In a joint public statement released yesterday, Quebec’s Ligue des droits et libertés and the Fédération des femmes du Québec deplored the current living conditions at the Leclerc penitentiary in Laval. They also requested urgent action on the part of the provincial Government, a request noted by Public Security Minister Coiteux later that day.
Spokesperson Lucie Lemonde, acting on behalf of the Ligue des droits et libertés explained that ever since women detainees were transferred to the Leclerc penitentiary, last February, there have been numerous issues such as an inadequate separation between men and women, and a lack of proper training for the personnel to deal with the inmate population. For example, staff are taught to how be courteous, but not how to answer women’s needs or concerns.
Lemonde explained that women inmates are often subject to degrading remarks when encountering the male population, but noted that measures taken to limit such confrontations tend to further restrict the little freedom they have left. More precisely, she notes that this particularly leads to further hours spent in a cell, and the need for the constant presence of guards when in transit within the institution. She also insisted that the women inmates are not dangerous, and have often endured different forms of violence in their life, making the choice of placing them in a maximum-security prison highly questionable. Furthermore, the facilities are in a poor condition, plagued with problems of mold, asbestos and water infiltrations.
The Ligue reaffirmed that authorities must not forget the need to facilitate social reinsertion for this population. Penitentiaries exert considerable strain on them and has been associated with increased poverty, mental and physical health problems and criminality. It also called for a reflection on how to better integrate restorative justice and prevention goals within society.
In response, Government officials have announced the plan to transfer the male population to other establishments in June, and will look into the infrastructure issue.
More information on their statement can be found here: http://liguedesdroits.ca/?p=4178
Ce billet a été écrit par un(e) étudiant(e) ACLC-PBSC. Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement le point de vue de l’ACLC ou du PBSC.