10 years after the spectacular escape in Saint-Jérôme, prisons are still sieves

10 years after the spectacular escape to Saint-Jérôme , prisons are always sieves

, Maude Boutet and Kathryne Lamontagne MISE À DAY

Ten years after the spectacular helicopter escape in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec prisons are still real sieves, while less than 15% of outdoor courtyards are fenced.< /strong>

In March 2013, Dany Provençal and Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau, two inmates of the Saint-Jérôme Detention Facility, took to their heels by hanging from a rope attached to a helicopter.  

The fugitives will eventually escape, hanging from a rope attached to the aircraft.

Two accomplices helped in their escape, including Steven Marchisio, who returns for the very first time to this spectacular event, on the show J.E, broadcast tonight at 9:30 p.m. on TVA ( see text below).

Fifteen months later, in June 2014, the same scenario repeated itself. Three large drug traffickers awaiting trial escaped from the Quebec Detention Center, also aboard a helicopter.

Although all these fugitives were caught, these events had the effect of a bombshell on the Ministry of Public Security, which ordered an administrative investigation. The latter revealed in particular that these escapes were surprising, but predictable.

22 fenced courtyards out of 150 

Faced with the situation, the Minister of At the time, Lise Thériault, had taken the initiative to fence more outdoor courtyards. His successor, Martin Coiteux, said he had a plan to fence outdoor courtyards.

However, in the 10 years following the first escape, only 11 new courtyards have been fenced, including those of brand new detention centers.

To date, only 22 of the approximately 150 outdoor courtyards distributed in 18 detention centers are equipped with fences. Public Security refuses to reveal which ones, for security reasons. 

The CAQ government is now “considering” the creation of around fifteen additional secure courses, a number which could be revised upwards. Its objective, however, is not to secure all the courses, insists the ministry.

There is nothing to encourage the president of the Union of peace officers in correctional services, Mathieu Lavoie, who doubts that this project be completed one day.

Not immune to escape

The situation is such that he would not be surprised if a another helicopter escape is repeated in any prison in the province, including those of Saint-Jérôme and Quebec. 

“The correctional service does not have the means to match its ambitions, does not invest in the security of its establishments, and this is detrimental to the safety of the surrounding population, detention establishments and its staff,” argues Mathieu. Lavoie. 

In the wake of these helicopter escapes, Quebec also planned to better train correctional officers. 

“We have seen memos pass. But it is useless if we do not have the tools, the manpower, the resources to intervene. […] Clearly, it does not work”, he denounces. 

He apologizes for having removed the pilot 

Stevens Marchisio in interview at the prison of Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines.

One of the accomplices who hijacked a helicopter to carry out the spectacular escape from Saint-Jérôme has apologized for having “scraped” the life of the pilot whom he abducted at gunpoint.   

“I am sincerely sorry for the gesture that I committed towards your person”, launches Steven Marchisio, who delivers, for the very first time, his version of the facts. 

“I hope that 'one day, you will know how to forgive me,' continues the man who is incarcerated in the Sainte-Anne-de-Plaines penitentiary.

In an interview with J.E, the offender with a heavy criminal past says he was recruited by a fellow prisoner to collaborate in the helicopter escape of Benjamin Hudon-Barbeau and Dany Provençal. Faced with information about his family, Marchisio says he had no choice but to accept, feeling that those close to him could be in danger.

The date of the escape had been set for the 17 March 2013. Marchisio would then have claimed a serious substance abuse problem to be admitted to drug rehabilitation and thus leave prison. He stayed only a few hours in a therapy house, before fleeing. 

Helicopter hijacked

Marchisio and an accomplice then showed up at Héli-Tremblant for a one-hour sightseeing flight. Once on board, Marchioso drew his gun, which he pressed behind the pilot's head.  

The pilot had no choice but to surrender to the prison of Saint Jerome. The craft landed on the roof of the establishment, a rope was thrown into the yard for the two inmates to board, in vain.

“I told the two guys hang on to the rope!” recalls Marchisio.  

The detainees complied, the helicopter took off to land 1.7 kilometers away, with the fugitives still hanging from the rope. 

The latter continued their escape in an SUV, before being nabbed a few hours later. 

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