March 31, 2015

Guarantee the procedural fairness of the disciplinary process for detainees


A person incarcerated in a Québec correctional facility must obey certain rules designed to foster a safe and orderly living environment. Detainees who fail to comply face a disciplinary process.

The Québec Ombudsmn saw that there were problems with the disciplinary process in certain facilities: lack of access to documents that enable clear understanding of the nature of the alleged breaches; ignorance of disciplinary process rules by the staff who are supposed to enforce them; arbitrary reporting of violations; failure to specify maximum deadlines for seeking recourse; failure to summon detainees; and restrictive interpretation of the right to a witness or to an attorney. But, most importantly, the composition of the discipline committee provided for in the normative framework is not such as to guarantee impartiality or the appearance thereof.

To ensure respect of the principles of procedural fairness in the disciplinary process, the Québec Ombudsman made fifteen recommendations to the Ministère de la Sécurité publique.