Adhering to procedure
|Authority||Prince George Regional Correctional Centre, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General|
When Carol wasn’t wearing her dentures, she kept them wrapped in tissue in a cup in her cell at Prince George Correctional Centre. One day she returned to her cell and her dentures, and the styrofoam cup they were in, was gone. When Carol called us we asked her to explain what she thought had happened to her dentures. She told us she kept them in a cup because the canteen doesn’t sell denture cream so she can’t wear them. She believed that staff had thrown them out during a cell inspection. Carol had complained to the Centre and to the Investigation and Standards Office and asked to have her dentures replaced but the video of the removal of belongings from her cell didn’t identify what was discarded, so the Centre said it wasn’t responsible and it wouldn’t replace her dentures. We were concerned about the refusal to replace the dentures but we were also curious about the lack of denture cream. No cream means no dentures.
The centre confirmed that they were aware that Carol had the dentures, but their investigation was unable to confirm the complainant’s claim that they had been thrown out during a cell inspection. There is no requirement for Correctional Officers to document each item that is removed from the cells so there was no record of what had been discarded. They also told us that inmates usually have bins for their personal belongings. Carol told us she had asked for a bin but none were available. The centre could not explain why they were not available and confirmed that there are currently bins available. Carol had made two health care requests specifically asking for denture adhesive but none was provided. Instead, a soft diet was recommended. The complainant made four additional health care requests for a soft diet due to issues with ill-fitting dentures as a result of not being able to obtain denture adhesive. None of the six requests resulted in the provision of dental adhesive or a referral to a dentist. The centre explained that past experiences with denture adhesive had not been positive as inmates were using it for purposes other than for their dentures. As a result the canteen and health care removed denture adhesive from the items they supply. However, the Centre explained that they did take steps to accommodate loose-fitting dentures by providing denture adhesive if an inmate was assessed in health care as needing it.
Health care was to provide it during daily medication rounds. This procedure had been implemented approximately four years earlier when the centre decided to withdraw denture adhesive from the canteen. PGRCC could not explain why this complainant was not provided denture adhesive when it was requested, although one reason may have been the lack of written procedure on how to deal with inmates with dentures. As a result of our investigation, the complainant saw a dentist and received a new set of dentures. PGRCC added a new Standard Operating Procedure to their Inmate Information Guide whereby inmates will be assessed in health care regarding their need for denture adhesive which will be provided daily during morning medication rounds. We also confirmed that there was a supply of bins available for inmates who needed one.