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.
Four Canadian letterpress printers, from Nova Scotia, Alberta, and British Columbia, created 5×7 postcards with their responses to the 30th National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Sets of five postcards each are for sale, with all proceeds going to local groups raising awareness of gender safety.
Nova Scotia desperately needs a mandatory review process with teeth to review adult deaths in custody. The excellent East Coast Prison Justice Society, together with NS E. FRy societies, will make that case once again tonight at Law Amendments, and they would appreciate your support.
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.”
Public Service Announcement. A very worthy cause.