Thirty inmates and five correctional officers from the prison of Trois-Rivières, in Mauricie, are currently infected with COVID-19.
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Sectors P-7 and P-9 have been isolated, with some having to remain in their bubble 23 hours a day to avoid contamination of other prisoners and staff.
But since inmates share showers, toilets and certain common areas, avoiding the spread is a miracle for the national president of the union of peace officers in Quebec correctional services, Mathieu Lavoie.
“When COVID enters an establishment, in an area, the spread can be quite rapid,” he explained. “It’s a closed environment, a restricted environment, an environment of promiscuity.”
Five prisons in Quebec are currently hatching. In January, it was one out of two.
“For us, the simple solution would be for there to be rapid tests when the new ones arrive, for them to be isolated for a certain number of days before doing a second rapid test,” believes Mr. Lavoie.
Outbreak or not, defense lawyers no longer take chances: meetings with detainees are now done by videoconference.
“This is one of the main constraints since COVID, the relationship between lawyers and detainees. We could find ourselves in a situation where a person is arrested and from his arrest at trial will have practically or perhaps never met his lawyer in person, ”said Me Michel Lebrun.
Most appearances are also done by videoconference, which limits postponements in the event of an outbreak.
Only one hearing before the parole board has been postponed, according to the union.