Did that really happen?

Authority Surrey Pretrial Services Centre, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

Tom contacted us to complain that he had been removed from his cell, sprayed with pepper spray and dragged down the hall with more pepper spray sprayed down his throat. He said he vomited blood and was taken to the hospital. He couldn’t provide an exact date when this happened but said it was six to ten days earlier. We reviewed all the available documentation and video from the incident Tom described. The cell extraction occurred eight weeks before his complaint. While video of the extraction was still available, the hallway video, where Tom said pepper spray had been sprayed down his throat, was no longer available. The Centre told us that policy requires audio video recordings to be retained when control tactics such as pepper spray are used. The hallway was not part of the cell extraction so it was not kept. It would have been available closer to the time of the incident.

Without the hallway video, we were unable to confirm Tom’s report of what happened. We did confirm that staff took photos of his injuries as required by policy and that he was taken to hospital following the incident and assessed by a doctor however the medical records did not mention an assault. Staff at the centre acknowledged that retaining the audio and video recordings of the entire event – the extraction and the escort down the hallway to the health unit – would protect both inmates and staff. In response to our investigation, the centre’s Standard Operating Procedures were amended so that the officer in charge reviews all video of incidents and downloads all relevant audio and video. A review of procedures in other centres is currently underway.

Category Corrections
Type Case Summary