A local Conservative MPP is calling for a third-party audit of the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC) following the facility’s latest death.
After pushing for the Liberal government to address the ongoing issues at the troubled jail for the past six years, Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek hopes a third-party review of the facility will provide some answers.
“We need to find experts that aren’t linked with the ministry,” said MPP Jeff Yurek.
“Let them come in and conduct their review and audit of the EMDC and how it operates and what supports are available, and then come up with concrete solutions that the government should implement in order to end the ongoing deaths and violence at EMDC,” Yurek added.
READ MORE: Inmate found dead at EMDC on Boxing Day
Yurek says the Liberal government doesn’t have the capability to fix the ongoing issues at the troubled jail.
“This government has a history of just applying Band-Aids to the problem here at EMDC. They need to start listening, not only to myself, but to correctional officers, staff, inmates and inmates’ families, that there is a serious ongoing issue at the facility,” said Yurek.
On Boxing Day, a 29-year-old man was found inside his cell without vital signs around 12:10 p.m., and was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency crews, police said.
Family members have confirmed the identity of the man to 980 CFPL as Justin Struthers of Goderich.
Struthers’ mother says her son was taken to the London jail around noon on Christmas Day. He was found dead around the same time on Dec. 26.
In a statement provided to 980 CFPL, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said “it would be in appropriate for the ministry to comment further as investigations are underway.” This is the fifth death at the troubled jail this year alone, and the third where police have said no foul play is suspected.
Back in August, the death of an inmate prompted Yurek to call on the government to expedite the delivery of a body scanner and to allow correctional officers to carry the drug naloxone, which counteracts the effects of opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone.
“I’d like to see what the root cause of the issues are so they can be fixed, and so staff, correctional officers and inmates can be in a safe environment so they’re not dying or injured, and at the same time ensure there’s proper mental health supports in the facility to deal with those who need the extra help,” Yurek said.
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