Prisoners riot in Quebec jail

Saint-Jerome Jail. (MATHIEU LACOMBE/QMI AGENCY)

Saint-Jerome Jail. (MATHIEU LACOMBE/QMI AGENCY)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:02 PM ET

SAINT-JEROME, QUE. -- About 12 inmates at a Quebec jail north of Montreal sparked a mini-riot Saturday night, lighting a fire in the jail's courtyard and causing other damage to the detention facility.

Prison guards at the Saint-Jerome Jail called provincial police but were eventually able to control the prisoners by themselves after about 20 minutes, provincial police spokesman Daniel Thibaudeau said.

He said that prisoners were back in their cells five minutes after guards re-established order.

Local police in the town of Saint-Jerome, about 60 km north of Montreal, said no one was injured during what they described as a "rebellion."

Stephane Lemaire, president of the union representing prison guards in Quebec, told QMI Agency Sunday that the province's jails are overpopulated.

"We've been asking for more space for a long time now," he said in an interview "The government says they want us to focus on rehabilitation, but we don't have the time since we're spending our time managing the traffic of people who are coming and going (in jails)."

Lemaire added that there are multiple reasons for inmates to act aggressively towards guards.

"Sometimes the mixture of alcohol and drugs (could influence inmates)," he said. "The investigation will show what happened ... but it was the beginning of a riot."

Earlier in the week, 16 inmates at the Hull jail in Gatineau, Que., barricaded themselves in a wing of the facility. There were no reports of injuries, however, inmates caused significant damage to the detention centre.

 


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