Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Tamara Frances Lucier was once waiting for remedy at a psychiatric facility sooner than facing fees, however in the intervening time used to be held in custody within the South West Detention Centre in Windsor, Ont.

She died Dec. 28 in prison.

Now, her family and inmate advocates wish to know the way and why she ended up incarcerated even regardless that she was once by no means convicted of against the law, and a courtroom psychiatrist deemed she needed treatment for a psychological-ailment prior to dealing with the prison device. 

“I misplaced my daughter, and here lately I still have not had a solution, not an apology from the South West Detention Centre,” stated Wilfred Lucier.

“To don’t have any resolution of what came about to my little girl, that is heartbreaking. i will not even describe it to you.”

Officers with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor Basic showed with CBC that a collection of investigations are underway in connection with the death of an inmate that evening. A ministry spokesperson showed an inmate housed within the infirmary was discovered to be in scientific misery on Dec. 28, and was transported to hospital and later said lifeless. they did not title Tamara because the inmate in question.

CBC gave the spokesperson an inventory of questions, but simplest answered that “it is no longer suitable for the ministry to comment publicly further in this case as a number of investigations are underway.”

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Tamara Lucier was deemed undeserving to stand courtroom till she got psychiatric assist, so in the meantime, was once positioned in the South West Detention Centre in Windsor, Ont. She died of cardiac arrest Dec. 28, in step with her father. (Submitted by Kaitlyn Soulliere)

Lucier recalls his 31-year-vintage daughter as a fair and caring one who for years battled sicknesses together with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Her lawyer, Paul Esco, said whilst he was once in the middle of plea bargaining for a bunch of mostly minor charges towards her, a psychiatric evaluation was once ordered by the judge.

The family helped get her launched on bail for a short time, with two sureties in December, however Tamara breached the stipulations, was rearrested and lower back to jail just before Christmas.

The physician’s overview dated Dec. NINE made up our minds Tamara used to be not worthy to stand trial, and it was really useful she be treated at a psychiatric facility for 60 days to toughen her situation so she could face the costs.

Alternatively, in line with Esco and Wilfred Lucier, there have been no long-time period beds to be had till January or February, so the court docket made up our minds she could stay in custody in the meantime.

“She wasn’t sentenced to be in prison,” Esco defined. “She could not be released whilst she used to be found not worthy.”

The psychiatric evaluation urged that Tamara be assessed at the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care in St. Thomas, Ont. 

A consultant for the centre showed to CBC in an e-mail that during December, the centre had decreased capacity because of the impact of COVID-19 on staffing levels, resulting in a “longer-than-standard” wait checklist. 

It has 86 specialised inpatient beds, including SIXTEEN review beds. Eight folks were at the wait listing as of mid-December, and that was once reduced to two as of Jan. 11.

“All Ontario courts have access to the provincial forensic bed registry, which allows them to spot the site of obtainable beds within the province,” the centre consultant wrote. “When there is a wait record, first priority is granted to people who are on a treatment order from the court docket as the treatment needs for those people are continuously important they usually require timely care.”

‘I went hysterical’

Wilfred doesn’t realize much approximately his daughter’s passing, apart from that a physician advised him she died the night of Dec. 28 from cardiac arrest.

“I went hysterical to listen to my daughter used to be long past whilst she must have been safe. She should have been protected. It Is unhappy. So what goes on in them jails?

“The gadget sucks. It Is failed. It’s failed such a lot of other people that’s got mental well being issues. Whilst is the system going to understand that?”

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Wilfred Lucier, with Tamara’s sister Kaitlyn Soulliere, desires solutions approximately Tamara’s death. ‘To haven’t any answer of what took place to my little girl, that is heartbreaking. i can’t even describe it to you,’ he says. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Wilfred said he has called the jail for additional info about Tamara’s demise however isn’t being instructed so much else, even if he is got energy of lawyer.

Esco said the South West Detention Centre is “no longer divulging any data at this time.”

CBC reached out to the centre’s superintendent, however has no longer heard back.

Could Not get her out, no beds

Esco mentioned Tamara were given stuck within the judicial gadget due to a mounting number of infractions.

