Overcrowding at Don Jail blamed for inmate death

The recent death of an inmate at the Don Jail has some critics saying the conditions at the Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East corrections centre are to blame.

The incident occurred on Nov. 7 when jail staff found Jeff Munro, 32, unconscious in a common area between jail cells.

EMS responders pronounced Munro dead at the scene, and an autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt impact facial trauma.

Homicide Detective Wayne Banks suspects Munro was kicked and punched to death, most likely over an alleged theft.

“We are receiving good cooperation from inmates in the range, and corrections staff,” Banks said.

Troy Victor Campbell, 24, Kevin Andre Veiro, 21, and Osman Saikay, 22, all of Toronto, were each charged with first-degree murder. All were inmates at the Don Jail at the time of the murder.

Munro is described as an accomplished dancer from Brantford who was living and working in Toronto. Reports indicate he may have had a methamphetamine addiction and mental health issues. He was arrested four days before his murder on a breach of probation charge.

Greg Rogers, executive director of the John Howard Society of Toronto, says the murder is symptomatic of overcrowding at the Don Jail.

“The Don Jail was designed for 200 inmates and now holds over 600, so outcomes like this are to be expected,” Rogers said. “Until more resources are put into jails, more incidents like this will happen.”

Rogers says 90 percent of prisoners at the Don Jail are in remand custody — either awaiting trial or transfer to another facility.

That means people like Munro, who are arrested on breach of probation charges, are held with people charged with much more serious crimes.

“It’s a maximum security facility,” Rogers said. “You have people in there for breach, and others for rape and murder.

“There is no difference of prisoner rating on remand custody.”

Rogers says if Munro had a history of mental health issues — Rogers says he was being held on a medication range — then he should have been in a mental health facility.

“Breach of probation charges are there for a reason,” Rogers said. “Unfortunately, they didn’t work out.