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New study shows B.C. has twice as many in-custody deaths as Ontario

A new study shows British Columbia has more jail and police-involved deaths per year than six other territories and provinces, including Ontario.

The figures are contained in a B.C. Civil Liberties Association report that examined in custody or police-involved deaths over the last 15 years.

Report author David MacAlister, director for Studies in Criminal Justice Policy at Simon Fraser University, says B.C. recorded 267 such deaths, compared to 113 in Ontario.

He says causes varied from suicide to accident, but in B.C., 35 people -— 13 per cent -— were shot by police, while 59 deaths occurred during a car chase.

MacAlister says comparisons between the provinces and territories were difficult to make because only Ontario has compiled long-term, detailed data on police deaths

But he says figures reveal one person died in B.C. every three weeks in jail or at the hands of police between 1992 and 2007, underlining the need for immediate reforms to the way jail and police-related deaths are investigated.

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