Coroner inquest to be held into Feb. 2020 inmate death

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) says Correctional Service Canada (CSC) didn't address Curtis McKenzie's suicidal tendencies. While in solitary confinement, he cut off his own nose with a razor blade and flushed it down the toilet. (Curtis McKenzie/Facebook)

A public inquest into the sudden death of a Saskatchewan Penitentiary inmate will held at the end of October to find solutions on preventing similar deaths in the future.

Curtis McKenzie, 27, was found unresponsive in his cell on February 26, 2020. Medical personnel responded and transported him to the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, where he was later pronounced deceased on March 9.

The inquest into McKenzie’s death will be held from October 31 to November 4 at the Coronet Hotel in Prince Albert. The first day is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Subsequent start times will be determined by the presiding coroner, Tim Hawryluk.

“Section 20 of The Coroners Act, 1999 states that the Chief Coroner shall hold an inquest into the death of a person who dies while an inmate at a jail or a correctional facility, unless the coroner is satisfied that the person’s death was due entirely to natural causes and was not preventable,” according to a media release from the provincial government.

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service is responsible for the investigation of all sudden, unexpected deaths. The purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when and where that person died and the medical cause and manner of death. The coroner’s jury may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.