The Department of Justice is adding additional resources to the correctional facility in Burnside following an internal review into the death of an inmate.
Joshua Aaron Evans, 29, of Bridgetown, was remanded to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on Aug. 1. He was found in severe medical distress at the facility on Sept. 10 and died the next day in hospital.
He was being held in the facility’s transition day room and being monitored by clinical staff from the Nova Scotia Health Authority and correctional officers. The room is a direct supervision unit that supports individuals in custody who live with special needs.
The internal review found that Mr. Evans was having normal interactions with inmates and staff during the evening of Sept. 10 until the evening lockdown at 8:25 p.m. The last recorded round was at 9 p.m. Nothing out of the ordinary was observed.
At the next regularly rescheduled round, at 9:30 p.m., staff found Mr. Evans unresponsive in his cell. Correctional officers immediately began first aid and called for assistance. Efforts to revive him continued until he was transported to hospital.
The review determined that staff responded appropriately to the incident. However, the review identified two areas of concern:
— correctional staff did not complete daily progress reports for six days leading up the death. These reports are used to record behaviour of individuals in the transition day room
— staff were absent from the day room responding to another incident between 5:58 p.m. and 7:26 p.m., contrary to policy and procedures. Inmates were confined to their cells during this period. This resulted in two missed rounds at 6:30 p.m. and 7:34 p.m.
As a result of this review, Correctional Services will:
— add additional resources to ensure all policies and procedures are followed, and roles and responsibilities of staff are clearly understood. These positions include an additional full-time social worker and inspector to ensure compliance and mitigate risk in facilities
— conduct a program evaluation and initiate case management improvements to better support inmates with special needs
— make available to the family a restorative conference involving staff, senior managers and others who interacted with Mr. Evans.
The recommendations coming out of the process will result in further actions to help prevent a similar incident in the future.
“The loss of this young man was heartbreaking,” said Justice Minister Mark Furey. “As a result of the review, we are taking a number of actions, including the strengthening of policies and procedures in the monitoring of high-risk individuals in our transition day room program.
“That includes the creation of an inspector position with responsibility for compliance and to mitigate risk in our correctional facilities. An additional full-time social worker to improve support of inmates in the transition day room will also be hired.”
The incident review summary is available at: https://novascotia.ca/just/upd
Source : Media Release