People imprisoned at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) are conducting a hunger strike after the jail failed to honour the agreement that brought a previous hunger strike to an end on June 4. This is a letter in support of their efforts by the people engaged in the 2018 Burnside prison strike.
Joanne Bealy on some of the many strong local documentaries in the lineup at the Atlantic International Film Festival this year. “What these films show us is that the people of Nova Scotia are visionaries, the provincial and municipal politicians … not so much.”
News release: On January 30, 2019, in light of Bell Canada’s “Let’s Talk” campaign, Women’s Wellness Within would like to take the opportunity to join our friends with the Jail Accountability and Information Line (JAIL) in highlighting the importance of mental health for prisoners in Canada. Limiting communication for incarcerated Canadians exacerbates the already pronounced effects of confinement on prisoners’ mental health. We are asking our decision-makers to prioritize the mental health of all Canadians.
Rebecca Hussman went to a talk by registered nurse and activist Martha Paynter about the shocking lack of health care for women in Nova Scotia prisons. Paynter dedicated her talk to two women who died while in Truro’s Nova Institution for Women in 2015: Veronica Park and Camille Strickland-Murphy. “… this is what happens when we inadequately care for people inside,” Paynter said.
NDP Justice critic Claudia Chender on solitary confinement and other prison-related issues. “Our provincial jails are a black box. We have very little idea of what goes on behind those walls at all. It’s time for some transparency in our correctional system. It’s time for an independent review of the practice of solitary confinement. It’s time for the government to start listening.”
The news of the death of Joshua Evans, a young man who lived with developmental disabilities and committed suicide while on remand in the Burnside Jail, is devastating. The CBC reports that Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey now wants an investigation into Joshua’s death, including “whether he should have been there in the first place.” That’s quite the statement, given that In Nova Scotia we lock up people like Joshua all the time. Often in prison, where health care and mental health care needs are not sufficiently addressed. Even more frequently in prison-like institutions. And the province is just fine with that.
News release: “Finally, it is important to understand that the over-representation of BIPOC folks in prisons is by design. The prison system in Canada is a part of the settler-colonial project and therefore, entrenched in colonialism and racism and it is up to us to challenge and dismantle these institutions.”
Statement by the Burnside prisoners issued at the conclusion of their non-violent and courageous prison strike. “While our demands have not yet been met, and as we grieve this unnecessary tragedy, we remain hopeful that our words will be carried forward. We will continue to speak and fight until no more lives are lost.”
On the evening of September 9 police forcefully removed some thirty protesters attending a rally outside of the Burnside jail in support of the non-violent prisoners’ protest taking place inside. Rather than making an effort to resolve the matter in a civilized fashion, police threatened protesters with a dog, used pepper spray, and threw one protester violently to the ground and then arrested him. All this without a warning, according to the protesters, and while they were just about ready to call it a day.
Last Saturday, one day before the non-violent protest at Burnside prison was set to end, nearly two dozen community members gathered for a workshop to reflect on the protest and to discuss strategies to keep its momentum going. Yazan Khader reports.