Restraints stolen at hospital

Terry Roberts
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Justice officials change policies following theft

Justice officials have confirmed that tighter policies are now in place following the theft of prisoner restraint equipment from a St. John's hospital.

"An investigation was undertaken into the matter and, as a result, changes pertaining to the storage of restraint equipment at hospitals and accountability for all equipment have been implemented," the prepared statement said.

Justice officials have confirmed that tighter policies are now in place following the theft of prisoner restraint equipment from a St. John's hospital.

"An investigation was undertaken into the matter and, as a result, changes pertaining to the storage of restraint equipment at hospitals and accountability for all equipment have been implemented," the prepared statement said.

The statement was in response to an inquiry by The Telegram, and appears to confirm an allegation made by a former inmate at Her Majesty's Penitentiary.

It goes on to state, "The department can confirm that restraint equipment was reported missing from a locker located in an inmate's room at hospital. The inmate was admitted to hospital, was receiving medical care and was under escorted guard by correctional officers during this period. While the inmate was in another area of the hospital, the restraints were removed from the locker."

The statement appears to match events described by Harbour Grave native Steven Yetman.

Yetman went public with his story last month, alleging he was singled out for harsh and disrespectful treatment by correctional officers because of his involvement in the dismissal of another officer during his incarceration.

He was released from prison on Christmas Eve after serving 14 months of a nearly 20-month sentence for theft and fraud convictions.

Yetman alleged he was repeatedly hospitalized because of a series of seizures. On one occasion, he said he was transported to the Health Sciences Centre last fall, and was being monitored by a single correctional officer.

He said he was taken from his room in order to undergo some tests, and the restraints were left behind. When Yetman and the correctional officer returned to the room, the restraints were missing, Yetman stated.

"They gave me a rough time, accusing me of hiding them," Yetman said at the time.

The 26-year-old said there was another incident on Oct. 14 at St. Clare's hospital.

Yetman said he told an officer he was feeling ill, and feared he might soon have a seizure. Yetman said the officer ignored this, and left Yetman alone in the room.

Yetman said he had a seizure and fell to the floor. He said he bumped his head and injured his knee during the fall. A catheter he was wearing was also dislodged, he said.

"The last thing I remember is him going out and the next thing I know I'm coming to, lying in my own vomit," he said.

Yetman said the officer routinely left his room to go outside, and would often leave his weapons, radio and shackles in the room.

Yetman said he reported the incident to officials at the penitentiary. Sources confirm a correctional officer was fired.

Yetman alleges his treatment got worse after this.

He said he was segregated in the prison's special handling unit for no apparent reason for 14 days after his return from the hospital, had his phone and other privileges suspended, was the recipient of hostile comments from officers, and was even denied an opportunity to take a shower for many hours after vomiting over himself and his cell during a seizure.

Yetman also believes he was held in custody for much longer than most in his situation.

"It was payback," Yetman said. "At least two officers made a comment that, 'It don't pay to open your mouth, does it?'"

Yetman is now working in Alberta. When contacted Tuesday, he declined comment on the advice of his lawyer, adding that he is taking legal action against the Department of Justice.

Justice officials would not confirm whether the theft of the restraints was connected to Yetman, or whether disciplinary action was taken against the officer responsible for the restraints. It's also not known whether the restraints were ever recovered.

It's the latest incident involving the theft or misuse of equipment used by law enforcement officials.

In December, a handgun was stolen from an unmarked police car in St. John's and a veteran officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is facing charges. And last month, a shotgun was stolen from a Department of Natural Resources vehicle in Conception Bay South. Both firearms were later recovered.

On Jan. 30, an officer accidentally discharged a firearm at RNC headquarters in St. John's, and the officer could face internal discipline.

The theft of a large sum of money from the property room at RNC headquarters in December also made headlines. A senior RNC officer has been suspended indefinitely without pay.

Opposition justice critic Kelvin Parsons is concerned by the number and severity of incidents.

"One issue alone might not cause any concern. But we've had a streak of justice-related incidents in the last two or three months, and you can't ignore them," Parsons said.

He wonders if the proper policies are in place, or if they are just not being properly communicated to the people who are supposed to follow them.

