February 5, 2019 10:05 am

‘I was shackled in a van for almost 8 hours’: Inmate calls for changes to prison transport vehicles

A Bath Institution inmate is suing the federal government after he says he was shackled and cramped into a 'sardine-can style' prisoner transport van.

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A routine trip to the Kingston, Ont., appeal court turned into nearly eight gruelling hours shackled and cramped in a prisoner transport vehicle, an allegation made by 65-year-old Bath Institution inmate, Edwin Nott.

READ MORE: Ill inmate sues federal government for van trip in ‘barbaric cage’

The alleged incident occurred on February 7, 2018, where Nott says he was waiting to stand in front of a judge to appeal his prior conviction; not only did he not get his time in court, he fell ill.

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“They stuffed me into this transport van, shackling my wrists and ankles so I could not move.”

Nott continued on to say, “After a few hours, I began to panic because I’m ill and have a heart condition and I thought they forgot about me,” said Nott about his experience in the small prisoner transport vehicle.

READ MORE: ‘We need answers’: Lawsuit filed after Brooklyn inmates left without heating amid polar vortex

Once the officers came to retrieve Nott from the van, he says he required medical attention because of chest pains that needed nitroglycerin spray. Nott also says he had reduced blood-sugar levels, was dehydrated, and suffered ruptured blood vessels on both wrists from the shackles.

Due to this experience, Nott is suing the federal government for compensation.

     “I’m looking for $1 million for pain and suffering,” said Nott.

In the interview with Global News’ Kraig Krause, Nott displayed how he was shackled, hunched over, and pressed against his walker in the transport van.

Image of a similar van.

Correctional Service of Canada

Although, the lawsuit is personal for Nott, he also wants corrections to change its practices. It’s a demand that is echoed by federal prison ombudsman Ivan Zinger, who says he has been following prisoner transport safety for many years.

“The aluminum and stainless-steel compartment where shackled prisoners sit en route to court or medical appointments “is totally devoid of any comfort or safety feature, including seatbelts,” Zinger wrote in his 2016-17 annual report.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Attempt murder charges laid against 4 inmates at Millhaven Institution for separate incidents

After Zinger’s criticism of the “tin can” minivans in his annual report in 2017, the correctional service said it would replace the security escort vehicles to reflect industry advancements.

“We [The Correctional Service of Canada] are working with the vehicle supplier to develop a security escort prototype that is both similar in size to the ones used by the RCMP and adapted to the correctional environment,” wrote the Correctional Service of Canada via email.

Corrections would not speak about Nott’s lawsuit, citing the Privacy Act.

READ MORE: OPP tactical team escorts high-risk offender to Kingston General Hospital for treatment

Nott is expected to be released from Bath Institution in August, and is hoping that his lawsuit will ensure that no other prisoner will endure the pain he did on that winter day in 2018.

“The correctional investigator called it a sardine can and it is a sardine can, you can’t move. That is just not right,” said Nott.

Corrections told Global News that it anticipates all small minivans serving as security escorts will be removed from duty by March 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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