Families looking for change after death in Windsor jail

South West Detention Centre (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Rallies are being held outside jails in southwestern Ontario this weekend to push the government to implement changes in the detention system to prevent deaths while incarcerated.

On October 30, 2019, Joe Gratton passed away while at the South West Detention Centre.

When Angela Case heard of the death, she organized the rallies in Niagara, London, Hamilton and Windsor. Case’s son Jordan was 22 when he died from a drug overdose at the Niagara Detention Centre in December 2018.

“Everybody makes mistakes and it shouldn’t be a death sentence. Yeah my son made mistakes but he had a whole life ahead of him,” said Case. ”

Jordan had been arrested for theft but had not been tried or convicted.

“There have been over 500 deaths in Ontario jails, 65 per cent of them are legally innocent and there could be things in place to keep these people alive. Reform them, help them and have them leave those doors,” said Case.

She says more needs to be done to give people with mental health and addiction problems support. She’d also like more done to keep drugs out of the system.

“I thought he was safe in there, and that he would clean up and get out and change his life around. But who knew that it’s easier to get it in there then it is on the street half the time,” said Case.

Case and other families have met with the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Sylvia Jones but say nothing came out of the meeting and they continue to be ignored.

“We’re getting nowhere. All these inquests are being done and people are dying and the recommendations are coming out from the coroner’s inquests and they’re not being taken serious,” said Case.

The rally at the South West Detention Centre is at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, November 10, 2019. Gratton’s family is in support of the rally but do not wish to be interviewed.