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Faqiri family calls out Ontario government for lack of action on inquest recommendations

Five months after a coroner’s inquest into the death of a mentally ill man at an Ontario jail, his family says the province has failed to implement any of the dozens of recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.

In December, jurors at the inquest into the death of Soleiman Faqiri issued 57 recommendations meant to improve oversight of the correctional service and access to mental-health care for those in it.

They also ruled Faqiri’s death on Dec. 15, 2016 to be a homicide, a finding his family said brought them validation they had sought for years.

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But Faqiri’s brother, Yusuf Faqiri, says the province has not fulfilled any of the recommendations – including what he calls the “easiest one,” a call for a statement recognizing jails are not an appropriate environment for people with significant mental health issues, which came with a 60-day deadline.

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A spokesperson for the Solicitor General did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Soleiman Faqiri was arrested in early December 2016 after allegedly stabbing a neighbour while experiencing a mental health crisis. He died after a violent struggle with correctional officers that broke out as they were escorting him from the shower to his segregation cell.

The inquest heard that Faqiri, who had schizophrenia, appeared increasingly unwell during his time at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., and many correctional and medical staff members expressed concerns about him.

However, Faqiri was never taken to a hospital, nor did he see a psychiatrist, the inquest heard.

Recommendations issued in a coroner’s inquest are not binding and the finding of homicide carries no legal liability.

&© 2024 The Canadian Press

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