ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- An inmate has died at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in Newfoundland, one of the oldest operating provincial jails in the country.

Officials with the provincial Justice Department confirmed today that the man died after he was taken to hospital on Saturday.

The department said in an email that the inmate's "sudden death" is under investigation.

This is at least the second death at the St. John's penitentiary this year, after another man died at the facility in August, and at least the eighth death to have occurred in the province's jails since 2017.

Her Majesty's Penitentiary first opened in 1859 and its harsh conditions have led provincial court judges to slash time from some offenders' sentences.

However, an October email recently released through access to information legislation says the facility is housing an "unprecedented" number of inmates.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2023.