Manitoba

Death of female inmate in Winnipeg 'horrific' says Elizabeth Fry Society

The Elizabeth Fry Society says the basic human rights of a Winnipeg woman who died while in custody were violated.

Hollie Hall, 38, was in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre when she became ill

The Elizabeth Fry Society says the basic human rights of a Winnipeg woman who died while in custody were violated. 

Hollie Hall was taken off life support on March 17. She had been in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre when she fell ill and was taken to St. Boniface Hospital for treatment.

Her mother, Gerri Hall, said doctors told her that her daughter died from an airborne illness that had gotten into her bloodstream. She was also told her the 38-year-old had pneumonia, which weakened her immune system.

"It's horrific. I just can't believe someone would be dying of pneumonia. It's not the 1960s," said Tracy Booth, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba.

Booth said inmates are supposed to receive the same medical care as people who are not in custody.

"This is a violation of the Charter of Human Rights," she said.

"Whether you're remanded, you're sentenced, whether you are provincially or federally sentenced, you're supposed to get your medical needs met."

Booth calls Hall's death disturbing and believes it was preventable. She said there are problems with how inmates' health is handled.

"Currently medical services are provided out of the Manitoba Justice budget," said Booth.

"Perhaps the medical services should be provided by the Ministry of Health."

A spokesperson from Manitoba Justice said the Winnipeg Remand Centre schedules 24/7 nursing care and a contracted physician operates clinics every weekday.

Booth said she would like to see a permanent doctor on staff.

"A contact doctor may not have access to one's medical files," said Booth.

"Her medical history in regards to lung infections or propensity for pneumonia or bronchitis could have been easily flagged."

An inquest will be called under The Manitoba Fatality Inquiries Act because Hall died while she was in custody.

About the Author

Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor