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Lawsuit filed against Newfoundland and Labrador government regarding 2017 HMP inmate death

Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. — Glen Whiffen/The Telegram
Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's. - SaltWire File Photo
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The estate and family of Douglas Neary, who as an inmate died at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s in August 2017, has filed a lawsuit against the provincial government.

Lawyer Bob Buckingham, who is representing the family and estate, said in a news release that the plaintiffs view the death as “preventable and unnecessary.”

“Mr. Neary was an individual who needed help. He had no criminal record. He was not convicted of any criminal offence,” Buckingham said.

“He was improperly treated while incarcerated and, as set out in the statement of claim, his death was preventable.

“Despite reports going back to inquiries in 1991, following an inmate’s death, followed by the Decades of Darkness review in 2008, little has happened to bring the legislation, governing policy or the people who run the correctional facilities in this province into the modern era of understanding current societal needs when it comes to corrections and how our institutions, especially Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, should be managed.

Buckingham said a lack of a proper legislative framework, inadequate training, and poor management combined to create a recipe for disaster in Neary’s circumstance.

Buckingham said he will utilize all legal means and resources to “expose the antiquated, inhumane and neo-medieval managerial approach to corrections which applies to Her Majesty’s Penitentiary.”

He noted that he will work in conjunction with any other lawyer who files claims against the government on behalf of inmates who recently died while incarcerated in correctional facilities in this province.

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