Justice Major Incident Updates

Justice Major Incident Updates

The Department of Justice is committed to being as open and transparent as possible about major incidents involving people in its custody.

A Disclosure Policy, released March 30, 2011, outlines the information that will be publicly released after a significant event or incident within the justice system. An Investigations Policy, released Nov. 30, 2011, outlines the information that will be publicly released about the findings of an internal investigation into a major incident.

Major incidents include, but are not limited to: assault in custody requiring hospitalization, death in custody, escape from custody, seizure of explosives or firearms, riot. For a complete list of types of major incidents, click here.

This website will be an online repository of information and updates about major incidents that occur. It will be updated on a timely and as needed basis.

Please note: The information provided on this website may be preliminary in nature and is subject to change as further information becomes available. Some information may be withheld for reasons of privacy and confidentiality as defined and described in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) Act. Media representatives or members of the public may make an access to information application to the Department of Justice in accordance with the Act.

Justice Major Incident Updates as of April-23-14

March-25-14 10:43:00 AM
Incident at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
Several offenders were involved in an altercation at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on the afternoon of March 24. Three offenders sustained minor injuries, including one who was taken to hospital for treatment. The offender returned to the facility at 9 p.m. on March 24. Halifax Regional Police were notified and are investigating the incident.

March-13-14 3:55:00 PM
Incident at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
An offender from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was admitted to hospital on March 13 for treatment of injuries stemming from an assault on March 2. The offender was seen by health-care staff following the incident and scheduled for a follow-up appointment. He was taken to hospital as a follow-up on March 13 and was admitted for treatment.

February-14-14 11:36:00 AM
Incident at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 11, two offenders were involved in an altercation at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. The first offender declined health-care treatment and the second was assessed that afternoon. On Thursday, Feb. 13, the second offender was transported to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital for surgery related to facial injuries. He is expected to be in hospital for several days.

November-18-13 4:11:00 PM
Early Release from Custody
Late Friday, Nov. 15, the Department of Justice became aware of an early release of a young offender from the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville due to a miscommunication in Courts regarding sentence orders. The young offender is currently back in custody at the youth facility.

October-28-13 4:19:00 PM
Incident at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Saturday, October 26, at approximately 8:30 p.m., there was an altercation between two offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Onsite health-care professionals immediately assessed one injured offender. The second offender refused health-care assistance. The injured offender was re-assessed on the morning of Monday, October 28 and was admitted to hospital for surgery. Halifax Regional Police were notified and are investigating the incident.

October-21-13 12:33:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Sunday, October 20, at approximately 9 p.m., there was an assault involving three offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Onsite healthcare professionals responded immediately to one injured offender and police were notified as per policy. The offender was transported to hospital shortly after in follow up to the injuries sustained in the altercation. On Monday, Oct. 21, he was admitted to hospital for surgery. Halifax Regional Police are investigating the incident. UPDATE: The offender was returned to the correctional facility on Sunday, October 27th.

August-12-13 2:07:00 PM
Disturbance at Cape Breton Correctional Facility
At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, August 11, 2013, a disturbance began in one of the living units at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility. Offenders failed to comply with staff direction and proceeded to cause some minor damage to the facility. As a result, the facility was locked down and trained intervention teams were assembled to address the situation. The disturbance was resolved peacefully at approximately 4:40 p.m. Emergency responders (EHS, Fire, Police) were on scene as per protocol, but were not required. There were no injuries to staff or offenders and no one was taken to hospital. Damage is being assessed and the Department of Justice is conducting an internal review.

July-08-13 9:23:00 AM
Death at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
An offender died July 7 at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. The man was discovered in his cell about 4:30 p.m. Correctional officers attempted to revive him and when he remained unresponsive, onsite healthcare contacted EHS. He was pronounced dead at approximately 4:45 p.m. His next of kin have been notified. Police are investigating but no foul play is suspected.

June-11-13 4:24:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Monday, June 10, at approximately 7 p.m., there was an assault between two offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Onsite healthcare professionals responded immediately and police were notified as per policy. The offender was transported to hospital at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, in follow up to the injuries sustained in the altercation. He was admitted to hospital for surgery. Halifax Regional Police are investigating the incident. UPDATE: On Wednesday, June 12, the offender was discharged from the hospital and returned to the correctional facility.

