Inmate who died in custody in Saskatoon had a history of self harm: Court records

An inmate in the Regional Psychiatric Centre died while in custody on Saturday.

Tommy Veevee was serving an indeterminate sentence in the Saskatoon facility since November 1998, according to a Correctional Service of Canada news release.

His next of kin have been notified, as well as the police and the Saskatchewan coroner, the news release said.

Veevee was deemed a dangerous offender after his conviction for two sexual assaults in 1997 around the village of Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut located on Baffin Island.

The 1999 sentencing documents from Judge B.A. Browne outline a litany of other sexual offences committed by Veevee beginning in the 1980s, some resulting in earlier convictions, others documented in testimony submitted to the court.

Veevee began struggling with schizophrenia in about 1985, Browne says.

The judge references health records from 1986 to about 1994 that outline “how little progress has been made in addressing Mr. Veevee’s social and psychiatric problems.”

Veevee was described as a challenging patient with little sense of personal boundaries.

In January 1994 one doctor said he posed a risk to society.

“I might add that the federal prison service, for the most part, although they try valiantly, are ill-prepared to treat profoundly disturbed schizophrenics who are both intellectually low functioning and who have deviant sexual problems as well. To be fair, no one is very successful with this very difficult group of people. There is, however, no other acceptable situation as society is greatly at risk from this disturbed young man.”

For his part, Veevee frequently expressed remorse for his actions but seemed unable to follow the course of treatment recommended by doctors, Browne said, and he often tried to take all his medication at once in order to end his life.

He tried to kill himself nearly 60 times, Browne says.

Browne says they opted to designate Veevee a dangerous offender because it meant an indeterminate sentence, and they felt that was the only way to make sure Veevee would receive the long-term treatment he needed, and have his medications controlled.

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