Inmate dead after being found in medical distress at Barton jail
Death comes less than a day after crosses for 15 inmates who died at the jail went up
An inmate at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre is dead after being found in medical distress in his cell.
Paramedics were called to the Barton Street jail at around 1:50 p.m. Monday for reports of a man in his 20s who was found without vital signs, according to superintendent David Thompson.
The man was rushed to hospital in critical condition, he added. He was later pronounced dead.
In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed an inmate at the jail was found in distress.
"Staff responded quickly with first aid treatment and called an ambulance," wrote Andrew Morrison. "Emergency medical services transported the inmate to hospital and the inmate was pronounced deceased at hospital."
Morrison declined to comment further, citing ongoing investigations involving the Office of the Chief Coroner, the ministry and Hamilton police.
Latest loss 'heartbreaking'
The call comes less than 24 hours after 15 crosses — each baring the name of an inmate who died at the jail since 2012 — were planted on the jail lawn by families, friends and supporters.
"We want a memorial for our loved ones," explained Amy McKechnie, whose brother Ryan died at the jail in 2017. "We want people to see that something happened here. They died here."
When she heard news of the latest death Monday, McKechnie said her stomach sank.
"It's heartbreaking. There are so many emotions," she explained. "It just re-opens the wounds. This is why we're fighting, to help stop this from happening."
People who lost family members at the jail have protested outside several times in recent weeks, calling for care for the inmates inside as the number of overdoses and fatalities continues to rise.
Thompson was unable to clarify whether or not the emergency was related to a suspected drug overdose, citing the ongoing investigations.
The spokesperson for Hamilton EMS added that so far in 2019 paramedics were called to the jail for 59 emergencies — including "13 related to potential drug/opioid use."