Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister has ordered a review of the work of the psychiatrist who treats inmates in correctional facilities.

Dr. David Craig has been criticized for taking inmates off medications prescribed by other psychiatrists before incarceration.

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Felix Collins rejected a report recommending that the province should issue a public tender for psychiatric care services in the facilities.

The report, by provincial citizens representative Barry Fleming, said inmates are not getting the same psychiatric care as members of the general public.

On Wednesday, facing mounting pressure from mental health and justice advocates, Collins told CBC News that a peer review of Craig's work in the prison system will be conducted.

"Only with a peer review, done by a competent medical person to investigate the files and the work of a fellow practitioner and based on that kind of recommendation, can we clear the air. We could not do it based on the report given by Mr. Fleming," said Collins.

He would not promise that the results of the peer review, to begin immediately, will be made available to the public.

On Monday in the house of assembly, Collins said the citizens representative does not have the expertise or jurisdiction to review the work of a psychiatrist.


Peter Ralph is a lawyer and mental health advocate in St. John's. ((CBC))

On Tuesday, lawyer and mental health advocate Peter Ralph said he has been hearing complaints for years that inmates were being taken off prescribed medications.

"I think that [the report] was dead on. Dr. [David] Craig, the psychiatrist at the penitentiary, has a very conservative approach to prescribing medications and a lot of inmates are suffering as a result of that," said Ralph.

He said it's unacceptable that Collins publicly rejected Fleming's report.

"I don't understand. I'm actually shocked that the minister so callously, I think, decided to ignore the clear sufferings of inmates who are in the penitentiary and suffering because of a loss of medications which they've been receiving – some of them for years in the community," Ralph said.