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N.S. inmate who died had mental capacity of seven-year-old boy: family

The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility.
The Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. - Metro Halifax

HALIFAX - Family members of a 29-year-old Nova Scotia man who was found unresponsive in a jail cell and later died in hospital say his death could have been avoided if he was given proper treatment.

Christine Barnes says her nephew, Josh Evans, attempted suicide at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on Monday and was pronounced dead at Dartmouth General Hospital the next day.

Barnes tells Global News that Evans had the mental capacity of a second grader and was missing half of his 22nd chromosome, making him “like a seven-year-old boy in a man's body.”

She says Evans was charged with making child pornography available, unlawfully accessing child pornography and three counts of possession of child pornography following a search of a home in Niagara Falls, Ont., in 2015.

While at a detention centre there, Barnes says Evans was diagnosed with velocardiofacial syndrome, received counselling and was also placed on suicide watch.

Barnes says Evans was once again charged with child pornography-related offences after the family moved to Nova Scotia about a year ago.

Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey said Thursday that the victim was on remand and in a transition day room - a space for people with mental health issues or other challenges who do not meet the criteria to be housed in the forensic part of the jail.

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