Families of dead inmates protest outside Barton Street Jail

Families of inmates who died of overdoses at the Barton Street Jail protested today, saying they are frustrated by the lack of change.

Its been nearly 10 months since an inquest made recommendations to prevent other drug overdoses at the jail, families say there’s not enough being done.

An inquest heard last May that the jail is home to widespread drug use. Drugs easily smuggled in, and passed from cell to cell using fishing lines.

Brennan Bowley died in his cell at the jail last January, less than 48 hours after he had been arrested. His family says he was hiding drugs inside of his body, and asked for medical attention when the drugs started leaking.

Its a tragic story heard time and time again, there have been more than a dozen drug overdose deaths at the jail in the past 6 years.

Many of these families were put through an inquest last spring where 62 recommendations were made to prevent other drug overdose deaths at the jail but the ministry still has another month and a half to respond. The recommendations are not binding.

The Ministry of Correctional Services says they are considering the recommendations and since the inquest last spring, have installed a parcel x-ray scanner, and are making sure all new inmates are housed in a separate unit for 24-72 hours before being placed in the general population to combat contraband.


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