A profile of the venerable Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia. “Although providing this support has been challenging with COVID restrictions, E Fry’s staff never gives up: “We can’t put things on pause- we have to keep going. Holly House remained open – even expanded. We are one of the only places that take recently-released women [from incarceration], there is nowhere for them to go.”
When COVID-19 hit, Nova Scotia’s provincial prisoner population was reduced by 41 percent in just a few months. The women’s unit at Central Nova was down to just seven prisoners. Now all that work has been undone, write Ashley Avery and Emma Halpern.
News release: On Monday, November 16th a coalition of groups invested in prisoner justice are launching a 15-day spotlight on the ongoing practice of solitary confinement in Canada.
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.
As soon as COVID-19 spread to North America, health professionals, scholars and activists expected widespread outbreaks in prisons. Advocates pleaded for governments to release prisoners. One province, Nova Scotia, heeded this call.
The joint housing initiative between John Howard, Elizabeth Fry Mainland and Coverdale that has supported 34 people who have exited jail during the pandemic is being shut down as of June 30 as the federal funding has ended. Despite the groups’ best efforts we have received no commitment from the provincial government. Sara Tessier is a peer support worker for the project and has penned this op/ed.
Three community-based organizations serving criminalized people in Nova Scotia have developed and launched a pilot housing project to support people exiting jail during the global pandemic Covid-19.
News release: Today, The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) – along with the Atlantic Elizabeth Fry Societies – have learned that a former Correctional Officer at the Nova Institution for Women was arrested and charged with 6 counts of sexual assault, 6 counts of breach of trust, and 1 count of trying to procure sexual service – all related to his work at the Institution.
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.