London police have confirmed an inmate died Thursday morning at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC).
Officers were called to the provincial jail at 7:30 a.m. An unidentified man was later pronounced dead.
The Major Crime section is continuing the investigation but few other details have been released by police, including the potential cause of death.
The incident prompted a response from Progressive Conservative MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London Jeff Yurek, who is calling on the government to take immediate action.
Yurek wants the province to expedite the delivery of a body scanner and allow correctional officers to carry the drug naloxone, which counteracts the effects of opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone.
“The deadly opioid fentanyl has made its way into the London area and has been making its way into our correctional facilities unnoticed,” Yurek said in a press release. “Correctional officers need to be given the tools that are necessary to assist stopping the flow of this deadly substance.”
The EMDC is slated to receive a body scanner in the fall.
Yurek said he has requested a meeting with the Minister to address his concerns.
“The EMDC is in a full-blown crisis situation that if not addressed immediately could reach a tipping point,” said Yurek. “The Wynne government needs to make immediate arrangements and get a body scanner into the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre and naloxone into the hands of its correctional officers before another life is needlessly lost.”
Thursday’s death is the facility’s 10th death in the past decade.
A London lawyer, who represents hundreds of inmates in a class action lawsuit against the province over conditions inside the jail, is also speaking out about the incident.
“You would think that with the other recent deaths, there would be some more vigilance, there’d be more direct supervision of inmates, some awareness that this could happen again,” said Kevin Egan with the law firm McKenzie Lake. “To have it happen so soon after the last death right under their noses, it’s a very unfortunate situation that people’s lives seem to not matter that much.”
This is the facility’s 10th death in the past decade, including a 47-year-old man last month.
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