Life in Quebec is at its most liberated in months. Restaurants and bars are open for business. Theaters, gyms, and symphony halls are all examples of public spaces. The curfew is no longer in effect, and the entire province is designated as a low-risk “green zone.” It’s a different story in provincial jails.
Provincial jails have begun quarantining detainees for two weeks upon arrival since the beginning of the outbreak. This form of quarantine has little resemblance to what Canadians are subjected to when entering the country or awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. Many convicts face two weeks of solitary confinement in a cramped cell for 23 hours a day, 14 days straight.
With pandemic restrictions easing outside the jails, a Montreal doctor is wondering if solitary quarantines are an effective means to avoid epidemics, as the province claims, and some lawyers who represent convicts are raising concerns about the practice. Marie-Claude Lacroix, a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in detained people’s rights, told that detaining criminals in their cells for 14 days with nothing to do is “excessive” and “inhumane.”
Some people are still being held without charge and are believed innocent.