>> The Toronto South Detention Centre, outside Canada's largest city, houses people awaiting trial. Six prisoners died here over a two and a half year period. And a Reuters review has found hundreds more have died in similar facilities across Canada, many before they ever saw a court room, correspondent Anna Mehler Paperny.
>> Most of the people, who are dying in Canada's provincial jails, are legally innocent. Reuters examined government data on in-custody deaths from seven of Canada's ten provinces. And we found that two-thirds of the almost 270 people who died between 2012 and 2017 were legally innocent. They were awaiting trial.
>> The provinces declined to identify the dead, citing privacy concerns. But interviews and news report showed the deceased range from low-level drug offenders and the mentally ill to accused thieves and murderers. One reason so many may be dying before trial, stringent bail conditions.>> Canada locks up people waiting trial at a higher rate than most other countries.
And Canada has a higher percentage of all its inmates awaiting trial compared to United States.>> Seven provincial governments said they were reviewing their penal systems in an effort to reduce the number of people locked up while awaiting trial. But that issue alone doesn't explain why so many prisoners are dying.
>> Inquest and interviews that we've done with the family members of deceased people found that people who are known suicide risks, that risk was not necessarily communicated to the people who needed to know. And precautions weren't taken to keep those people alive. In other cases, former inmates have told us they had prescription medications confiscated.
Or they didn't have access to medically necessary care in a timely manner. We also know that the people who are locked up awaiting trial, they're often taken in off the street. They could be overdosing or withdrawing from substances and need urgent care that they may not get. We've also been told, from former corrections officers and lawyers, that in these remand centers that are often very crowded, vulnerable people are housed with those with a history of violence.
And they may not be able to defend themselves.>> The office of Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, declined to comment, saying these jails are the jurisdiction of provincial governments. Only one provincial government, Manitoba, is currently investigating why so many inmates are dying before trial.