"Is it a case of lack of training, or lack of policy?" he asked.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Health Sciences Centre, RNC, Department of Justice Department of Natural Resources

Geographic location: St. John's, Alberta, Conception Bay South

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • Melissa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Eustace, I have to disagree and say that NO I don't think that all of these comments were written by the same person. If this man was in a different area of the hospital, how could he take the restraints...it just don't make sense. From the comment from the lady who witnessed seeing the guards fall asleep next to him, it is obvious that if SOME of the guards were doing their jobs correctly, this man would not have vomited all over himself and there would be no issue because they would be sure that this inmate did not hide the restraints.
    This is not the way a human being is supposed to be treated. Don't get me wrong, some people do unacceptable things and DO deserve the sentences and punishment they receive, however some are actually decent people who just need the extra help getting their lives back on track which is supposed to be offered by the system.
    Everyone makes mistakes right??? Everyone deserves to be given a second chance. Prison is supposed to be a rehabilitative center....not somewhere that neglects people's human rights. I don't think it is fair that some of these people are treated so inhumanly. If someone is throwing up on themselves and taking seizures, obviously they need some form of immediate attention, which is not an option at all times according to the story as well as the comments that I read.

  • Jim
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Why wouldn't the Justice Officials tell us what changes they made? If they really did make any at all. This is really sad you know, our officials lose their stuff and then take it out on this poor young man. I make no wonder he got a Lawyer on this matter. I would too.....

  • joey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    What a bunch of actors those correctional officers are. Out in the public they try's to put on such a nice act. And all of it is an act too. They does so wrong behind close doors, come on people we know they do.

  • Joyce
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Aaron i have to agree with you here, i think this man's story is true too. Shame on our Justice System.

  • GARY M
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    Look, i got to say this and i'm not proud of where i was and i'm pretty sure Steve feels the same way too. I was on the same unit as this guy as i was for a couple of months at the end. Folks i have to say i seen this man in ruff shape. I seen him a good few times having a seizure, and it would take a good while some times befor the guards would come to his aid. He would be right out of it throwing up all over himself and everything else. He really did have a ruff go of it. It was both myself and his first time in prision and i'm pretty sure it was our last too. Those guars are MEAN!!!!

  • eustace
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Is it just me or do most of these comments seem like they are written by the same young man ?

  • Wally
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    i have to ask this question. if them guards CAN NOT take care of their OWN equipment, how are they going to take care of this man? they could not even keep track of their own restraints let alone keep this man under escorted guard as they call it.

  • Sam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Them guy's really needs to go around with their chest stuck out with them grey suits on when they are doing stuff like this. They should hide, here goes some more of our tax payers money in another lawsuit due to the Justice People.......

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I guess if this man never ever spoke out about the stuff going missing we would never know about it now would we. The Justice Dept always try's to cover their tracks. But i tell you in this case here they never covered their trackd very good. And I so agree with our Justice critic Mr. Kelvin Parsons in this matter.

  • Telling it like it is
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Obviously someone has a kinky side....

  • the truth
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    i think this you man is telling the truth too. now all him and his lawyer got to do is go in front of a judge a tell it to him, and this young man get's a bunch of money. i can bet on it, thats how this is going to play out in the end of the day.

  • Craig
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    i think it's time for some more of them officers to get fired if this is the kind of business they are going to be doing by loseing stuff like this.

  • corey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    JIM: You knows just as well now as i do why they never told us what changes they made. They never made no changes at all. The Justice Dept is just saying this to try and cover it all up. Thats nothing new is it!!!! This young mans story adds up, and they knows whats coming to them now so they got to try and say they done something about it.

  • Lee N
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I can bet money on this that those Restraints were never found. If they was our Justice Sytem would say they were found. Why don't this just confirm this for us. And also Mr. Yetman said they was accusing him of hiding their Restrsints. How would heeven be able to hide them if he wasn't in the room. Those correctional officers REALLY do need to get their act toghter, and get it toghter fast.

  • Aaron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    you know this young man's story must be so true. because never once did we hear tell of the Justice System speak out about this. i guess it just sucks for them when the truth hit's the air ways. all i got to say is thank you mr. yetman for letting us know whats on the go around us. because only for you we would never know a thing about this.

  • Wayne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    There is truth to this story, a correctional officer got fired. There was good grounds there to fire him or her. The Justice System is going down hill and down hill fast.

  • Terry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Eustace Flynn i think it's just you. Let's face it. Ok look you have a guy here that got into trouble with the law, there is no dout about that. Thats one point. And point two is, our justice department went wrong big time on their end. I don't know why this would alarm you Eustace. If it got our Liberals eye, and they are speaking out about it well there must be something to it then.

