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Deaths in correctional facilities trending upward, BC Coroners Service says

May 23, 2024  By The Canadian Press

May 23, 2024, Burnaby, B.C. – The BC Coroners Service says inmate deaths in the province have been trending upward.

The agency says the deaths of 188 people in provincial and federal correctional facilities were reported between Jan. 1, 2013, and Dec. 31, 2023.

It says that while the annual average during that time period was 17 deaths, 25 inmates died in 2023.

By comparison, 11 inmate deaths were reported in 2013.


The coroners’ service says 60 per cent of deaths during the 10-year time frame were classified as natural, followed by 18 per cent as accidental and 15 per cent as suicides.

The agency notes that its data is preliminary and also excludes deaths at halfway houses, in police custody and at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital.

It says 60 per cent of the deaths occurred at federal facilities, with the Pacific Institution in Abbotsford recording by far the most, at 64, followed by the Mission Institution with 15.

Among provincial facilities, it says the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam saw the highest total with 23 deaths, while the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre had 20.

The coroners’ service says about 72 per cent of the 188 people who died were aged 30-69, and all but three of them were male.

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