N.L. inmates 'suffering' without their medications
Justice minister 'callously' rejected psychiatric report: mental health advocate
A Newfoundland and Labrador citizens representative report that found inmates with psychiatric conditions are being treated unfairly is "dead on," despite its rejection by the justice minister, a mental health advocate says.
Lawyer Peter Ralph said Tuesday he has been hearing complaints for years that people are being taken off medications prescribed by physicians before they are put in jail.
"I think that [the report] was dead on. Dr. [David] Craig, the psychiatrist at the penitentiary has a very conservative approach to prescribing medications and a lot of inmates are suffering as a result of that," said Ralph.
He said it's unacceptable that Justice Minister Felix Collins on Monday publicly rejected the report of Barry Fleming, the citizens representative.
"I don't understand. I'm actually shocked that the minister so callously, I think, decided to ignore the clear sufferings of inmates who are in the penitentiary and suffering because of a loss of medications which they've been receiving – some of them for years in the community," Ralph told CBC News.
Collins said the citizens representative does not have the expertise or jurisdiction to review the work of a psychiatrist.
Fleming challenged that argument Monday, and said decisions to remove inmates from medications run contrary to the expertise of doctors who prescribe drugs to inmates before they're put in jail.
Fleming recommended that the Justice Department issue a public tender for the provision of psychiatric care in correctional facilities.