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Memorial at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre shines light on inmate mistreatment

Memorials continue across Ontario at detention centres on Sunday for the past death of Windsor inmate Joe Gratton. .
Memorials continue across Ontario at detention centres on Sunday for the past death of Windsor inmate Joe Gratton. . Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Memorials continue at detention centres across Ontario on Sunday in connection with the death of Windsor inmate Joe Gratton.

Gratton died of a drug overdose behind the bars of the Southwest Detention Centre on Oct. 31.

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC) has joined the province-wide rallies.

“The personal focus is a better treatment for inmates, physical fitness for them, and enabling inmates to actually work on themselves and better themselves,” says George Williams, organizer of the EMDC rally.

READ MORE: Sister of inmate who died at EMDC to walk 180 km to demand changes at troubled jail

The EMDC has had a history of inmate deaths with at least 15 in the last decade.

James Pigeau died due to a suspicious overdose inside the walls of the EMDC in January of 2018.

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Williams was good friends with Pigeau. He believes people need to realize that inmates are mistreated far too often.

“When people go to jail, they’re still somebody’s children, they’re still somebody’s friend.”

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“I know everybody’s looking for justice from people when they make mistakes but everyone needs love and support. When people make mistakes, they’re the people that need it the most.”

READ MORE: Inmate faces charges for the death of Milton prisoner, police say

Williams is hoping Sunday’s memorials at certain detention centres will help educate people on how inmates are truly being treated inside the walls of Ontario cells.

“People are really lacking education in the area of our justice system and how inmates are treated. Inmates need to have access to books, to be able to watch television shows, to be able to have positive things to do with their time.”

Similar rallies will also be taking place Sunday Windsor at 1 p.m., and in Thorold, in the Niagara region.

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