  • here it is.
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    i think our justice system is so going to pay for this. mr. yetman wonth say nothing else hhhhmmmm i bet he got lot's more to say too if his lawyer would let him talk. i'm pretty sure mr. kelvin pasons hit the nail on the head here.

  • Sherry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I have to say this here, my father was in hospital at the same time as this young man, matter in fact in the same room for a short period of time. And i can honestly say i seen with my own two eyes the kind of care those guards were doing. The guards was falling asleep in a chair at a couple of points where i seen it for myself. What was the good of them their anyway? Sure they wasn't doing anything, not even as much as helping this man.

  • Gary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I seen this story in our papers on the front page befor. Now here it is again with more stuff that them officers done wrong on this man. My question is how much more do this man know and seen down at that HMP that was done wrong and not saying nothing about yet. I bet there is so much stuff done wrong down there, maybe more done wrong then right. Goes to show too, now we got another lawsuit once again on our hands.

  • kelly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    My question is to the Hon. Collins. Mr. Collins why didn't you tell the public about all of this when is was going on, why did we have to wait for Mr. Yetman to speak out? If you guys fool up admit it. A so called OFFICER left the restraints in the hospital room when they left the room. Like really!! What kind of fool did this at all, i guess this is why they fit's in with the RNC so good with all of their fool ups too. This for them to get their act toghter down there!

  • Lisa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    They are all getting fired, correctional Officers, RNC Officers. I think it's about time that something be done in our Justice System.

  • jack walsh
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    i think this is a big shame on you correctional staff that done this. what were yea thinking? or was yea thinking at all? you got a guy here in custody and just goes on out of his hospital room and leaves him alone. where can i get a job like this? i would love to have a job like this one, doing what ever i wanted when ever i wanted pretty much.

  • Kurtus Roberts
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    This is pretty interesting. Where is our justice minister now? How come he's not saying nothing on this.

  • Bill
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    TO; TELLING IT LIKE IT IS,
    Ya i agree somebody here got a kinky side to them, and i'm pretty sure we all know who they are, if i would guess i would guess correctional officials right?? I think i'm pretty right. This young man has got a lawyer on this case, let's just wait and see how much the Justice System gives Yetman to shut up.

  • Melissa
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Eustace, I have to disagree and say that NO I don't think that all of these comments were written by the same person. If this man was in a different area of the hospital, how could he take the restraints...it just don't make sense. From the comment from the lady who witnessed seeing the guards fall asleep next to him, it is obvious that if SOME of the guards were doing their jobs correctly, this man would not have vomited all over himself and there would be no issue because they would be sure that this inmate did not hide the restraints.
    This is not the way a human being is supposed to be treated. Don't get me wrong, some people do unacceptable things and DO deserve the sentences and punishment they receive, however some are actually decent people who just need the extra help getting their lives back on track which is supposed to be offered by the system.
    Everyone makes mistakes right??? Everyone deserves to be given a second chance. Prison is supposed to be a rehabilitative center....not somewhere that neglects people's human rights. I don't think it is fair that some of these people are treated so inhumanly. If someone is throwing up on themselves and taking seizures, obviously they need some form of immediate attention, which is not an option at all times according to the story as well as the comments that I read.

  • Jim
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    Why wouldn't the Justice Officials tell us what changes they made? If they really did make any at all. This is really sad you know, our officials lose their stuff and then take it out on this poor young man. I make no wonder he got a Lawyer on this matter. I would too.....

  • joey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    What a bunch of actors those correctional officers are. Out in the public they try's to put on such a nice act. And all of it is an act too. They does so wrong behind close doors, come on people we know they do.

  • Joyce
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Aaron i have to agree with you here, i think this man's story is true too. Shame on our Justice System.

  • GARY M
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    Look, i got to say this and i'm not proud of where i was and i'm pretty sure Steve feels the same way too. I was on the same unit as this guy as i was for a couple of months at the end. Folks i have to say i seen this man in ruff shape. I seen him a good few times having a seizure, and it would take a good while some times befor the guards would come to his aid. He would be right out of it throwing up all over himself and everything else. He really did have a ruff go of it. It was both myself and his first time in prision and i'm pretty sure it was our last too. Those guars are MEAN!!!!

  • eustace
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Is it just me or do most of these comments seem like they are written by the same young man ?

  • Wally
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    i have to ask this question. if them guards CAN NOT take care of their OWN equipment, how are they going to take care of this man? they could not even keep track of their own restraints let alone keep this man under escorted guard as they call it.

