COVID-19 in federal penitentiaries: more cases among inmates of Quebec

COVID-19 dans les pénitenciers fédéraux: plus de cas chez les détenus du Québec

OTTAWA – Quebec has been the main focus of the COVID-19 for federal inmates.

It is this that has informed the Office of the correctional investigator in his update on the COVID-19 to the federal correctional services released on Friday.

“Overall, since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 360 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among federal inmates, representing approximately 2.7 % of the total prison population (n = 13 245),” it said in a press release, the correctional investigator Ivan Zinger.

According to the analysis of the Office, as 64.2% of the population of inmates infected with the COVID-19 were inmates of the Belle Province.

Still, the situation for inmates under the responsibility of Ottawa may have stabilized in Quebec as everywhere else. As well, there was, as of Friday only one case known active in the country as a whole.

According to the investigator, nearly 1300 screening tests COVID-19 have been made in federal correctional institutions, which corresponds to approximately 10 % of the total prison population.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus is contained in five prisons, he added. Three of them have been the subject of screenings massive. This is notably the case of the Joliette Institution for women, but also to the federal training Centre, a correctional facility minimum-security Laval.

Two inmates, however, have lost their fight against the disease.

The death of the most recent is that of a man in his sixties, which occurred on may 3 at the federal training Centre. CSC stressed that “the fact that this hotel in Quebec is also home to a high proportion of older people (about half of the population is aged over 50 years).”

In the case of the staff, even if the Office of the correctional investigator does not report publicly the number of infections, however, it has been suggested that “the majority of these cases are now considered resolved or restored”.

In addition, the investigator Ivan Zinger is making in establishments of Ontario and Quebec, to “conduct inspections with short, but targeted”, and this, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Mr. Zinger has also recommended that the correctional Service of Canada (CSC) “performs a review of the epidemiological relating to the COVID-19 prior to September 2020”.

Demographic profile

The report also provides a demographic profile of positive cases. Thus, “the majority of cases were men (83 %) white or caucasian (61,6 %) housed in medium-security institutions (86 %)”.

The average age of people contaminated was 45.7 years (median age = 46 years), age ranging from 21 to 83 years. Most of the cases were serving their first federal sentence and had been serving a sentence average of 3.69 years.

“It should be noted that there are a significant number of inmates of the inuit, who have contracted the virus, compared to their representation in the prison population”, has been specified by the Bureau, indicating that the majority of positive cases to the COVID-19 involving prisoners inuit are produced in an establishment in Quebec.

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