January-02-13 9:56:00 AM
Bomb threat at Nova Scotia Youth Facility
At approximately 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, staff received a bomb threat to the facility via text message. As per policy, the police were notified, the facility was locked down and appropriate searches were conducted. Nothing suspicious was located. The facility resumed normal operations on Jan. 1, 2013.

October-04-12 2:27:00 PM
Assault at Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
An offender was admitted to hospital on Thursday, Oct. 4 for a facial injury suffered as a result of an altercation between two offenders at the Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Yarmouth on Oct.1. Police are investigating the incident. UPDATE (Oct.4, 4:05 p.m.): Offender was treated but not admitted to hospital.

October-02-12 3:27:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
An offender was admitted to hospital on Monday, Oct. 1 for a facial injury suffered as a result of an altercation between two male offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. He was returned to the correctional centre Oct. 2. Halifax Regional Police are investigating the incident.

September-08-12 9:28:00 PM
Disturbance at Cape Breton Correctional Facility
At approximately 12:30 pm. on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, a disturbance began in one of the living units at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility. Offenders failed to comply with staff direction and proceeded to cause damage to the facility. As a result, the facility was locked down and trained intervention teams were assembled to address the situation. The disturbance was resolved peacefully at approximately 4:30 p.m. Damage is being assessed and several offenders have been transferred to another facility. Emergency responders (EHS, Fire, Police) were on scene as per protocol, but were not required. There were no injuries to staff or offenders and no one was taken to hospital. The Department of Justice is investigating.

August-11-12 11:00:00 AM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Friday, Aug. 10 at about 11:50 a.m., there was an altercation between two male offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. Onsite health-care professionals responded. One offender was transported and admitted to hospital with facial injuries. Halifax Regional Police are investigating the incident. UPDATE: The man was released from hospital and returned to the correctional centre on Aug. 12.

May-24-12 4:39:00 PM
Escape from Cape Breton Correctional Facility
A man briefly escaped from the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in Sydney on May 24. The 46-year-old man was in the outdoor exercise yard and left the confines of the facility on foot at approximately 3 p.m. Correctional officers began pursuit. The man, who was at the facility under remand, was apprehended by the correctional officers about 500 metres from the facility. An investigation into the incident has begun.The man is in police custody and charges are pending. UPDATE: Aug. 23, 2012 -- the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports."

April-06-12 12:58:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
Update (April 10): Offender released from hospital on Monday, April 9. On Friday, April 6 at approximately 9:30 a.m., there was an assault between two offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Onsite health-care professionals responded immediately. Emergency Health Care Services was notified and the offender was transported and admitted to hospital. Halifax Regional Police are investigating the incident.

April-04-12 12:46:00 PM
Offenders injured in near collision
Update (April 4, 3:34 p.m.): All offenders have been released from hospital. On Wednesday, April 4, 2012, at approximately 8:25 a.m., a transport van taking eight offenders from Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility to Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road stopped suddenly to avoid a collision on the Halifax side of the McKay Bridge. Five offenders were taken to hospital for treatment and observation, after being attended to at the courthouse by Emergency Health Services. No sheriffs were injured and there was no damage to the vehicle.

March-28-12 6:08:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
Two offenders were in an altercation at about 4:20 pm on March 22 at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. One offender was taken to hospital for a facial injury. He was treated and returned to the facility. On March 28, the offender was admitted to hospital for minor surgery related to his earlier injury. Halifax Regional Police were notified of the incident on March 22.

March-07-12 1:41:00 PM
Death at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
An offender died March 6 at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. The 25-year-old man was discovered in his cell about 8:30 a.m. Foul play is not suspected. His next of kin have been notified. The man was arrested March 4 and was facing charges of smuggling, importing a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking. He arrived at the correctional facility on March 4. Halifax Regional Police, the Medical Examiner Service and the Department of Justice are investigating. UPDATE: Aug. 31, 2012 - the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports."

March-01-12 2:35:00 PM
Seizure of contraband at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility
On Feb. 29, 2012, at 4 p.m. a cell phone and charger were found inside a cell at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility in Waterville. As well, approximately 20 pills were found in a common area. Specific areas of the facility were immediately locked down to continue the search. On March 1, the entire facility was locked down to facilitate a complete search of the facility. RCMP were notified and the investigation is ongoing.

