….just as we said last June.
A persistent and distressed family, along with CBC News, and journalists like the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Patrick White would not accept Correctional Service of Canada’s explanation that Matthew Hines died from a drug-induced seizure, and died despite the efforts of CSC staff members to save him.
Correctional Service of Canada lied. Our prison industry killed this man, and then tried to cover it up.
33 year-old Matthew Hines died in Dorchester Penitentiary on May 26 in 2015. Since then, we’ve published “What say you, Minister?” September 25, 2016, “Matthew Hines died. Chapter the second.” October 2 of 2016, and “Matthew Hines’ death was a homicide…..” on June 4, 2017.
On Wednesday, January 3 of this year, New Brunswick RCMP charged two prison guards with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. Alvida Ross, 48, and Mathieu Bourgin, 31, had been on administrative leave since the investigation began, but the two men will not appear in Moncton Provincial Court until the end of February.
The particulars around Matthew’s ordeal will not be reviewed again here, but after 2 ½ years, four investigations, and a determined Hines’ family, the death was ruled a criminal act. A spokeswoman for Correctional Service of Canada said the agency co-operated with the investigation and is committed to “learn from Mr. Hines’ death and continually work to improve our response to individuals in medical crisis.” This is CSC’s necessarily politically correct position, and it’s not the first time it has made this statement, and it’s not the last.
Correctional Investigator Ivan Zinger released his own report on this death-in-custody last May, citing numerous “staff errors and omissions”, and criticized all levels of CSC, from correctional officers to senior staff for releasing misleading information and denying accountability. “Nearly everything that could have gone wrong in a use of force response went wrong,” the CI report said.
The Hines family is grateful for the work done to get at the truth, but rightly suggests that responsibility for Matthew’s death goes well beyond the two men accused. That includes, for example, an inexperienced duty nurse who did not even check the inmate’s vital signs, in spite of the man’s obvious medical distress. The family nonetheless accepts the decision to charge only two employees, but “we trust that all who saw Matthew before and during his death look in the mirror every day with the knowledge of what they did and did not do.”
And, as we’ve noted twice before, the family has a lawyer. This is going to cost every Canadian taxpayer.
Remember that Matthew had to die for this to get so much attention. What would we know if he had survived this assault? What do we know about the experience of other inmates who’ve been subject to the same treatment?