Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Surrey Pretrial Services Centre is the subject of yet another human rights complaint lodged by an inmate.

The pretrial centre has been the target of several largely unsuccessful human rights complaints over the past couple of years. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed part of this latest case but another aspect of it will proceed to a hearing.

Surrey Pretrial is a remand centre for inmates awaiting trial or sentencing related to criminal charges and anywhere from 400 to 500 people are incarcerated there at any given time.

Kevin Miller lodged a complaint against Surrey Pretrial for refusing to provide him with a second mattress to assist him in managing arthritis pain despite his doctor having recommended one.

“Second, he says that the respondents failed to provide him with reasonable access to mental health services,” Tribunal member Emily Ohler noted in her Dec. 2 reasons for decision.

READ ALSO: Surrey Pretrial inmate claims staff left him handcuffed during

epileptic seizure

READ ALSO: Surrey Pretrial inmate lodges human rights complaint for not being fed kosher food

READ ALSO: Transgender inmate loses court case against Surrey Pretrial

Miller filed his complaint against the centre, the Provincial Health Services Authority and Chiron Health Services but Ohler dismissed his complaint against the two health agencies. She also dismissed his complaint related to mental disability but decided his physical disability complaint, concerning a period from Sept. 6, 2017 to Dec. 11, 2017 will proceed.

All three respondents denied discriminating. The pretrial told the tribunal that an extra mattress is a security concern inside a prison because it can be used to hide contraband, to clog plumbing or hide what’s going on in an inmate’s cell by propping it against the door.

Ohler also noted the pretrial centre argued an extra mattress might “increase tension between incarcerated people by acting as a status symbol or a resource to trade.”

READ ALSO: Transgender inmate makes human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

READ ALSO: Human Rights Tribunal rejects Surrey inmate’s sex discrimination complaint

READ ALSO: A look at Surrey Pretrial’s storied history

The tribunal heard that on Sept. 6, 2017 Miller saw a doctor who recommended a second mattress for him, he didn’t get one, and that he saw a doctor on Dec. 11, 2017 who declined his request for one. Miller managed to somehow sneak a second mattress into his cell but it was confiscated. He was released from custody on Jan. 15, 2018.

In the end, Ohler decided against the pretrial’s application to have Miller’s complaint dismissed.

“I am not persuaded that there is no reasonable prospect that Mr. Miller could succeed in establishing that Corrections’ denial of a second mattress breached the Code,” she said.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CorrectionSurrey

Just Posted

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

The Great Gordini puts on a magic show for an avid audience during the first Storytime in the Park in this 2019 photo. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)
Storytime in the Park returns this summer

Day 1 registration is on June 30

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
‘Springsteen on Broadway’ clears way for AstraZeneca recipients to attend show

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read