Mission – A Coroner’s Inquest is being sought into the COVID-19 related death of prisoner at Mission Institution by BCCLA BC Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society, among others. The 38 organizations issuing the call for a full, public inquest include: Abolition Coalition, Amnesty International, Atira Women’s Resource Society, BC Assembly of First Nations, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, BC Civil Liberties Association, BC First Nations Justice Council, BC Health Coalition, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Community Legal Assistance Society, First Nations Summit, Health Justice, Jail Accountability and Information Line, John Howard Society of Canada, Joint Effort, Law Union of British Columbia, PACE Society, Prisoners’ Legal Services, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Vancouver Prison Justice Day Committee, and West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund.
Their hope it is a thorough Inquiry to avoid such contamination, disease, death and loss of rights in the future.
Of the 300 or so inmates, one-third tested positive as well, testing was done on staff and federal corrections officers. Some of them also tested positive. All inmates have now been tested.
From the BCCLA: (the full pdf document is here)
In a letter sent to BC Chief Coroner, Lisa Lapointe ,BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth:
We are a coalition of organizations calling for an immediate inquest into the tragic death of a person in Correctional Service of Canada’s (“CSC”) custody who was incarcerated at MissionInstitution in BC. He died in Abbotsford Regional Hospital on April 15, 2020 from COVID-related complications. We ask you, as BC’s Chief Coroner and BC’s Solicitor General, to take immediate action and direct an inquest into his death as set out by the Coroner’s Act. Section 18(3) of the Coroners Act specifies that: “The chief coroner may direct a coroner to hold an inquest if the chief coroner has reason to believe that(a) the public has an interest in being informed of the circumstances surrounding the death, or (b) the death resulted from a dangerous practice or circumstance, and similar deaths could be prevented if recommendations were made to the public or an authority.”The Coroners Act also stipulates that the Solicitor General may order an inquest if it is necessary or desirable in the public interest (s. 19(1)(a))