A former inmate says there’s a big problem with a report on psychiatric care in Newfoundland and Labrador's correctional facilities.
The result of a peer review released Monday found psychiatrist David Craig meets the standards of care in the psychiatric services he provides to prison inmates.
An Ontario forensic psychiatrist, Philip Klassen, reviewed the work of Craig, but Klassen didn’t talk to any inmates.
Numerous people who were incarcerated, such as Doug Squires, complained that Craig took them off the drugs they had been prescribed by other doctors before they were sent to jail.
Squires said the review is worthless without input from the inmates themselves. "Who was the thing about? It was about the inmates. Why couldn't they have their point of view? Why couldn't they have their word out? It's like calling all of us liars."
Klassen said he had access to the concerns of inmates because Newfoundland and Labrador’s citizen’s representative had talked to them back in 2011. "I was able to go into the peer review with a fairly good sense of what the inmate’s concerns were."
Klassen also said that Craig didn’t always take prisoners off their medication. "He at times continued and or prescribed some of the medications in question, and at other times did not. He used clinical judgment in terms of making those decisions."
Provincial Justice Minister Darrin King said Monday he was OK with the fact that Klassen didn’t speak directly with inmates as part of the review. "I'm not a doctor, I can't question the validity of what he said here. I have to accept on face value his credentials, and I have confidence that the report is accurate and valid."
King said he also would ensure Klassen’s recommendations, including improving communications between Craig and inmates, are implemented.
Meanwhile, the former executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, Geoff Chaulk, said Tuesday he stands behind the work of Craig.
Chaulk said he hopes the results of this review will improve the reputation of the psychiatrist. "Dr. Craig regularly gets a black eye that he does not deserve," he said.