Burnaby/Abbotsford – – Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) made submissions on behalf of the family of Kendal Campeau to the Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC) National Board of Investigations in relation to his death at the age of 31 at Pacific Institution (Abbotford) on November 14, 2021 from methadone toxicity.
Mr. Campeau was a member of the Yellow Quill First Nation and grew up in Saskatchewan. His death in the custody of CSC adds to the long list of Indigenous people who have died in , as PLS states – colonial prisons in Canada.
In their submissions, they urge CSC to consider Mr. Campeau’s death in prison as part of Canada’s history of forcibly separating Indigenous families and the mass incarceration of Indigenous peoples. Mr. Campeau’s life and death represent many of the systemic issues experienced by Indigenous people in prison, including classification to higher levels of security, having his “Indigenous Social History” used against him, transfer to prisons far away from his family and community, the use of prolonged solitary confinement, and violent assaults and abuse by correctional officers or facilitated by officers.
He was transferred away from his family in Saskatchewan to BC in 2019 after he was violently assaulted in prison. In BC he was violently assaulted again and placed in a Structured Intervention Unit before being transferred to Pacific Institution. On November 14, 2021 he was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to outside hospital and then returned to the prison, where he died later the same day.
PLS has received several reports from incarcerated people about CSC correctional officers encouraging them to kill themselves and sometimes giving them razor blades.
Mr. Campeau submitted grievances about his mistreatment but CSC’s responses were cursory.
PLS encourages CSC to thoroughly investigate Mr. Campeau’s treatment in its custody as part of its investigation into his death.
CSC has not provided any response to media requests for information or comment.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is demanding Correctional Services Canada hold an inquest into the death of Kendal Jenner, a 31-year-old Indigenous man from the Yellow Quill First Nation, who died at the Pacific Institute in B.C. from a drug overdose.
Campeau was transferred away from his traditional territory in 2019 after he was violently attacked while in custody in Saskatchewan. From there matters only got worse when transferred to B.C. where he claims guards attacked him and sexually assaulted him with a mop. Campeau told his sister he was then placed in segregation where he attempted suicide. Despite the attempt on his life, officials kept Campeau in isolation where his condition deteriorated. The young Indigenous man also claimed a guard once gave him a razor blade and “tormented him into thinking that he was a waste of life and encouraged him to end his life,” and that guards would stand there and watch as he cut his arms and legs.
On November 14th 2021, Campeau was found unresponsive in his cell, brought to an outside hospital, only to be returned to prison where he later died.
“Not only should there be an inquest into Mr. Campeau’s death, but police should investigate several incidents as hate crimes and sexual assaults,” says CAP National Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin. “Like so many Indigenous prisoners, the Canadian justice system sets them up for failure, drags them from their communities and turns a blind eye to abuses while in prison.”
CAP and others are insisting Canada’s Public Safety Minister call an inquest into Mr. Campeau’s death, and police investigate allegations of hate crimes, assault and sexual assault.