August 14, 2018 5:49 pm

Smuggled key from EMDC shows ‘poorly managed’ provincial jail: lawyer

Razor wire fence lines the outside of the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, a maximum security prison on Exeter Road, in London on Oct. 18, 2017.

Andrew Russell / Global News

A key that unlocks cells at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre serves as a reminder of the conditions inside the troubled provincial jail.

That’s because, for the past several months, it hasn’t been at the facility. It’s been sitting on the desk of a lawyer who represents many of the jail’s inmates, Kevin Egan.

“It was out of [EMDC’s] possession for at least eight months, probably longer,” said Egan.

READ MORE: London police investigating overdose of seven inmates at EMDC

Egan says this brass key unlocks cells at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, and it was smuggled out of the jail by a released inmate.

Submitted by Kevin Egan

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In order to protect his client, Egan couldn’t say much about how the key was acquired.

“An inmate at EMDC managed to get possession of a key that would operate the locks, or some locks at EMDC, and managed to get it out of the facility.”

Egan says the client was released from jail. He became aware of the key in January, and it didn’t land on his desk until April when he was able to convince the former inmate to give it up so it could be returned.

“He had it in his possession for some months,” Egan said.

“It was missing, and no one seemed to be aware of it.”

READ MORE: ‘I forgive you,’ Adam Kargus’s mom confronts killer before he’s sentenced to life in prison

Not until Friday at least, when Egan said the jail’s head of security came by his office to pick it up.

“It’s just so poorly managed,” said Egan.

The heavy brass key has a serial number on it. Egan said that’s because it’s meant to be under strict management.

“You could say they keep dropping the ball, but I don’t think they’ve picked it up in a long time.”

Though overcrowding inside the facility has eased up a little bit, said Egan, there are still 24 beds inside units designed for 10 beds.

He says he continues to receive reports about violence.

Earlier this month, seven inmates from the same range were taken to hospital after overdosing on opiates at the same time.

Since 2009, 13 inmates have died at the facility.

WATCH: 7 inmates overdose at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (August 9)

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