Rally for change held outside of Southwest Detention Centre
Published Sunday, November 10, 2019 5:02PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 10, 2019 9:07PM EST
WINDSOR -- It's been the site of at least four overdoses since Oct. 30 including a fatal overdose.
A group held a rally outside the Southwest Detention Centrre in Windsor on Sunday afternoon.
"They need to be safe while they're incarcerated. Ministry of Corrections is 100 per cent being held accountable," said Lisa Whitehead.
Family and friends who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses in jails are calling for action.
"When your son or daughter goes into jail you expect them to come out," she said.
A group of 20 stood outside the jail voicing their concerns.
CTV News has confirmed there have been "at least" four overdoses at the Southwest Detention Centre since Oct. 30, all related to the potentially fatal drug fentanyl.
But the Ministry of Corrections has not responded to questions about how the drugs entered the jail.
"We're mystified that these drugs keep getting in, but there's obviously a problem," said Whitehead.
Joe Gratton is one of the four inmates who overdosed and died.
Whitehead tells CTV News his family is devastated.
"He's a young man. There's no reason to have lost a life," she said.
OPSEU says while workers have saved numerous lives, health care shortages at the detention centre have been an ongoing challenge.
Rallies like the one in Windsor were held across the province.
In London, grieving family members of deceased inmates gathered by the crosses outside Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre including Judy Struthers whose grandson died at EMDC.
"My husband and I have been here every week, sometimes twice a week for the past year and a half," she said.
They also want government officials to step up, and stop drugs from entering the jails.
Lawyer Kevin Egan, who represents most of these families says many of those who have died behind bars aren't addicts.
"They are faced with overcrowding and violence and a culture that leads them to a different place. They take whatever is going around and sometimes that's a drug that might kill them," said Egan.