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Tamara’s legal professional, Paul Esco, says what happened to Tamara marked the first time one in every of his shoppers needed to go into custody even as waiting for a bed in a psychological-well being care facility. (CBC)

Fees integrated assault and attack with a weapon (a door), two mischief fees and no less than 8 breaches, Esco stated.

“She’s no longer a violent person. She was once a very tiny individual. She wasn’t physically bad,” he said.

So Much of the mischief and breach charges were associated with visiting a boyfriend whilst he was dwelling with a discern who had forbidden Tamara from entering the home, Esco said. Following each free up, Tamara could return to the home and face every other arrest, he delivered. 

because the plea bargaining was once still underway when the psychiatric evaluation was once completed, Tamara was once by no means convicted on any of the fees, Esco mentioned.

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Representatives with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor Common showed an inmate died Dec. 28, but wouldn’t supply further information to CBC. (CBC File Photograph)

The lawyer stated this is the first time certainly one of his purchasers has confronted a condition like this one where they had to stay in custody while waiting for a bed in a mental health center. 

“it’s a horrible state of affairs. i have never been in a position to sleep myself,” he said. 

“It’s just sad, and that i simply cannot come to grips on … how she got stuck in the custodial gadget, however it’s simply the best way the whole lot opened up.”

He explained that a massive challenge is that there are systemic issues that paintings towards kids with psychological health problems. He defined that they do not have compatibility into traditional sentencing systems.

Mental health no longer felony issue, recommend says

For Kelly Potvin, govt director at Elizabeth Fry Toronto, a company that supports girls in battle with the regulation, Tamara’s case is concerning. 

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Inmate advocate Kelly Potvin reacts

19 hours ago

Duration 1:36

Kelly Potvin says she believes Tamara Lucier’s human rights had been violated. 1:36

“My first impressions are that her human rights were violated,” she mentioned, adding that is the first time she’s heard of any person installed jail while looking forward to a psychiatric mattress.

“She needed care — that was obtrusive. She did not get care and he or she died,” she mentioned.

“Psychological health is a health issue — it’s not a prison factor. And if somebody in point of fact used to be not fit to stand trial, they needed well being intervention, and not a prison cell or a jail mattress.”

She stated even if she was once within the detention centre’s infirmary, because the observation from the Ministry of the Solicitor Common stated she was, that’s not where you’ll want to be if you are having a mental-health issue. 

“Prison infirmaries are not designed to address best psychological sickness in any respect. they don’t seem to be designed to deal with any kind of leading well being factor.”

Potvin mentioned there may be been other instances of inmates with mental-health problems dying while incarcerated. Delilah Blair, as an example, died by suicide at the South West Detention Centre in 2017.

Ashley Smith ‘hopeless’ weeks sooner than death, inquest instructed’She should have been safe’: Circle Of Relatives on the lookout for answers after girl dies in Windsor, Ont. jail

“i feel we are doing people with mental-health issues an enormous disservice by means of incarcerating them as a result of we are most effective going to add to their illness.”

In Tamara’s case, Potvin expects there’ll be a coroner’s inquest. A loss of life even as in custody robotically triggers an inquest by the Place Of Business of the manager Coroner of Ontario, until the individual died of natural causes. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Solicitor Normal confirmed the coroner’s place of work is investigating.

Family demands answers after woman dies in Windsor, Ont., jail while waiting for psychiatric help

Tamara was once going through charges together with assault and assault with a weapon (a door), two mischief fees and no less than 8 breaches, however she used to be never convicted of anything else, her lawyer says. (Submitted through Kaitlyn Soulliere)

Tamara’s sister, Kaitlyn Soulliere, 17, could also be mourning her loss of life. 

“i used to be truly with reference to her. She was once simply a laugh to hold out with, like, she had such a lot laughter.”

for their father, who’s scuffling with cancer, dropping the eldest of his four children is unfathomable.

Tamara became 31 at the same time as in custody — the first birthday and first Christmas clear of her father.

“It’s onerous,” he said.

The circle of relatives say they are additionally suffering to finance a proper goodbye for Tamara, so they have arrange a crowdfunding web page.

Wilfred desires municipal and upper ranges of government to speculate in more resources to assist inclined individuals like Tamara. 

within the intervening time, the family and Esco are making an allowance for a lawsuit towards the detention centre.

“I would not even communicate this way if i would have had answers right from the beginning,” Wilfred mentioned. 

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