MISSION (NEWS 1130) — A federal inmate at the Mission Institution died of the coronavirus on April 15 amid a large outbreak at the facility.
At last check, 106 people had contracted COVID-19, including inmates, corrections officers, and employees.
A large number of groups, including the BC Civil Liberties Association, have now signed a letter directed at the provincial government, provincial chief coroner and solicitor general to launch an inquest into the death.
BC CLA Executive Director Harsha Walia says the pandemic affects everyone, even the inmates who have been removed from society.
“The one thing that we’ve learned is that Covid can simply not be contained. What’s going to happen in prisons will spread out into all the different communities. We can’t say ‘I don’t care if so and so gets COVID as long as I don’t get it.’ – that’s not how the virus works,” Walia says.
The Correctional Service of Canada has also come under fire for the way the pandemic has been handled at the facility.
Thirty-eight rights groups have claimed CSC never did implement proper safety measures and distancing rules, and still had prisoners eating meals in common areas.
Walia told OMNI that a federal class-action suit has now been filed on behalf of prisoners at the Institution.
“It’s basically saying that prisoners don’t have control over their conditions and that the government and Corrections Canada who have control over their lives failed to protect the inmates and those working in prisons.”