February-29-12 1:45:00 PM
Assault at Central Nova Scotia CF
A preliminary investigation has found that two offenders at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility had an altercation on Feb. 22 that resulted in one of them being hospitalized. The injured man reported his injuries to correctional staff at about 10 a.m. on Feb. 22. He told staff the injuries happened during an accidental fall while he was alone in his cell in a living unit. He received medical attention from the onsite medical team and at hospital. He returned to the facility later that day. On Feb. 23, new symptoms were reported, and he was taken to hospital and later admitted. He stayed in hospital for five days.On Feb. 27, new information pointed to the injuries happening during an assault in the cell. Correctional Services staff began a preliminary investigation, and the incident was reported to Halifax Regional Police on Feb. 28.

February-15-12 12:22:00 PM
Offender escapes custody of Sheriffs
UPDATE: As of 1:47 p.m., Halifax Regional Police have the offender in custody and are transporting him to Dartmouth provincial court. Feb. 15 at approximately 9:30 a.m. Thomas Arnold Jones, 48, escaped the custody of sheriffs while being transported to Dartmouth provincial court. He is described as a white male, approximately five-foot-eight, 160 pounds, black hair and blue eyes. He is wearing jeans, cowboy boots and was last seen wearing leg shackles. The offender is facing a number of charges, including assault, break and enter, arson, uttering threats and breach of conditions, from 2011. He is believed to be in the area of the Dartmouth courthouse and Dartmouth General Hospital on Pleasant Street. Halifax Regional Police are actively searching for the individual. The public are advised not to approach the man and to phone police immediately.

January-19-12 10:45:00 AM
Offender Dies at Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Yarmouth
An offender died Wednesday evening, Jan. 18, at the Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Yarmouth. The offender was discovered in his cell just before 10 p.m. Next of kin are in the process of being notitifed. RCMP, Medical Examiner Service and the Department of Justice are investigating. Foul play is not suspected. UPDATE: The medical examiner has ruled the 44-year-old man's death a suicide. The man had been remanded to the institution after his arrest Dec. 19. Next of kin have been notified. The man's name cannot be released, under departmental policy.

December-12-11 3:30:00 PM
Early Release from Custody
On Sunday, Dec. 11, an offender serving an intermittent sentence (weekends) at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, was released one day early. According to the court ordered intermittent sentence, the offender was to be admitted on Friday at 8:00 p.m. and released on Monday at 6:00 a.m. The offender was released Sunday at 6 a.m. The offender was serving a sentence for multiple counts of theft under $5,000 and failing to comply with a court order.

October-26-11 1:17:00 PM
Lockdown of Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Oct.25 at 8:30 p.m. the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was locked down to allow staff to respond to two separate incidents. One incident involved an offender and the other involved a patient in the assessment unit of the East Coast Forensic Hospital - neither responded to verbal commands. A team was assembled to bring both situations under control and by approximately 9:30 both situations were resolved without further incident or use of force. The facility remained locked down until the regularly scheduled overnight lockdown at 11 p.m.

October-01-11 3:19:00 PM
Disturbance at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
At approximately 12 a.m., two female offenders barricaded themselves in their cells and proceeded to damage property. The offenders refused to comply with repeated orders from staff, made threats against staff and revealed a make-shift weapon. Staff responded and brought the situation under control using a conducted energy weapon on one offender. A paramedic was on site and determined there were no injuries to staff or offenders. No one was taken to hospital. A make-shift weapon was recovered. By 3 a.m., both offenders were placed in segregation. Regular operations of the facility were not impacted.

September-30-11 3:07:00 PM
Attempted Escape from Custody
On Sept. 30, 2011, at approximately 12:25 p.m., an offender attempted to escape the custody of Sheriffs while being loaded into the Sheriffs van after a court appearance at the Sydney Justice Centre. The offender was apprehended within two minutes and transported back to the Cape Breton Correctional Facility. One of the sheriffs received what appeared to be a minor head injury while in pursuit of the offender. He has been taken to hospital for assessment. The injury was not sustained as the result of an altercation with the offender. UPDATE as of Sept.30,2011, 3:42 p.m.: Sheriff released from hospital with minor injuries.

September-16-11 11:35:00 AM
Lockdown at Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility
On Sept. 15 at 4:15 p.m., the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was locked down to facilitate an institution-wide search for contraband. The facility remained on lockdown and the search continued this morning. Regular operations resumed at approximately noon today, Sept.16.

