Quebec: no more surveillance bracelets in 2023 to neutralize attackers

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Quebec: no more surveillance bracelets in 2023 to neutralize attackers

Quebec wants to deploy about 500 monitoring bracelets throughout the territory, in 2023.

12 months ago, Quebec became the first jurisdiction in Canada to launch a two-pronged tracking system for domestic violence suspects, and while victims' rights groups welcome the technology, they want it. learn more about its effectiveness.

Tracking equipment consists of a wristband worn by the suspect and a mobile application that allows the victim to monitor the suspect's movements.

Since the beginning of the program, Quebec authorities have used the bracelets in 20 cases, mainly in Quebec and a few other regions, but not in Montreal.

Louise Riendeau, spokesperson for & #x27;a victims' rights group that works with women's shelters says bracelets are a tool, but not a magic bullet.

It's unclear how often authorities plan to order suspects to wear the bracelets relative to the number of times the devices are used, said Riendeau, who is a member of the Regroupement des maisons pour femmes victims de domestic violence.

There is very little information available, deplores this one. We don't know if the victims felt safer or if there were certain issues; if it put them in a state of hypervigilance or if, on the contrary, everything was positive.

The bracelet uses geolocation technology and is equipped with a speaker. If a suspect violates its terms – such as being too close to the victim's home or workplace – they receive an alert through the bracelet's speaker. If he does not comply with the conditions, the police are contacted.

Bracelets can only be used with the victim's consent. They can be imposed on suspects who are released on bail, who are serving a community sentence or who are conditionally released after serving a sentence in a provincial prison. Suspects of domestic violence may be ordered to wear them by a judge, a prison warden or an officer of the parole board or the Quebec correctional service.

Defenders of victims say bracelets should not replace detention.

In a case that arose in the Quebec region shortly after the devices were introduced, a man with a history of domestic violence offered to wear a bracelet while out on bail, but a judge denied the request. . The magistrate ruled that the defendant had a history of violating the conditions of release and ordered his remand, adding that it was not up to the victim to manage the risk that the prisoner would be released. defendant violates court orders.

Victim advocates also want to know if the technology can be effective in rural areas, where police often patrol large areas and may not be able to respond quickly.

The Minister of Public Security, Fran├žois Bonnardel, must give more explanations on the deployment of the bracelets, say associations which fight against violence.

The challenge is that Quebec is a large territory and that cellular and Internet reception is not perfect everywhere, recalls Louise Riendeau. We would like more information on the use of technology to ensure it can be effective in less densely populated areas than Quebec City.

Riendeau reports that groups have requested a meeting with Public Security Minister Fran├žois Bonnardel to obtain details on how the bracelet is being deployed.

The widespread deployment of the tracking system is planned for 2023, including in Montreal. A total of about 500 wristbands will be available across Quebec, and officials said the program is expected to cost about $41 million over five years.

It is also noted that wristbands could be added if there is a request.

The wristband program is one of 190 recommendations from ;a government report from December 2020 aimed at tackling sexual violence.

The list of recommendations also includes the creation of specialized courts to deal with cases of sexual and domestic violence. For now, the bracelets are only used for suspects or offenders serving a provincial sentence, as the project is managed by the Government of Quebec.

The decision to adopt the bracelet for people sentenced to a federal sentence is the exclusive responsibility of the Government of Canada, said Louise Quintin, spokesperson for the Quebec Ministry of Public Security, in an email. However, Quebec invites its federal and provincial counterparts to follow suit with the adoption of such a measure and will be happy to provide them with the benefit of its expertise, if necessary.

In Ottawa, Private Member's Bill C-233 would amend the Criminal Code to require a judge to consider electronic monitoring devices before releasing suspects involved in domestic violence cases .

Conservative Quebec Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a longtime advocate for victims' rights, has tabled Bill S-205, which would require a person accused of domestic violence to wear an electronic tracking bracelet upon release. bail.

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu tabled a bill targeting those accused of domestic violence

A Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) spokesperson confirms that the agency also uses tracking bracelets to ensure suspects adhere to curfews and the like conditions, but he clarified that the technology does not come with an app for victims.

CSC continues to monitor the progress of the pro program vincial electronic surveillance targeting domestic violence in Quebec, federal authorities said in an email.

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