The brutal evictions of unhoused people initiated by Halifax police on August 18 are slowly disappearing from the headlines, and from the general public’s minds. Thankfully, the push back continues.
A new report, published by the East Coast Prison Justice Society, raises serious concerns about conditions in provincial jails, miserable even under normal circumstances and now further aggravated by Covid-related lockdowns.
SInce at least late February migrant justice advocates and health experts have been asking the province to implement specific measures ensure that migrants, including people without migration status, refugee claimants, international students and migrant workers, all have full access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the province to pay attention continues to be an uphill battle.
As infection numbers in Nova Scotia reach record highs, prisoner advocates are asking that the province vaccinate incarcerated individuals and correctional staff within the provincial prison system. This demand is even more urgent as the province is considering another mass release similar to the one early on during the pandemic.
Media release from the East COast Prison Justice Society: We are alarmed to learn that there has been no vaccination rollout either for provincial prisoners or correctional staff, despite prisons being obvious vectors of community and institutional co-transmission, and the heightened vulnerability & disproportionate numbers of Indigenous, racialized, and disabled prisoners.
Press release: In mid-March, in response to the pandemic, Nova Scotia was successful in reducing provincial jail populations by nearly 50%. However, these lessons appear to have been lost as the health and human rights of persons in Nova Scotia’s provincial jails are again in jeopardy..
Prison advocates are raising the alarm about appalling conditions at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Burnside and the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth. Things are made even worse by the pandemic. We speak with Dr. Adeline Iftene and lawyer Claire McNeil, both members of the East Coast Prison Justice Society.
Media release: The purpose of the survey is to determine candidates’ stances on key issues related to policing, ahead of the upcoming municipal election on October 17, 2020. Topics covered in the survey range from the Calls for Justice from the Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, to the HRM budget and the delivery of policing services by the Halifax Regional Police and RCMP.
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.