Closing arguments were heard Wednesday at the inquest into the 8 drug overdose deaths at the Barton street jail. It’s now up to the five person jury to make their recommendations to prevent similar deaths. It has been almost 6 weeks of shocking evidence and a rare glimpse of what goes on inside the detention centre.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard that hard drugs are readily available inside the jail, seen that they’re done out in the open and passed from inmate to inmate and no one seems to notice. We heard of the issues of overcrowding, lack of programs, mental health and addictions problems and heard about the 8 men who died inside the jail.
There were several parties involved in this inquest including families, the ministry of corrections and representatives from healthcare. Together those parties today came up with 47 joint slated recommendations to help the jury. Including making sure searches are being done, developing electronic health records, improving healthcare, better communication, more programming, including adding recreation officers so inmates have access to physical activity, because right now there’s nothing to do.
The 47 recommentations they presented are a starting point for the jury. They can accept them, or reject them, make their own or they don’t have to make any. They will now take everything they have learned and come back to the inquest Friday morning.
These 8 overdose deaths happened between 2012-2016, there have been at least 5 more since.