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Inmate dies in custody at Saskatchewan Penitentiary

Another inmate has died at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. On March 9, Curtis McKenzie died while in custody.

Another inmate has died at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. 

On March 9, Curtis McKenzie died while in custody.

At the time of his death, McKenzie, 27, was serving a federal sentence of two years and one day for breach of recognizance and break and enter (not a dwelling house). He started his sentence on May 30, 2018.

Correctional Service Canada says the inmate’s next of kin was notified of his death. They didn’t state, however, how he died. 

There were 51 inmate deaths in custody in Canada in 2018-19, according to an annual report by the Canadian prison watchdog tabled in Parliament Feb.18, 2020.

There were three other deaths at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in as many years. On May 23, 2017, Saskatchewan Penitentiary staff found Curtis Cozart, 30, hanging in his cell. He was declared dead at 10:50 p.m. on May 24, 2017, in a Prince Albert hospital. 

An inquest was held Feb. 24-27, 2020, in Prince Albert. The six-person jury recommended that guards be allowed to call 911. They also recommended that these changes in policy for correctional officers be confirmed by signature with each officer signing that he has read and understands the changes.

Another inquest is scheduled this year into the death of Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmate Daniel Tokarchuk. It is set for April 27 in Prince Albert. Tokarchuk died on June 7, 2017.

On March 5, 2020, a Prince Albert Court of Queen’s Bench judge found Tyler Vandewater guilty of second-degree murder in the 2017 death of his cellmate, Christopher Van Camp, 37.

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Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist

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