Restorative justice meetings between father of N.S. inmate who died and staff lead to reforms

A series of restorative justice meetings between the father of a man who died in a Nova Scotia jail cell and staff who oversaw the inmate's last hours is being praised for bringing reforms and healing.

Last year, Ernie LeBlanc opted for the face-to-face encounters instead of pursuing civil action over errors that were made when his son Jason LeBlanc died of an opioid overdose while in custody.

The 42-year-old went to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in January 2016 for an alleged parole violation after being caught overnight in a snowstorm.

Staff admitted him without proper searches or a standard medical form that could have identified his addictions and he died less than 14 hours later.

The restorative justice meetings resulted in a report that has 17 recommendations for changes in the system.

Six of those recommendations have already been completed.

But Ernie LeBlanc says one of the most important things was being able to hear directly from workers who expressed remorse and offered apologies during emotional gatherings.