I was recently reviewing media releases from the Government of Canada, when I noticed one from Correctional Services Canada that announced the death of an inmate.
I was curious to see how many deaths occurred in Canadian prisons during 2022, so I browsed through them all, and here is what I found.
In total, 54 inmates died in custody in 2022.
Of those, 17 died of what CSC called “apparent natural causes”, one of which was specifically from an illness. There were also 7 inmates who died following a serious attack.
The majority of the deaths, however, didn’t have a cause listed. A total of 30 inmates fell under this category.
At the bottom of virtually every media release was the following statement:
As in all cases involving the death of an inmate, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) will review the circumstances. CSC policy requires that the police and the coroner be notified.
So, I was curious if the results of these reviews were public. I reached out to CSC, and I heard back from Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr, a senior media relations advisor with CSC.
Due to privacy concerns, the reviews on deaths in custody are not publically available.
So, it seems that we may never find out why exactly the majority of these inmates died in prison.
Ontario had the highest number of inmate deaths, at a total of 18. followed by BC at 9, and Québec at 8. Alberta was tied for 4th highest with Saskatchewan, both of which had 6 inmates die in custody.
The deaths occurred at 25 institutions, 11 of which saw only 1 death. Millhaven Institution, which is located in Bath, Ontario, saw the highest deaths last year at any one institution. They saw 6 inmates die in custody.
Bath Institution (also in Bath) and Archambault Institution (Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, Quebec) had the second highest number of deaths, at 5. Pacific Institution in Abbotsford, BC, had the third highest at 4.
April and November saw the highest number of deaths in a single month, with both seeing 6 deaths. The lowest deaths seen in a single month was 3, which occurred in January and August.
Nearly all of the inmates who died were in custody because of pretty serious crimes, including murder, assault, arson, robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping. Only 8 were in prison on trafficking charges.
There were 63 deaths of inmates reported by CSC in 2021, 3 of which were specifically classified as COVID-19 deaths.
You can find a list of all the inmates who died in 2022, including sentencing and the crimes they were convicted on, here.