A unit head from Saint-Jérôme prison takes his own life amid tensions
A survey by the Executive Peace Officer Labor Relations Committee revealed a toxic climate.
The 47-year-old's death prompted several of his colleagues to sound the alarm before other tragedies occur.
The staff of the Saint-Jérôme Correctional Services Center, located in the Laurentians, is in shock after the suicide of one of their own, on October 13, in a context of work climate that they describe as toxic.
Radio-Canada received an email the day after the death of Dominique Bellerose, who would have ended her life after being severely affected by difficult working relations with her employer.
The authors of the message, for fear of reprisals from their employer, have requested anonymity.
The death of the 47-year-old, who held a position as a unit manager, would have prompted them to sound the alarm before more dramas occur among the managers of the prison facility.
A confidante of Dominique Bellerose corroborates the information according to which the toxic climate at work contributed to him committing the irreparable. She confirms that he was recently experiencing psychological distress.
Dominique and I spoke regularly together. I know he harbored anger towards his employer. Prison conditions have caused him post-traumatic shock in recent years. The lack of mental health follow-up and, above all, management support certainly contributed to his death, confided this family member, who preferred not to identify himself.
Lately, he was on leave for burnout. He was home alone. I think that the Ministry of Public Security must investigate the circumstances of his death to bring to light the lack of psychological follow-up for people who work in prisons, she added.
“Over the course of her career, Dominique has been bullied by inmates, spat on, and endured countless verbal and physical assaults. He had to repeatedly undergo tests for hepatitis, HIV. This environment is extremely difficult. There should be rules to oblige both agents and executives to be psychologically monitored. But, they do not feel consideration from their bosses.
— Confident of Dominique Bellerose
Dominique Bellerose is survived by her children, Camille and Thomas, as well as her mother of her children, Éva Thériault.
An internal survey of the Fraternité des cadres agents de la paix was also sent to Radio-Canada to denounce the climate and the difficult relations with the management of the Center de services correctionnels de Saint-Jérôme.
The results, which were shared with members on October 6, expose a perception of favoritism by the current general management in granting promotions to inexperienced and poorly qualified executives for coveted positions.
“These findings can give the perception that all the 'privileged' are part of the same family and that this group of friends seems to have ties even outside of their workplace. »
— Excerpt from a letter from the Fraternity of Executive Peace Officers to its members
Among the elements disturbing the work climate at the Inside the walls, we evoke the lack of human consideration of the manager-leadership with regard to burnout.
Overwork, acts of disrespect that go unpunished by senior management against immediate supervisors, lack of support and listening, as well as the feeling of being considered a number that can be replaced by unqualified people are part of the list of irritants denounced by the Fraternity of executive officers of the peace.
The work climate is toxic at the Saint-Jérôme Correctional Services Center, according to executive officers.
The president of the Syndicat des agents de la paix en services correctionnels du Québec was also shaken by the death of Mr. Bellerose.
J& #x27;ve known Dominique Bellerose personally. Before becoming a manager, he was an agent and union representative. His death touches me directly, said Mathieu Lavoie, president of SAPSCQ-CSN.
The Syndicat des agents de la paix en services correctionnels du Québec does not hesitate to speak of a work climate that has deteriorated in two years.
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone. Acts of violence against corrections personnel, drone problems around prisons and the abundance of narcotics among inmates contribute to making the living environment very difficult, considers union leader Mathieu Lavoie.
The Services correctionnels du Québec is still looking to fill some 360 vacant correctional officer positions across the province.
Our members alone are forced to work compulsory overtime in establishments where staff shortages are the most problematic. The number of agents and managers on sick leave for burnout is currently exponential, Mr. Lavoie lamented.
Called to react to the death of Dominique Bellerose and the toxic work climate, the Department of Public Security responded by email that news of the death of a staff member at the Saint-Jérôme Detention Facility last week was received with great sadness at the Ministry of Public Security.
“The department's management team, on behalf of the entire organization, would like to offer their deepest condolences to the individual's family, as well as friends and colleagues. Out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of its employees' records, the Department of Public Safety will not be issuing any additional comments. »
—Louise Quintin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Security
Dominique Bellerose is survived by her children, Camille and Thomas, as well as the mother of this.
A GoFundMe fundraising campaign launched by his former colleagues has raised nearly $10,000 for his children, so that they can benefit from psychological help in the circumstances.
< p class="e-p">People who need help should call 9-1-1 or contact the following agencies:
Let's Talk Suicide Canada 1-833-456-4566 (phone), text 4pm-12am ET: 45645
Youth, J& #x27;listen 1 800 668-6868
In Quebec: 1 866 APPELLE (1 866 277-3553), text message: 1 855 957-5353
< p class="e-p">The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention