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Working Paper

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The title of this chapter signifies at least three things. The first is the disabling effects of solitary confinement. The second is recent efforts of prison justice advocates in Canada to use law, or specifically litigation, to disable the logic of solitary confinement: to disrupt that logic through the logic of human rights. The third, most oblique reference, and one I develop here, speaks to dangers presented by the path Canada’s solitary confinement litigation has taken: a path of isolating disability-based prison justice claims from the wider ambitions of intersectional substantive equality. My thesis is that this isolation of disability (specifically, mental disorder/disability) as the organising principle of solitary confinement’s legally-cognisable harms has paradoxically re-inscribed and reinforced disability injustice, and with it, an array of interactive forms of social–structural oppression—while ironically enabling the return of solitary confinement, if slightly re-described. What this means for lawyers wishing to work in resistance to penal and disability-based incarceration is a question I address in my conclusion.