  • Sam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Them guy's really needs to go around with their chest stuck out with them grey suits on when they are doing stuff like this. They should hide, here goes some more of our tax payers money in another lawsuit due to the Justice People.......

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I guess if this man never ever spoke out about the stuff going missing we would never know about it now would we. The Justice Dept always try's to cover their tracks. But i tell you in this case here they never covered their trackd very good. And I so agree with our Justice critic Mr. Kelvin Parsons in this matter.

  • Telling it like it is
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    Obviously someone has a kinky side....

  • the truth
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    i think this you man is telling the truth too. now all him and his lawyer got to do is go in front of a judge a tell it to him, and this young man get's a bunch of money. i can bet on it, thats how this is going to play out in the end of the day.

  • Craig
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    i think it's time for some more of them officers to get fired if this is the kind of business they are going to be doing by loseing stuff like this.

  • corey
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    JIM: You knows just as well now as i do why they never told us what changes they made. They never made no changes at all. The Justice Dept is just saying this to try and cover it all up. Thats nothing new is it!!!! This young mans story adds up, and they knows whats coming to them now so they got to try and say they done something about it.

  • Lee N
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I can bet money on this that those Restraints were never found. If they was our Justice Sytem would say they were found. Why don't this just confirm this for us. And also Mr. Yetman said they was accusing him of hiding their Restrsints. How would heeven be able to hide them if he wasn't in the room. Those correctional officers REALLY do need to get their act toghter, and get it toghter fast.

  • Aaron
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    you know this young man's story must be so true. because never once did we hear tell of the Justice System speak out about this. i guess it just sucks for them when the truth hit's the air ways. all i got to say is thank you mr. yetman for letting us know whats on the go around us. because only for you we would never know a thing about this.

  • Wayne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    There is truth to this story, a correctional officer got fired. There was good grounds there to fire him or her. The Justice System is going down hill and down hill fast.

  • Terry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Eustace Flynn i think it's just you. Let's face it. Ok look you have a guy here that got into trouble with the law, there is no dout about that. Thats one point. And point two is, our justice department went wrong big time on their end. I don't know why this would alarm you Eustace. If it got our Liberals eye, and they are speaking out about it well there must be something to it then.

  • here it is.
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    i think our justice system is so going to pay for this. mr. yetman wonth say nothing else hhhhmmmm i bet he got lot's more to say too if his lawyer would let him talk. i'm pretty sure mr. kelvin pasons hit the nail on the head here.

  • Sherry
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I have to say this here, my father was in hospital at the same time as this young man, matter in fact in the same room for a short period of time. And i can honestly say i seen with my own two eyes the kind of care those guards were doing. The guards was falling asleep in a chair at a couple of points where i seen it for myself. What was the good of them their anyway? Sure they wasn't doing anything, not even as much as helping this man.

  • Gary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I seen this story in our papers on the front page befor. Now here it is again with more stuff that them officers done wrong on this man. My question is how much more do this man know and seen down at that HMP that was done wrong and not saying nothing about yet. I bet there is so much stuff done wrong down there, maybe more done wrong then right. Goes to show too, now we got another lawsuit once again on our hands.

  • kelly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    My question is to the Hon. Collins. Mr. Collins why didn't you tell the public about all of this when is was going on, why did we have to wait for Mr. Yetman to speak out? If you guys fool up admit it. A so called OFFICER left the restraints in the hospital room when they left the room. Like really!! What kind of fool did this at all, i guess this is why they fit's in with the RNC so good with all of their fool ups too. This for them to get their act toghter down there!

  • Lisa
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    They are all getting fired, correctional Officers, RNC Officers. I think it's about time that something be done in our Justice System.

  • jack walsh
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    i think this is a big shame on you correctional staff that done this. what were yea thinking? or was yea thinking at all? you got a guy here in custody and just goes on out of his hospital room and leaves him alone. where can i get a job like this? i would love to have a job like this one, doing what ever i wanted when ever i wanted pretty much.

  • Kurtus Roberts
    July 01, 2010 - 19:45

    This is pretty interesting. Where is our justice minister now? How come he's not saying nothing on this.

  • Bill
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    TO; TELLING IT LIKE IT IS,
    Ya i agree somebody here got a kinky side to them, and i'm pretty sure we all know who they are, if i would guess i would guess correctional officials right?? I think i'm pretty right. This young man has got a lawyer on this case, let's just wait and see how much the Justice System gives Yetman to shut up.