Sick inmates in Burnside jail say emergency intercoms should be in cells

Inmates with serious health issues at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility are raising concerns about the lack of intercom systems to alert correctional officers if they face a life-threatening situation in their cells.

Forty-three-year-old David Wade Smith and 20-year-old Chase Marinoff say they should have access to an emergency system if they fall ill at the Halifax jail, particularly during the night time hours.

Smith says he has heart arrhythmia that can require immediate attention and Marinoff says he has Type 1 diabetes that can result in his losing consciousness.

The issue of a lack of intercoms has also come up in connection with the 2014 death of Clayton Cromwell, a 23-year-old inmate who died in his cell of a methadone overdose.

Justice Department spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn says during the day correctional officers are in close proximity to the inmates and thus able ``to assist and respond as needed.''

She says if inmates have serious health conditions they can be placed in one of the special cells with an intercom or on a health unit.