(Quebec) The Minister responsible for Social Services, Lionel Carmant, is asking the National Institute of Forensic Psychiatry Philippe-Pinel to revise the list of offenders waiting to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to avoid exceeding the legal deadlines.
“Immediately, I asked the [présidente-directrice générale de l’Institut] to revise the waiting list to avoid that there are some who exceed the additional deadlines, “said Minister Carmant briefly when he arrived at question period on Tuesday.
The Press reported on Tuesday the severe finding of Judge Dennis Galiatsatos, of the Court of Quebec, who accused the State of “not reacting” to the alarm signals launched for two years by the Philippe-Pinel Institute on the “catastrophic” delays wait times for the psychiatric assessment of offenders.
A psychiatric evaluation to determine whether an accused can be declared a dangerous or long-term offender must in principle be carried out within 60 days, stipulates the Criminal Code. However, Judge Galiatsatos has just refused to extend this deadline, making it impossible for the public prosecutor to declare a violent criminal who stabbed a man in the face of dangerous offenders.
The Press revealed last November that the Institut Philippe-Pinel was no longer able to assess Quebec’s worst criminals within legal deadlines due to an “exponentially growing” volume of applications, insufficient funding and a deficient mode of remuneration.
“Everything is done to ensure that the assessments are made within the required timeframes, the timeframes also provided for by law, we want to ensure that we are much more efficient at this level”, retorted Tuesday the Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Minister Lionel Carmant recalled that the Legault government has invested $44 million “to prioritize forensic psychiatry”.
“The issue is not just the staff, it is in fact a concentration of knowledge that makes everyone evaluated at Pinel. We have started to deploy Capitale-Nationale, which assesses young offenders, Estrie has also been determined, but over the next few years, we will be training different centers to allow more centers to assess these patients to provide support. in Pinel,” he said.
Only five experts – part-time – carry out this type of evaluation at Pinel, since the mode of remuneration is not advantageous. Quebec has only granted $100,000 since 2011 to make 15 requests per year, while more than 35 are made on average.
The interim leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Marc Tanguay, believes that the government should assess the possibility of making legislative changes to extend the current 60-day deadline. “The Pinel Institute is in my county […] it is a more than essential service, to have offenders declared dangerous and violent. It is a basic question of public safety,” he said on Tuesday.
What happens with an individual who leaves without having seen his psychiatric evaluation? It is necessary, it must be done. And, once again, this is a clear example of a service failure.
Marc Tanguay, interim leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
Minister Jolin-Barrette closed the door on Tuesday to review the 60-day period prescribed in the law.
According to the co-spokesperson of Québec solidaire, Manon Massé, the Minister of Justice must quickly “take action” to reduce delays and be more attractive to the Institute, but also more broadly throughout the justice system.
“I think the Minister of Justice is accountable and he has been a minister for four years. So, I hope he will go see the Minister responsible for the Treasury Board to ensure that working conditions also, in the justice system, will be improved, ”said Manon Massé.
With Louis-Samuel Perron, The Press