Prison health care….not giving up….


Last week’s entry ended with a June 19 letter to Derek Janhevich at the Office of the Correctional Investigator in Ottawa.  Brennan Guigue was not happy with the outcome of his meeting with the investigator the OCI sent to Port-Cartier Institution.

In the meantime, another letter went to the health services commissioner at Correctional Service in Ottawa, a follow-up to a June 24 letter published here on July 3.

 July 1, 2022

Mr. Manjeet Sethi, A/Assistant Commissioner,
Health Services,
Correctional Service of Canada,
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0P9

 Re:       Brennan Guigue

 Dear Mr. Sethi:

 Further to my June 24th letter in response to yours dated May 24th, Brennan Guigue has authorized, approved, and requested I send you the enclosed psychiatric assessment.

 This is a December 23rd, 2016, 43-page, court-ordered psychiatric assessment authored by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Philip Klassen (no relation), intended to inform the Court as it weighed the evidence in the criminal proceedings against Brennan.  This was requested by the Crown and was Brennan Guigue’s last psychiatric evaluation.

 Your letter claims that Brennan “was last assessed by a psychiatrist at Millhaven Institution on October 5, 2020.”  That was a part of an inmate transfer process consisting of two/three questions.  Was he suicidal?  Was he thinking of self harm?  Did he ideate suicidal thoughts?  If the answer is “no”, then he was good to go.

 You and Correctional Service of Canada label that a psychiatric assessment?  Really?

 Likewise, upon arrival at every federal institution, a nurse asks the same questions of each offender.  So, those nurses, and the health care unit at every institution, along with you and CSC, consider that a psychiatric assessment?  You no doubt expect me to accept that this passes for health care and is compliant with the CCRA.

 Shame on you.  Shame on Correctional Service of Canada.

 Charles H. Klassen

Yes, a 43-page psychiatric assessment was sent with this letter, a report written by a doctor with a practice in forensic psychiatrist who is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Toronto.  The point in sending this to Mr. Sethi was to differentiate between what Correctional Service of Canada calls a psychiatric assessment from what, in fact, is a psychiatric assessment.

The next day, a follow-up letter was sent to Nadia Pelletier. In charge of the health care unit at Port-Cartier Institution.

July 2, 2022

Mrs. Nadia Pelletier, A/Programs, Health Care Services,
Port-Cartier Institution,
Port-Cartier, QC  G5B 0N2

Re:       Brennan Guigue

Dear Mrs. Pelletier:

My May 9th letter to Health Care Services Chief at Port-Cartier Institution was answered by Mr. Manjeet Sethi at Health Services at NHQ Ottawa on May 24th.  I’ve enclosed a copy although you may already have a duplicate.

I’ve also enclosed copies of my two letters to Mr. Sethi in response, dated June 24th and July 1st.  I did not include here a copy of Brennan Guigue’s December 23, 2016, psychiatrist assessment.

“I can assure you that Health Services are always available to Mr. Guigue, and that he is receiving care in accordance to his actual diagnoses and needs.”  This is how Mr. Sethi ended his letter.  This is blatantly untrue.  On just one point, when did Brennan Guigue last see Dr. Cote?

While this concerns the care Brennan Guigue is not receiving, it exemplifies what is also the case for other inmates in Port-Cartier, and in every Correctional Service of Canada facility from coast to coast to coast.  Numerous studies castigate the Agency’s health care programs as non-compliant with the CCRA mandate, making too often for poor outcomes on the one hand and fodder for litigation on the other.

Would that it was not so.

Charles H. Klassen

Derek Janhevich in Ottawa was copied on those two letters.

July 12, 2022

Derek Janhevich,
Director of Investigations – Ontario & Quebec,
The Office of the Correctional Investigator,
Ottawa, ON  K1P 6L4

Re:      Brennan Guigue

Dear Director Janhevich:

I’ve enclosed two follow-up letters regarding Brennan’s Guigue’s lack of health care at Port-Cartier Institution.

One is to Nadia Pelletier, Health Care Services at Port-Cartier Institution, while the second is to Manjeet Sethi, Assistant Commissioner at CSC NHQ in Ottawa.  I have included here with this only the title page of the 43-page psychiatric assessment that I sent to Mr. Sethi.

Brennan Guigue is writing a rebuttal to the claims the institution and NHQ are making. 

The seesaw exchange over the last two months has focused primarily on Brennan’s effort to access mental health care at Port-Cartier.  There is a back story that exacerbates Brennan’s justifiable indignation at his treatment by Correctional Service of Canada. 

The health care unit has for weeks refused to stabilize his suboxone dosage.  Health care diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation months ago, and then ignored it.  Two-and-a-half years ago, he was told a knee required surgery.  You got it.  He’s waiting.

Is it any wonder there are tens of thousands of us in the community who are outraged at Correctional Service of Canada’s intentional neglect of its obligation to us and to the incarcerated.

Charles H. Klassen

There will be a pause while waiting to receive Brennan Guigue’s rebuttal.

Stay tuned.


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