Urban Warrior Alliance wants WRC to review protocols around access to medication for people in custody
May 12, 2016
Community activists in Winnipeg are calling for an inquest into the death of Errol Green, a 26-year-old father of three, after he was detained in the Winnipeg Remand Centre (WRC) for three days without his epilepsy medication.
“I can just envision what he was going through. I was sick in jail myself, years ago, and it was the same. Neglect in jail,” said Harrison Friesen-Powder, a member of Urban Warrior Alliance, a grassroots activist group in Winnipeg.
Friesen-Powder said he saw first hand the difficulty in accessing medical help while in custody at the WRC. A family member who is currently incarcerated was also denied prescription medicine for a diagnosed mental illness, he said.
Guys will wait for days to see a doctor– Harrison Friesen-Powder
“Normally you go into the jail, you go to intake, they ask you medical questions. Then you have to request forms to ask to see a doctor, to get your medication and then that takes time whether it’s 24, 48, 72 hours longer. Guys will wait for days to see a doctor,” said Friesen-Powder.
Stories of mistreatment and neglect are common within correctional systems, according to Friesen-Powder, who said he hears those types of stories all the time. While some of the mistreatment is related to race, the denial of medication is a systemic problem, he said.
“The issue is there’s a gap or something not working in their system as far as how they’re handling inmates. Whether it’s physical illness or mental illness, it all goes back down to the medication and the treatment of inmates in general,” said Friesen-Powder.
The Winnipeg Remand Centre has not provided a spokesperson on its protocols surrounding inmate access to medication despite requests from CBC.
A rally for Errol Green in front of the Winnipeg Remand Centre is planned for Friday at 1 p.m. Through the rally, Urban Warrior Alliance wants to bring awareness to the mistreatment of inmates and show support for Green’s family, said Friesen-Powder.