Ottawa

Family wants answers after inmate dies at Ottawa jail

The family of a man who died after going into cardiac arrest at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre say they want answers into what happened in the days leading up to his death.

Ronald Marrion, 59, died Tuesday morning in the OCDC's health unit

Diane Dansereau says she wants to know what happened to her brother, who died Tuesday at the Ottawa Carelton Detention Centre. (CBC)

The family of a man who died after going into cardiac arrest at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre say they want answers into what happened in the days leading up to his death.

Ronald Marrion, 59, of Cornwall, Ont., collapsed and died Tuesday morning in the jail's health unit.

Staff at the jail's health unit performed CPR until paramedics took over and transported him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

A representative of the jail guards' union said the man had complained he wasn't feeling well and had been transferred to the health unit, where he shared a cell with two other inmates.

But Marrion's sister, Diane Dansereau, says she has doubts about the version of events she has been told so far.

Inmate was sleeping on floor of cell, sister says

She says her brother was not well; he had diabetes and cancer, but said he did not have a heart condition.

Ronald Marrion, 59, of Cornwall, Ont., collapsed and died Tuesday morning in the jail's health unit. (Handout)
Dansereau claims her brother was a target of abuse by other prisoners and says she learned he had been attacked at the jail.

She also says when sharing a cell with two other inmates, he was sleeping on the floor, in part because he physically could not get onto the top bunk.

"I know he was in pain and that, but why on the floor? He was a bad diabetic. We just want answers," she said.

Should the Ontario coroner determine the cause of death was anything other than natural causes, the coroner will call an inquest, according to a spokesman from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Should the death be deemed due to natural causes, the coroner may call an inquest at their own discretion.

Conditions at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre had come under fire in a 2015 community advisory committee report that found the jail often served substandard food, and had both overcrowding of inmates and staff shortages.

Yasir Naqvi, the community safety and correctional services minister, called for a task force to investigate overcrowding at the jail after learning about the use of showers as cells, among other issues.

now