September 28, 2017

As the correctional ombudsman, the Ombudsperson is critical of correctional facility flaws

Québec City, September 28, 2017 – In her 2016-2017 Annual Report, tabled today in the National Assembly, the Ombudsperson describes the flaws found in correctional facilities:

“The investigations we conducted showed that in certain cases, there were restrictions on visiting hours, medical staff shortages, closure of certain services and cancellation of rehabilitation programs. This runs counter to the goal of rehabilitating detainees,” said Ombudsperson Marie Rinfret, who also acts as Québec’s correctional ombudsman. (p. 78)

Other findings:

  • The Ministère de la Sécurité publique still has no formal policy regarding the duration of detention, detention conditions and the supervision of inmates placed in isolation. (p. 76)
  • The Québec Ombudsman intervened concerning strip searches of inmates in the presence of officers of the opposite sex. As a result, the Department sent out a network-wide directive as a reminder of the rules to follow to preserve the dignity of detainees who are strip searched. (p. 78)
  • Since 2014, smoking in correctional facilities, even in prison yards, has been prohibited. Medical staff can prescribe nicotine patches. Based on the complaints handled this year, the Québec Ombudsman considers that management of these patches has been deficient and that the wait times for access to this treatment are often very lengthy. It feels that the Department must work with public health specialists to assess its smoking cessation program and introduce corrective measures. (p. 79)
  • In February 2016, Maison Tanguay, a correctional facility for women, closed because of its dilapidation. The detainees were transferred to the Leclerc de Laval facility, which also housed male offenders. The Québec Ombudsman spoke out against this situation at the time. The Department ended this gender mix last May to the Québec Ombudsman’s satisfaction. The Québec Ombudsman is keeping a close eye on the situation so that the authorities take into account the specific features of the female client population in terms of detention. (p. 80)

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Information: Carole-Anne Huot (418) 646-7143/(418) 925-7994
carole-anne.huot@protecteurducitoyen.qc.ca