September 25, 2015 - 8:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - Since August 2014 there have been four in-custody death’s at six regional provincial jails, three of which were in Kamloops according to data from the Ministry of Justice.
The number went from three to four on Monday, Sept. 21 with the latest death in Kamloops but details of the case, including the inmate’s name, have yet to be revealed publicly.
Outside of Kamloops, the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre had one in-custody death last year.
Dean Purdy, chair of corrections and sheriffs services component of the B.C. Government and Service Employee’s Union, says it’s too early to tell whether the local correctional centre will be investigated because of the "unusually high" number of deaths.
“I’m not aware of anything coming down the pipe,” he says, adding the corrections branch is likely awaiting results of two coroner’s inquests.
“(Deaths) do happen, but that’s just the nature of our business. You’re going to have incidents like this; it’s just a reality," Purdy says, noting the six maximum security jails house between 200 to 500 inmates at a time.
The first of three deaths occurred in November 2014, when corrections officers found 20-year-old Dylan Levi Judd unresponsive in his cell during a morning check.
Two months later, Daryl Vic Belseck, 52, died. No foul play was suspected in his death.
A Coroner’s inquest is scheduled to review Judd’s death this November. An inquest for the inmate who died Monday is pending.
A 2011 report from the provincial Chief Coroner's office examined all deaths which occured in provincial jails, pre-trial centres, federal prisons in B.C. from 2004 - 2011. In those eight years there were a total of 102 in-custody deaths, 58.8 per cent of which were from natural causes. Five deaths were referred to a coroner's inquest.
In the entire term, only two of the total 102 deaths occured at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
Justice Minister Suzanne Anton and Cindy Rose, a spokesperson for B.C. Corrections, declined comment when asked if an institutional review is being considered.
Instead, the Ministry of Justice submitted the following comment from its communications department on this week’s death: "Similar to previous deaths that have occurred in custody, a Critical Incident Review is being conducted to examine the facts of the incident, relevant history, possible causes, and, where appropriate, makes recommendations to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident. It’s important to remember that, just like in the community, deaths can occur for a number of reasons."
To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at email@example.com, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015