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Security concerns over murderer's prison break

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Questions about security are being raised following the escape yesterday of a convicted murderer from the minimal security prison in Laval.

The Journal de Montreal newspaper reports 55-year-old Robert Gaudette escaped through his room window. Gaudette was serving a life sentence for killing his wife in 2000. He strangled her and disposed of the body in the garbage.

Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu said he's not surprised by the escape. He claims that upon visiting the Montée Saint-François prison two years ago, he noticed there was little surveillance and inmates come and go as they please.

"They can go out early in the morning at 9 and just be back in jail late at night without any control," Boisvenu said in an interview.

"I ask, is that a prison or is that a motel?"

This was the same prison Hells Angel René Charlebois escaped from last September. Boisvenu said even minimum security prisons should have reinforced security and he also questions Corrections Canada's security review of inmates.

"Is the evaluation right or do we make the wrong evaluation on their possibility to escape that jail?" said Boisvenu.

Boisvenu is an activist for crime victims' rights. His 27-year-old daughter Julie was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 2002.

Corrections Canada would only say the investigation is continuing.

Gaudette is five-foot-11, 189 pounds with a fair complexion, green eyes and light brown hair. He has a surgical scar on his abdomen.

A parole hearing was pending for Gaudette.

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