health unit
health unit

Jury makes 38 recommendations during inquest into Indigenous woman’s death while in custody

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide.

A jury of four has made 38 recommendations in the coroner’s inquest examining the jail death of Delilah Blair, including recognition that inmates phoning loved ones shouldn’t be viewed as a privilege.

Blair died by hanging as an inmate at the South West Detention Center (SWDC) in Windsor, Ont., on May 21, 2017. She was in the mental health unit.

The jury heard Blair, a 30-year-old mother of four, made at least two written requests to speak with her mother, Selina McIntyre, in the weeks before her death. McIntyre lived more than 4,000 kilometers away in Hay River, NWT Blair was an Indigenous woman of Cree ancestry with an Inuit upbringing.

Blair filled out this inmate request form asking to speak with her mother on May 7, 2017, two weeks before her death. Jail staff did not fill out the reply section, so it’s unclear what action was taken, if any. (Coroner’s request)

Those requests weren’t fulfilled and McIntyre tested the first time she even knew her daughter was in jail was when someone called to say she was dead.

“My daughter was going to tell me something and I’ll never hear those words from her. It seemed to be she was silenced for some reason,” McIntyre previously told CBC News.

WATCH | Delilah Blair’s mother speaks about daughter’s death:

Selina McIntyre talks about the ‘most hurtful part’ of listening to the inquest into her daughter’s death

Delilah Blair, 30, died by suicide in May, 2017 while she was an inmate at the South West Detention Centre. Her death is the subject of a coroner’s inquest.

The jury has recommended the Ministry of the Solicitor General, which oversees jails, to update policies so an inmate’s access to a phone is not considered a

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