Calgary, AB (January 23, 2017):
Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann wrote today to the Fatality Review Board to recommend that a public fatality inquiry be held regarding all deaths involving controlled substances in Alberta correctional facilities since January 1, 2012.
In the letter, Swann argues that an inquiry is urgently needed to identify present shortcomings and emerging best practices regarding preventing contraband from entering the province’s jails and remand centres; this issue has become considerably worse with the current opioid crisis, and puts inmates and staff at risk.
He also recommends that any inquiry should include a review of the staff training in mental health and addictions and medical resources available to incarcerated persons given their critical importance in reducing the demand for illegal drugs and, ultimately, death prevention.
Swann has also written to the Office of the Ombudsman to request an administrative review of the circumstances surrounding drug-related “near-deaths” in correctional facilities, since the Fatality Review Board has no mandate to investigate such cases.