The inmate asks the prison staff to call his mother, but is never called

Written by Javed Iqbal

The jury in the investigation into the death of 30-year-old Delilah Blair continues in Windsor.

Warning: Contains graphic content.

On at least two occasions, Blair asked in writing to speak to his mother in the Northwest Territories of the Southwest Detention Center (SWDC).

“May I please call my mother?” Blair writes in a note dated May 7, 2017. “I need someone to talk to. Please and thank you. “

In another written request, Blair asks to speak to his mother, Selina McInytre “to see how she is doing”. That note is dated May 16th.

The jury has heard evidence that these calls were not made and Blair had no visitors to SWDC while in jail.

Blair died of suicide in his cell on May 21, 2017.

During the investigation, evidence was presented to suggest that Blair tore her prison-issued bedding into strips, tied it in knots and hung herself from the bookcase in his cell.

Included in the exhibition titled “Prisoner Requests,” Blair also asked for her streetwear for her upcoming conviction for a robbery conviction, asked for access to Bible studies and schoolwork.

Blair also asked on April 22 to see the prison doctor write “I need mood stabilizers because I’m going crazy! My mood is completely out of control.”

The requests are just some of the papers submitted to the jury for consideration. They are tasked with making recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

Lawyers have also provided reports on Blair from prison staff, including an inmate observation sheet.

Between April 4, when she was hospitalized, and May 21, when she died, Blair’s actions range from “odd” to “quiet” and even “unstable.”A detective inside the Southwest Detention Center checks Delilah Blair’s well-being on May 21, 2017. The image is a still image of surveillance footage shown to a jury during the investigation into Blair’s death. (Courtesy: Coroner’s Office)

The sheet also contains a notation “extremely unstable from good mood to bad mood at a moment’s notice.”

One day Blair is noted for having a good day, where he spoke appropriately with the staff.

But next, Blair is described as argumentative and refuses to attend court hearings.

On April 20, Blair allegedly covered the window to her cell door, threw fruit against the window, and threatened to throw a body fluid at the officers if she did not get “real food.”

The next day, officers found a screw in her cell and she spoke to a psychiatrist.

Shortly afterwards, Blair was transferred from the female mental health department and put in solitary confinement for 10 days.

When she returned to the female mental health department, staff noticed no serious problems with Blair and wrote “no problems” throughout the month of May.

On two occasions, Blair was locked in her call due to staff shortages.

Another exhibit is an Inmate Care Plan, which was written in January 2017, but lawyers have not yet told the jury why Blair was jailed for one day.

In it, the author noted that Blair should be monitored for depression, anxiety and psychosis.

Selina McIntyre lives in Hay River, North West Territories. Her daughter, Delilah Blair, died after being admitted to the Southwest Detention Center. (CTV News Windsor)

Correctional officer Denis Dupuis testified Thursday that it is “uncommon” for officers to read paperwork like the prison care plan through, nor would they search for an inmate’s historical details while in their custody.

“We rely more on verbal communication (between CO’s AT shift shifts),” Dupuis testified.

He also told the jury he was not aware of Blair’s status as a native.

Dupuis was the second CO to try to save Blair’s life.

He told the jury he removed the bedding from the bookshelf, told his partner, Detective James Wright, that he should put her on his bed to begin CPR.

Dupuis told the jury he quickly realized it would not be effective and they placed her on the floor to try to revive her.

During a break in the investigation, Dupuis approached Delilah Blair’s family and offered a heartfelt apology to his mother, Selina McIntyre.

Dupuis agreed with Inquest Counsel Jonathan Lall that it is always better to have more information when caring for an inmate, but he noted that he did not think anything could have prevented Blair’s death.

“I do not see how you can avoid it if someone is determined to hurt themselves,” Dupuis testified. “I’ve seen people jump from a sink with their head first. I’ve seen people poke themselves with a pencil. There are many ways people try to hurt themselves.”

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Javed Iqbal

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