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Another overdose sends Barton jail inmate to hospital

A 26-year-old man was rushed to hospital in critical condition early Monday morning.

Inmate from Hamilton jail remains in hospital in critical condition

A 26-year-old man was found unresponsive in his cell at the Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre on Monday morning. (Adam Carter/CBC)

An inmate from the Barton Street jail was rushed to hospital Monday morning in critical condition after he was found unconscious in his cell.

Hamilton paramedics were called to the detention centre around 3 a.m. about a 26-year-old inmate in distress.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesperson Brent Ross told CBC News that the man was found unresponsive in his cell.

Ross would not comment on what happened to the man. He remains in hospital.

"It would be inappropriate to speak to the individual's personal or medical information as those details are confidential," he said in an email.

A jail source not permitted to speak on the record told CBC News that the man had overdosed in his cell and was found without vital signs.

"The guards did CPR and brought him back," the person said. "He's in critical [condition] in hospital."

This is a familiar refrain at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, where several overdose deaths have occurred in recent years. Ross would not confirm that this instance was, in fact, an overdose.

The jail source said he believes that drugs are getting into the prison because of staffing shortages, a lack of investment in new detection technologies and an "overall negligent attitude towards corrections by successive governments."

It was announced in August there would be a coroner's inquest to examine drug use in the jail. The inquest will probe the deaths of William Acheson, Martin Tykoliz, Stephen Conrad Neeson, David Michael Gillian and Louis Angelo Unelli, who all died in drug-related incidents inside the jail from 2012 to 2015.

Another inmate died in the jail back in October, but it is not yet clear if that person will be added to the inquest list.

In an inquest, the coroner's office would be examining the possibility of a systemic drug problem brewing inside the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre and how to address it. A coroner's inquest is mandatory any time an inmate dies an "unnatural death."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

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