The East Coast Prison Justice Society on the Burnside jail protest: “We ask the Ministers of Justice and Health: How do they propose to show that they are listening? How do they propose to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that conditions of confinement are improved to meet basic human rights standards?”
Paul Wozney: “The call for a collaborative working relationship by the government has been heard. Teachers have established a new corps of leaders who are prepared to forge a new, dynamic partnership. All that remains to be seen is whether the Liberals’ call for a fresh start is authentic or whether their talking points continue to hide a disdain for the rights for teachers and public education.”
Alec Stratford: “The stories of both prisoners and their advocates paint a picture of a system that overuses solitary confinement, has untrained and unscreened guards, provides poor health care, has unsanitary conditions and is an unsafe environment for both inmates and guards.”
New contributor Yazan Khader attended Monday’s Burnside Jail info meeting. Here’s his report. “Despite being pregnant she lost weight in the first few months at Burnside,” a formerly incarcerated mother reported. “She blamed this on the food offered at Burnside, which “wasn’t nutritious” and “not fully cooked. She was often given old leftover food to accommodate her dietary needs, she said.
“I have been reading about the prisoners’ strike at Burnside. I understand that the conditions are not humane and that prisoners at Burnside are asking for necessary improvements in health care, exercise, visits, food, quality of air and library access. As a Palestinian and former resident of Gaza, I get the feeling that I am reading about the people of Palestine in general and Gaza in particular.”
Nothing is ever simple when you’re on income assistance. Just ask Kate, a single mother. Michael, the elder of her two children, is a four-year old boy who has non-visible disabilities and is not yet fully potty trained. Now Community Services has sent Kate a letter that it will no longer help pay for the boy’s diapers. A decision like that is devastating when getting by is a struggle. “These caseworkers make me feel me feel as if they’re paying for it, as if it’s coming out of their pay cheques. It’s driving me bonkers.”
Kendall Worth meets up with a couple on income assistance, all set to do a serious job search now that they have a free bus pass and a phone. Just goes to show what a difference access to public transportation makes. “Now that we have both the bus pass and the phone, we are planning to get down to business with looking for meaningful employment,” Peter and Peggy tell Kendall. “Kendall, we are tired of living with the bureaucratic nonsense. We are tired of it, and we hope that now that we got our free bus pass we can get off this system.”
Judy Haiven on the Burnside Jail prisoners strike, and why it matters.
News release: We encourage all individuals and organizations who profess to stand with workers and the marginalized against exploitation and oppression to publicly voice their unequivocal support for the statement and demands of the prisoners, and to provide any and all material assistance possible.
Caseworkers at the Community Justice Society are heading into week 4 of their strike demanding that wage fairness be respected. The five employees, members of CUPE 4764, have asked us to put out a call for financial support.