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10 August 2023
CMHA Niagara observes Prisoners’ Justice Day on August 10 to honour individuals who died unnaturally or violently while incarcerated in correctional institutions.
The Ontario Chief Coroner’s Expert Panel’s report examined 186 deaths that occurred between 2014 and 2021 and were not homicides. The analysis showed that acute drug toxicity deaths accounted for nearly 40 per cent of deaths, with suicides accounting for 24 per cent. The day also highlights the disproportionate representation of racialized and Indigenous communities in correctional facilities.
Statistics Canada revealed that 17 per cent of people in custody during 2021-2022 were from racialized populations, with 10 per cent being Black, despite being only 4 per cent of Ontario’s adult population. Moreover, 19 per cent of people in custody self-identified as Indigenous, despite accounting for only 9.4 per cent of the total Canadian population for the same year.
To learn more about the Ontario Chief Coroner’s Expert Panel’s latest report and their recommendations click here.
CMHA supports Ontario’s ban on segregating individuals with mental health issues and works with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to improve care in provincial correctional facilities. We recommend mental health and addictions training for correctional personnel, offering workshops and partnerships with correctional facilities for these opportunities.
For more information about CMHA Ontario and our branches work with the HSJCC network on mandatory training for human rights and systemic racism, as well as de-escalation and use of force, visit hsjcc.on.ca.
Learn more about the history of Prisoners’ Justice Day here.