OTTAWA and ST JOHN'S, Jan. 14, 2020 /CNW/ - Samantha Piercey died alone in her cell on May 26, 2018 while held in remand at the Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women in Clarenville. She was 28 years old at the time of her death and left behind two children.
Samantha's mother Lisa Piercey has searched tirelessly for answers to explain her daughter's death. The family believes her death was preventable.
Samantha had battled mental health. Her depressive tendencies and suicide ideations were well-known to correctional staff at the Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women.
The Statement of Claim alleges that on May 26, 2018, the day of Samantha's death, she was upset and showing atypical behaviour. In response, Samantha was disciplined, and confined to her cell.
Correctional staff completed an institutional count between 6:30pm and 7:00pm. Samantha was included in the count. Staff conducted a visual count at 7:32pm and Samantha was again included in that count.
Correctional staff conducted another count at approximately 8:30pm with inmates standing outside their cell doors. As Samantha was confined to her cell due to the disciplinary matter, she could not stand outside her cell door. The Correctional Officer performing the count did not look into the window of the cell to observe Samantha in the count.
Around 9:15pm, correctional staff walked down the range to let inmates back into their cells. When they opened Samantha's cell, Samantha was found hanging from a bedsheet from the ceiling.
The Statement of Claim alleges the Defendants failed to provide Samantha with proper and appropriate health care to treat her well-known mental health problems.
The Statement of Claim further alleges that instead of providing Samantha with appropriate psychological and mental health treatment, the Defendants instead disciplined Samantha by confining her to her cell to deal with her issues.
Lisa Piercey is concerned the Newfoundland correctional system lacks appropriate infrastructure, legislation, policies, and political will to deal with and treat prisoners with complex mental health conditions. She is further concerned the laws and regulations governing the provincial prison system are outdated and do not reflect the needs of women prisoners and the needs of prisoners with complex mental health issues.
Ms. Piercey's condolences go out to the other families who have died in correctional facilities in the province. She promises to work tirelessly to bring about changes to the correctional system and secure appropriate treatment and help for inmates — exactly what was denied to Samantha. She hopes bringing attention to Samantha's death will save other families from experiencing the pain she and her family have endured from her daughter's death.
SOURCE Nelligan O'Brien Payne