Jury recommends review of detox policy;Inquest Family of inmate who committed suicide believe he was trying to get to a hospital. [Saint John, N.B] 19 May 2007: B2. Abstract (summary)Translate
"We do not agree with the jail doctor taking away Jeff's Fentanyl patch," [Ray Cormier] read. "If they had consulted with Jeff's doctor they would have found out the reasons why, including that he was suicidal." "We are very happy with the recommendations though," she said. "All we want is for (the jail) to wean people off these kinds of drugs properly so that another family doesn't have to go through what we went through." "If you were in a bad mood, Jeff could always make you laugh," she said. "You could try and be mad at him, but he would always have you laughing by the end."
The Saint John Regional Correctional Centre should review its policies regarding inmates detoxing from
A review of the centre's current detoxification protocols was one of the six recommendations
presented Friday at the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Hood.
Hood was found unresponsive in his cell at the centre on February 23, 2006 after hanging himself
from the cell's sprinkler system, using the cord from a laundry bag.
Witnesses testified that in the days leading up to his death Hood, who was addicted to the opiate
Dilaudid, looked very sick and was suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Family friend Ray Cormier said Hood's family had repeatedly tried to help him conquer his drug habit
"(In jail) they just take them off the street and stuff them in a cell, it's just not humane," he said.
In a statement read to jury members prior to their deliberations, Cormier said the family was most
upset that the medical staff at the jail took away a pain medication prescribed to Hood by his personal
"We do not agree with the jail doctor taking away Jeff's Fentanyl patch," Cormier read. "If they had
consulted with Jeff's doctor they would have found out the reasons why, including that he was
During the three-day inquest, jurors heard testimony that Fentanyl - a pain medication administered
in the same manner as the nicotine patch - is not allowed in the jail because of the risk that it could
Inmates going through withdrawal are treated for their symptoms with drugs such as Tylenol and
Imodium only if the inmate requests them.
The jury recommended that inmates at high risk of going through withdrawal be put on an alert list.
They said the jail's treatment protocols should include monitoring the severity of symptoms until the
The jury also recommended drug counselling be provided.
Throughout the trial, the jury heard that as many as 70 to 80 per cent of the jail's population is
Other recommendations include hiring a full-time psychologist and asking more detailed questions
with regard to suicidal tendencies and past medical history each time an inmate arrives at the jail.
The jury also recommended informing the sprinkler manufacturer that some of the units did not meet
proper specifications and requesting that those units be fixed. An internal investigation into the
sprinklers found that many were able to hold more than the 70 pounds meant to be the maximum.
After hearing about the jury's findings, Hood's family said they believe he died in an attempt to get
out of the jail and get treatment at a hospital.
Hood's younger sister Cindy said she was told by another inmate at the centre that Hood had talked
about trying to get to a hospital prior to his death.
That inmate later committed suicide outside of jail.
"We are very happy with the recommendations though," she said. "All we want is for (the jail) to wean
people off these kinds of drugs properly so that another family doesn't have to go through what we
Hood said she would always remember her brother as a caring person who liked to laugh.
"If you were in a bad mood, Jeff could always make you laugh," she said. "You could try and be mad
at him, but he would always have you laughing by the end."
Mark Palmer, the regional director for public safety, said he thought the recommendations were very
"We are certainly going to take the recommendations very seriously, we'll seek some expert advice to
help us in terms of a practical implementation," he said.
Palmer acknowledged that this is not the first time an inquest has recommended that a full-time
psychologist be added to the staff at the jail, but said it is often difficult for jails to find and afford
someone with the correct qualifications.
"They're very much in demand and it's a difficult hire," he said.
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(Copyright 2007 Telegraph-Journal (New Brunswick))
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