Wednesday, 21 November 2018
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Halifax Quakers – Open letter to the minister: “No prisoner should be treated with such indignity and harshness”

To the Minister,

We, the members of the Halifax Monthly Meeting of Quakers, are writing to express deep concern for the inmates at the Central Nova Correctional Institution at Burnside whose basic human rights are not being addressed, in fact, are being violated in multiple ways. We support the prisoners in their peaceful strike for we believe that all their demands for better treatment and conditions are legitimate requests. The conditions they endure on a daily basis violate their civil rights and there would be more outcry if we were treating animals similarly. No prisoner should be treated with such indignity and harshness and the fact that many inmates have not even been convicted but are simply awaiting trial in remand makes the situation more incomprehensible.

The Province and its Department of Justice must step up to its responsibilities to provide much better living conditions, health care, food, recreational and educational opportunities and visiting rights. Otherwise, how do we hope for inmates to become rehabilitated and future contributing members of society? There is plenty of established research showing that a punitive system does not accomplish the desired result of reformation. Inmates are human beings first – they may have committed wrongdoings; however they deserve to be treated humanely and provided with opportunities to improve themselves.

We implore you to make the changes necessary in our penal system.

Sincerely,

Halifax Friends Meeting (Quakers)

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