June 21, 2019 8:35 pm

Family of inmate who died at Quinte Detention Centre speaks out

Hendrik Ryskamp died while incarcerated at Quinte Detention Centre.

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According to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Henrik Ryskamp was found unresponsive in his cell at the Quinte Detention Centre on March 18.

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital and pronounced dead.

Lennox and Addington OPP began an investigation into Ryskamp’s death and this week, they charged 41-year-old Barry Kerlovich with manslaughter, trafficking and possession of opioids.

According to the victim’s family, the correctional system let them down.

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“You blame him [Kerlovich] for somebody else [Ryskamp] doing drugs. I don’t think that’s fit. That shouldn’t be how the justice system works. I think the jail should be obligated to take some sort of blame” says Tyler Meeks, Ryskamp’s best friend.

READ MORE: OPP lay manslaughter, opioid charges following inmate death at Quinte Detention Centre

According to Meeks, Rsykamp was known to use illegal drugs.

Authorities have not revealed the cause of Ryskamp’s death behind bars, but Meeks says Ryskamp and the accused were cellmates at the time.

“Whatever he took, it didn’t go well and he went to sleep and didn’t get up off the floor.”

Family and friends say they’ve been suffering with the loss of their beloved “Henry” who was described as a hard worker who was passionate about music.

Ryskamp’s mother Janda Lee Ryskamp says: “I lose my breath every day.”

READ MORE: Death of inmate prompts changes at Burnside jail

The victim’s mother and friend say they don’t blame Kerlovich for what happened and have been supporting him at his court dates.

They call it a tragic accident supported by a system that, in their words, is broken.

“There’s not enough counselling, just not enough support for the individual to learn how to be better for the life that he is waiting for,” says Ryskamp’s mother.

Even though they say Ryskamp spent much of his adult life behind bars, those who knew him say losing him has been like losing a part of their lifeline.

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