Hamilton

'Pure insanity:' Another inmate at Barton jail taken to hospital after suspected overdose

It's the 7th suspected overdose at the jail in the past 7 days

Posted: May 22, 2019
Last Updated: May 23, 2019

A female inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre was taken to hospital Wednesday afternoon following a suspected opioid overdose. (Adam Carter/CBC)

A female inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre was taken to hospital Monday following a suspected opioid overdose — the seventh inmate at the jail to suffer a suspected overdose in less than a week.

Hamilton EMS superintendent Dave Thompson said the 31-year-old was in stable condition when she was transported to hospital around noon.

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The latest overdose comes just two days after two women and a man at the Barton jail were taken to hospital Monday evening. It's also less than a week after three female cell mates were treated for suspected overdoses on May 16.

"It's every other day. When will it end?" said Amy McKechnie, whose brother Ryan died of a suspected overdose at the jail in 2017. "This is just pure insanity."

Ministry says issues can't be solved 'overnight'

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor General confirmed an inmate at the jail was found in "medical distress."

Andrew Morrison says staff provided first aid and called paramedics. The woman has since returned to the jail.

In a statement sent following questions about the suspected overdoses earlier this week, Morrison referenced the government's recent investments in mental health and addictions support, including for the justice sector.

"Crime, violence, mental health and addictions are complex issues that cannot be solved overnight, or by the provincial government alone," he wrote in an email to CBC News.

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Angela Case, Amy McKechnie and Tamara Bowley stand hold up crosses memorializing inmates who have died at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre before they were hammered into place on April 28. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

McKechnie, along with other families who lost loved ones at the jail, met with Solicitor General Sylvia Jones earlier this month to call for changes to Ontario's corrections system.

They've also planted crosses outside the jail commemorating the inmates who have lost their lives inside.

Now, following the most recent spate of overdoses, the families are planning to rally outside the facility on May 27.