Hamilton

Province will hold yet another inquest into the overdose death of a Barton jail inmate

The province is holding yet another inquest into the death of a Barton Jail inmate who died of an apparent overdose.

Ryan McKechnie, 34, died in 2017, after several other inmates also died of overdoses

The province will hold an inquest into the death of Ryan McKechnie at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. (Flora Pan/CBC)

The province is holding yet another inquest into the death of a Barton Jail inmate who died of an apparent overdose.

Hamilton's regional supervising coroner said Monday there would be an inquest into the death of Ryan McKechnie.

McKechnie, 34, died while he was an inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. His sister, Amy McKechnie, told CBC News he died from a drug overdose around breakfast.

The announcement comes just two months after the province wrapped up an inquest into eight other inmate overdose deaths.

It also comes two weeks after the province announced an inquest into the death of Brennan Bowley, a 23-year-old who was also at the Barton Jail.

Brennan Bowley's family says the 23-year-old died of an accidental overdose at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre in January. (Facebook)

McKechnie died June 29, 2017, Bowley on Jan. 18, 2018.

In May, a Hamilton inquest jury released 62 recommendations for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services regarding how to prevent overdose deaths in Ontario jails.

Those recommendations included more canine searches, upgrading surveillance cameras, inmate check lists and logs to track contraband and train interested inmates in CPR.

That inquest revealed a rampant drug culture in the jail. Amy McKechnie said drug smugglers seemed to "get away with" bringing drugs into the jail.

"He was supposed to be safe in there," she said. "I wasn't supposed to have to bury my younger brother." 

No date has been set yet for the McKechnie or Bowley inquests. Both are mandatory under the Coroners Act.

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