Remand Centre staff put inmate's safety at risk by refusing medication, parents say

Remand Centre staff put inmate's safety at risk by refusing medication, parents say

The parents of a Winnipeg man say their son's safety is at risk after staff at the Winnipeg Remand Centre refused to accept his prescription medication.

"He's going to get hurt and it's going to be their fault," said Patricia Griffiths-Corley, the mother of 22-year-old Jonathan Griffiths-Walker.

He has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, and has been on prescription medications for most of his life.

Currently, Griffiths-Walker takes three separate medications for his conditions.

"It makes all the difference in the world, it's like night and day. When he's on his medication he thinks clearly, he behaves well, he acts like a very polite person in society," said Griffiths-Corley.

She first heard from her son Wednesday night around 5 p.m., after he was taken into custody at the Remand Centre on a weapons-related charge. Her husband, John Corley, then called the Remand for details on a possible release and to let staff know about their son's medical needs.

Staff there told Corley over the phone that he could bring Griffiths-Walker's prescription medication in the morning, but when he arrived with the pills in their original packaging, he says they were refused.

"The lady told me it really wasn't her call or her concern whether the medication was administered to my son," said Corley.

He says he was then informed that a doctor at the Remand Centre was aware of his son's medications and was prescribing one of them but would not be administering the other two. Corley says all three medications must be taken together to be effective.

"Without the medication he becomes violent and he doesn't really understand what he's doing. He has very bad impulse control," said Corley.

Griffiths-Corley says her son also had his prescription glasses taken away and is "unable to see anything at all."

Manitoba Justice declined to answer any questions regarding the case.

"Manitoba Justice takes the health of inmates in our custody very seriously. We are required to protect personal health information and are not able to provide or confirm specific details about an individual's medical history or issues, including medication," said a spokesperson for Manitoba Justice.

First time in remand

Navigating the justice system is a new experience for Corley and Griffiths-Corley. This is the first time their son has been in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre.

Griffiths-Corley says her son was able to get a lawyer. She is now trying to wrap her head around what comes next.

"I can't do anything about it, but as a mother I feel absolutely heartbroken because I can't help my son," she said.

"The whole reason this child is in the situation he's in is because he has a disability that prevents him from being able to make good decisions. He has been this way all of his life. He's already made the choices that led him to getting in jail in the first place, and now they're telling me they're not even going to give him his medication and it's not even their concern?" she said.

"I've been fighting this battle for him on his behalf for 22 years, and I can only fight so much if the system is against me."