Correctional investigator Howard Sapers is calling for an end to isolating mentally ill offenders, a move that could help cut the risk of dying behind bars, the Canadian Press reports. Upon releasing an extensive report on the Correctional Service of Canada’s response to deaths in custody, the prison ombudsman called for round-the-clock healthcare at both medium and maximum security prisons. He also called for better patrols and headcounts, and better education for the front-line staff who must deal with any crisis. Sapers emphasized that many of the problems identified in the wake of Ashley Smith, a teenage inmate who choked herself while at Grand Valley prison in 2007, remain today. Since then, he noted, more than 130 offenders have died in federal custody.
Maclean’s reported on the state of mentally ill offenders in our prison system in January.