Open letter: At this time the only adequate defence to the spread of COVID-19 inside our jails, and consequent preventable deaths, is strategic decarceration — i.e., ensuring that admissions and numbers of prisoners held in facilities are as low as possible, consistent with public safety.
In this terrifying time we are deeply worried about folks inside. WWW and all volunteer orgs have had our access to provincial facilities suspended completely and indefinitely. The prisoners may only have non-contact visits and 2 free phone calls per week. No action has yet been taken to reduce the burden through temporary releases, etc.
East Coast Prison Justice Society, Elizabeth Fry Societies (NS Mainland and Cape Breton), Women’s Wellness Within, and the NS Prisoners’ Health Coalition co-wrote the following letter.
So far Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and RCMP are not pursuing the implementation of many of the recommendations called for in the Wortley report, a Freedom of Information request reveals.
Over the summer the Halifax Coalition to Ban Street Checks has been out talking to people in Halifax about the practice of street checks. In a relatively short period of time, we collected close to 6000 signatures against the racist practice.
Delays in the Lionel Desmond enquiry are unacceptable and cruel. “Sources close to this writer state that these delays are largely due to a number of lawyers demanding more money per hour while the Desmond and Borden families are made to wait, thus adding more trauma and pain and suffering,” writes Raymond Sheppard..
Went to today’s Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting, and heard how a petition to ban street checks is growing by leaps and bounds. Also, how and when the carding database will be purged. And a group complains that street checks never ended, despite the moratorium.
Two Halifax residents are circulating a petition calling on the Halifax Regional Municipality and the provincial government to ban the racist practice of police checks.
An Ontario judge asked to review new street check regulations in Ontario similar to the ones Nova Scotia is contemplating, found that we’re better off just banning the racist practice.
PSA: There are no more studies needed. There is much work to be done to undo the layers of racism at play in the HPD. Banning street checks is only a start, but an absolutely necessary one. Let Minister Mark Furey know that we need to end the racist practice of street checks now.
I ask why it was journalists who revealed the racist bias of police street checks rather than the Board of Police Commissioners, whose job it is to oversee the Halifax police. Then I speculate on the answer. They’re worried that it will expose how powerless they really are.