A five member jury began deliberating this (Friday) morning at a public inquest in Prince George, looking into the death of a prisoner who died during transport on Highway 97 near 100 Mile.
Coroner Lyn Blenkinsop, in giving her instructions to the jury, told them that their job was not to make any findings of legal responsibility or to vindicate anyone, but to make recommendations aimed at preventing a similar death in the future.
Those recommendations will then be forwarded to the Province’s Chief Coroner.
36-year old Alexander Charles Joseph died on October 4th, 2018 of a suspected drug overdose while being transported along with eight other prisoners from Prince George to Maple Ridge.
Prior to the inquest going to the jury, the coroner re-opened proceedings briefly this morning to hear from two more witnesses.
A family member talked about the impact the death of Joseph and the hearing itself has had on those who were close to Joseph.
Brenda Wilson, who has been acting as a liaison between the inquest and the family, had a couple of recommendations of her own for the jury to consider.
One was for there to be more communication with the family on how the inquest itself was going to work to prevent confusion.
The other revolved around having a proper release plan for inmates so they don’t end up back in jail.
Wilson says shelters and treatment centres are full, and inmates are being released onto the streets to fend for themselves.
She says if the supports were in place, the jails wouldn’t be so packed, and there wouldn’t be a need for so many transfers.