Canada’s correctional investigator says further investigation will be carried out into the circumstances surrounding the death of Matthew Hines, who was pepper sprayed four times.

Canada’s correctional investigator says the death of Cape Breton man Matthew Hines, who was repeatedly pepper sprayed in the face, raises concerns about how guards restrain inmates.

Howard Sapers said in an interview his office is delving further into the circumstances surrounding the death of 33-year-old Matthew Hines after the release of a board of investigation report into his death last May following a struggle with guards at Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick. “When we took a look at the circumstances surrounding his death it raised some concerns … around the use of force and the medical response to his situation,” said the federal watchdog, who has access to full, uncensored accounts of the deaths.

Sapers said his office was aware of 65 non-natural deaths in federal penitentiaries last year, and he has a deepening concern about the instances of poor medical care both before and after the deaths.

“In too many of these deaths we’re dealing with people with known mental health disorders … These people are at risk and it’s very disturbing to find those similar sets of facts in so many of these deaths,” he said.

“It really does suggest that the Correctional Service of Canada has to make some changes in how it responds to the health needs to … that part of its population.”

A spokeswoman for Correctional Service Canada said the agency was unable to comment on Sapers’ or the family’s concerns by deadline. The agency also hasn’t yet answered inquiries about what measures it has taken in response to the board of inquiry report.

Supplied photo / Wendy Gillis / THE CANADIAN PRESS


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