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Jury recommends better surveillance, safety measures following Kalin Holonics death inquest

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The public inquest into the death of Kalin Dean Holonics concluded on Wednesday with a verdict from the jury.

The 25-year-old man from Estevan was found dead in his cell at the Regina Correctional Centre on July 9, 2020.

The public inquiry was heard from a total of six jurors, who gave their verdict late Wednesday afternoon.

The jury determined through the evidence provided that Kalin Dean Holonics died between the hours of 12:30 a.m., and 5:30 a.m., and the manner of the death was accidental.

The jury also presented a list of 11 recommendations for the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and the Regina Correctional Centre.

The recommendations for the ministry included:

  • Enact a drone policy within 500 metres of the correctional centre
  • Public inquests occur closer to incident 120 days to six months
  • Add additional fencing around the correctional centre to prevent throw overs
  • Correctional officers must receive additional training every two years for CPR, first-aid, and naloxone. The training must be in person.

The recommendations for the Regina Correctional Centre included:

  • Improve all camera technology inside and outside.
  • Check list for correctional officers during their hourly checks. Including references to lights on/off, sleeping, position of sleeping.
  • Add an additional body scanner near the doors where inmates go outside to perform duties.
  • Review size of windows within doors and install larger windows.
  • Pilot project a full time drug dog for one year and look at results.
  • Change terminology for inmates working outside from “outside gangs” to “outside team or crew”.
  • Investigate use of heart rate risk band to monitor inmate.

The recommendations will be sent to the coroner’s office before being sent to their respective organizations.

Prior to the verdict, the jury heard testimony from the Director of the Regina Correctional Centre Darrell Olbrich.

During the testimony, emotions were prevalent while Olbrich answered questioned on training, policy, and drugs.

A month prior to Holonics death, the province of Saskatchewan implemented a new policy mandating correctional staff do hourly checks on inmates.

On the night of Holonics death, checks were only done at 12:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m., and 5:00 a.m.

The Regina Correctional Centre implemented the policy shortly after Holonics death.

Olbrich’s answers unsettled members of the public, some of whom were family members of Holonics.

Crying and yelling could be heard outside of the inquest walls as Olbrich responded to questions about policy and drugs.

The director also said he saw no issue with correctional officers performing the checks throughout the night of Holonics death, saying they were up to policy standard.

Correction officers must identify skin, however looking for signs of life are not written into the policy.

Olbirch also said he is aware of the problem of “throw overs.”

A "throw over" references illegal drugs being thrown over prison walls, which are then picked up by inmates who smuggle the drugs back inside the correctional centre and sell them to other inmates.

Olbirch said the correctional centre has taken precautions to stop “throw overs” in the last several months.

According to Olbrich, nets, extended walls, scanners, as well as photocopying mail before distributing it to inmates are precautions that the correctional centre has taken to prevent drugs from getting into the facility.

Olbrich did agree that further training could benefit correctional officers.

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