Correctional Services adapting to COVID-19 as well

By Gordon Lambie

Following the confirmation on Monday of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a federal correctional institution at the Port-Cartier maximum-security institution in Quebec, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) says it is monitoring the situation closely. “The continued health, safety and well-being of our employees and offenders is critical, as is our ongoing ability to maintain safe and secure environments and public safety,” reads a statement on the CSC website. In an email CSC Communications Advisor Esther Mailhot told The Record that there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Drummondville or Cowansville Institutions. Information available on the service’s website indicates that there has been one test, with a negative result, in Cowansville so far and no tests carried out at the Drummond Institution.
The media relations department of Quebec’s Public Security Ministry, which oversees provincial prisons, told The Record that so far there has been one confirmed case in an incarcerated person and one correctional services agent. The information provided did not specify whether either of these cases was at Sherbrooke’s Bowen Prison.
Both the Federal and Provincial authorities say that they have implemented “unprecedented measures” to address the crisis. To help limit the spread of the virus, CSC has suspended visits from the public and volunteers, all temporary absences from institutions, unless medically necessary, and all work releases for offenders while removing the fees normally in place for use of the telephone system. The provincial system has implemented a similar system, but has also suspended the need for offenders to present themselves to an institution in favour of house arrest with telephone check ins. Both systems also have an immediate policy of isolation in the case of someone presenting with symptoms.

Published in the Friday, April 3 edition of The Record.

Share this article