Wescoup Inquest Jury Makes Recommendations; father hopes to see change

A jury of coroners makes 12 recommendations after the inquest into the death of Ronalda Wescoup.

Among the recommendations is a dedicated drug rehabilitation center at Pine Grove Correctional Center, with nurses on site 24 hours a day, addictions workers present when inmates are admitted, and more training for staff on the administration of the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment Scale (CIWA).

Wescoup, a member of Long Plane First Nation in Manitoba, died in June 2019 at Pine Grove Correctional Center in Prince Albert. The inquest heard that his death was the result of alcohol withdrawal.

The inquest heard from a total of eight witnesses over two days at the Coronet Hotel in Prince Albert.

Wescoup’s father, Ron Bruce, attended all proceedings. After hearing the recommendations, Bruce said he thought some of the recommendations were really good.

“It was pretty good, what they all got these referrals, the nurses all night there,” he said.

Overall, Bruce said he hoped to see all 12 jury recommendations implemented. He said after hearing about the conditions at Pine Grove Correctional Center, it was clear to him that changes needed to be made.

“Something needs to be done, they can’t just investigate, just to satisfy the public eye, something really needs to be done there,” he said.

Bruce, who traveled from Portage La Prairie to Manitoba to help with the inquest, said the two days of hearings helped him answer questions he had about what happened to his daughter. He explained that while the investigation won’t bring his daughter back, it serves an important purpose.

“An inquest won’t bring anyone back, it’s just no one will go through that again, what she went through,” he said.

Speaking about Wescoup, Bruce said his daughter is a kind person who is always ready to help people. He said Ronalda started abusing alcohol after her sister Marsha died, which she struggled to deal with.

“She struggled with her sister dying like that,” he said.

For Bruce personally, the investigation will help him in his healing process and moving forward. However, he said it was different for his four grandchildren who had lost their mother and other family members.

“It will allow me to turn the page, but I don’t know for my grandchildren, they still talk about her,” he said.

(Ronalda Wescoup’s father Ron Bruce: Michael Joel-Hansen)

About Jean R. Manzer

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