August-31-11 4:43:00 PM
Man not held in custody
The Department of Justice is investigating after a man was mistakenly released from the custody of the province on Aug. 29, 2011. The individual’s bail had been revoked and a warrant had been issued for remand to custody. He then appeared in court on another matter on Aug. 29 and was not held in custody in accordance with the outstanding warrant. The man is currently in custody.

August-24-11 1:25:00 PM
Lockdown of Correctional Facility
On August 23, the entire Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was locked down from 10:30 a.m. 6:30 p.m. to facilitate a search by staff of offenders and living units. This is the second search in two days. Normal operations resumed at 6:30 p.m., Aug.23.

August-23-11 9:59:00 AM
Lockdown of Correctional Facility
On August 22, the entire Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility was locked down from 6 p.m until 11 p.m. to facilitate a search by staff of offenders and living units. The facility is always locked down for the night, beginning at 11 p.m. Normal operations resumed today, Aug. 23.

August-14-11 12:36:00 PM
Drug Seizure, Lockdown at Facility
On Saturday, Aug. 13, at around 2:30 p.m. a package was discovered on the roof of the Southwest Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Yarmouth. The package contained about 69 pills and tobacco. Later, at about 3:40 p.m., a package was thrown over the wall of the facility and into an exercise court for offenders. Two people were spotted near the fence of the facility. The eight offenders in the exercise court were observed drinking from a liquor bottle and smoking. The offenders refused to leave the area and return to their cells, prompting a lockdown of the facility. After a staff response team was assembled, the incident was resolved peacefully; the offenders left the exercise area voluntarily beginning at 7 p.m. By 7:45 p.m. the offenders had been secured in cells. A search of the exercise area found three small empty pill bottles and a small, empty, plastic liquor bottle hidden in a storm drain. No contraband was uncovered during a search of the offenders. The lockdown ended at about 8:30 p.m. The Department of Justice is reviewing the incident.

August-04-11 9:43:00 AM
Disturbance at Cape Breton Correctional Facility
(Updated) Around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 4, a disturbance began at the Cape Breton Correctional Facility in Sydney. The disturbance ended at approximately 3 a.m. Three offenders in a 13-bed dormitory began damaging property. The three offenders fashioned make-shift weapons and barricaded the doors leading into the dorm. Staff responded and brought the situation under control using conducted energy weapons on two of the three offenders. Emergency Health Services were on site and there are no reports of injuries to staff or offenders. No one was taken to hospital. Cape Breton Regional Police Services were on the scene as a precaution, however their services were not required. It is too early for an estimate of the damage. The Department of Justice is investigating. UPDATE: Oct. 27, 2011 -- the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports." UPDATE: On Dec.13, 2011 one of the two charged in the incident received a three-month concurrent sentence and also a restitution order requiring the offender to pay $653.

July-25-11 10:34:00 AM
Death in Custody
On July 25, 2011, at approximately 4:30 a.m., an inmate died at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. The 48-year-old man was remanded to the correctional facility awaiting trial. Next of kin has been notified. Halifax Regional Police and the Office of the Medical Examiner’s were notified. Both are investigating, but foul play is not suspected. The Department of Justice has launched an internal investigation. UPDATE: Oct.17, 2011 -- the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports."

July-12-11 10:30:00 AM
Escape from custody
On July 11, 2011 at approximately 6:20 p.m. two youth in custody at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility escaped custody while assisting in the kitchen. Both youth left the confines of the facility and proceeded to escape on foot. One was apprehended by staff almost immediately. The other was apprehended after running almost 1km away from the facility. Both youth were back in custody within approximately 20 minutes of the escape. The facility was then locked down and remains on lockdown pending further investigation by facility staff. There were no injuries reported or weapons seized during this incident. Police were notified but were not required to be on scene. UPDATE: Aug. 23, 2011 -- the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports."

May-12-11 9:30:00 AM
Assault in Custody -- offender to offender
On May 11 at approximately 9:30 p.m. an offender sustained apparent serious injuries after falling down the stairs in a living unit at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility. Preliminary information suggests that the fall was the result of an altercation with another offender. Onsite healthcare professionals responded immediately and Emergency Healthcare Services were notified and the offender was transported and admitted to hospital. This offender is remanded and serving a custodial sentence. The incident was reported to Halifax Regional Police and is being investigated by Correctional Services staff. UPDATE: July 28, 2011 -- the review report for this incident is available in the right-hand column under "Incident Review Reports."