Treat mentally ill inmates better, Alberta judge says
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 7, 2012 1:39PM EST
EDMONTON - A judge says Alberta Health Services and the RCMP should do a better job of protecting people in custody with mental health problems.
The finding is in a fatality report into the December 2007 death of Sylvie Latimer, who hanged herself in a cell at a detachment in Airdrie, Alta.
Latimer, who was bipolar and had a history of suicide attempts, was arrested two days after being released from the Calgary Remand Centre.
Judge Anne Brown says the Airdrie cells didn't have surveillance cameras, a guard failed to check on Latimer and her medical problems weren't noted in the police computer.
The judge notes the use of informally and inconsistently trained commissionaires as guards and recommends a formal training program.
She also suggests creating a mental health databank for police and adds the province should close cells that aren't equipped with cameras.