Healthcare Media release Uncategorised

Press release: East Coast Prison Justice Society demands fatality inquiry into the death of Gregory Hiles


August 29, 2019

East Coast Prison Justice Society is calling for a formal Fatality Inquiry into the death of Gregory Hiles last week, after he reportedly attempted suicide at the East Coast Forensic Hospital (ECFH).

We agree with Women’s Wellness Within that an independent, transparent inquiry is required into the conditions of confinement in which Mr. Hiles was held and the health care he received in the weeks prior to his death.  The decision of ECFH management to subject Mr. Hines to extraordinary restrictive conditions was the subject of condemning comment by Justice Ann Smith in response to a June 2019 habeas corpus application brought by Mr. Hiles.

A Fatality Inquiry must determine the specific nature and sources of the injuries causing Mr. Hiles’s death. It should further explore what preventative measures are required in order to ensure that similar tragic deaths in custody do not occur at the ECFH.  Such an inquiry should take specific account of whether reforms are required to law, policy or practice to ensure that the ECFH is fully meeting its duty to protect the health, safety and eventual community reintegration of forensic patients.

We further join with Women’s Wellness Within to demand that the Justice Minister reform the province’s Fatality Investigations Act to mandate that public inquiries be held into all deaths in custody – whether in correctional facilities, police lock-ups, forensic hospitals, or other places of detention.

While reaching beyond Nova Scotia, we take this opportunity to note that Gregory Hiles’ death follows three deaths in custody in the Atlantic Region in 2019: two in Atlantic Institution (Renous, NB) and one at Springhill Institution:

1. February 18, 2019, 27 year old Calvin Kenney (whose death is being treated as a homicide), Atlantic Institution.

2. August 16, 2019, 32 year old Bradley Oliver, Atlantic Institution

3. January 30, 2019, unnamed male prisoner, Springhill Institution    

We remember also Joshua Evans, a 29 year-old man with intellectual disabilities who died by suicide at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility — which shares infrastructure and staff with ECFH – in September, 2018.


Hanna Garson, Chair:

Sheila Wildeman, Co-Vice-Chair:

Michele Cleary, Member: