no right of at all.

Up 2 Down 11

not acceptable on Feb 23, 2018 at 11:45 pm

Darryl had no criminal record whatsoever before shooting his crack dealer (ie, not just a random person on the street). That is his single known act of violence in his entire life. The people at WCC are unable to deal with him because he has 'knowledge of the facility'?? The inadequacy of the WCC and/or of the abilities of the people working there to come up with a plan is no justification for denying an inmate what few rights, freedoms and services they are expected by society to receive. Do your dm job and figure it out!

Up 10 Down 0

Tina on Feb 23, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Awe. You poor thing ! The person you murdered was put in a box and into the ground so I really don’t think you should be complaining.

Up 9 Down 0

Justice on Feb 23, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Living conditions, should have thought about that before you took someones life.

Up 9 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Why is he still here, should he not be in a real jail...like a federal one awaiting his hazing?
Convicted POS, who cares...certainly not me.

Up 10 Down 0

BnR on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Talk about locking the barn door after the horse has left.
I reckon Darryl should have thought about this a while back.....

Up 10 Down 0

Yukon67 on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Mr. Sheepway. You shot a drug dealer for crack. You dumped the body. You took a life albeit you “did not mean to”. What do u expect? Perhaps the constitution and related federal policies will afford you amenities but in the end you should reflect and accept the sentence.

Up 9 Down 0

Pedroferrero on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:31 pm

‘Put on a shelf and stored in a box for 17 months”? Oh dear, how sad, never mind. How about in a box and stored indefinitely underground instead ? Like his victim .

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