Wellness Within: An Organization for Health & Justice applauds the state of Minnesota for passing the Healthy Start Act, which will give incarcerated people who are pregnant the option of receiving pre- and post-natal care and giving birth in community settings. They will no longer be separated from their newborns shortly after birth. We urge Nova Scotia to implement a similar policy.

With the election season in full swing, it is time for another round of the Wellness Within Election Toolkit. Here are some questions for provincial MLA candidates when they arrive at your doorstep, or call. You can also email/facebook/tweet these questions to them!

Statement: We welcome and support the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) policy shift in the last few years to be trans-inclusive and we cannot let this work go anywhere but forward. We recognize that several of the women who wrote a recent Open Letter to CAEFS share that they are formerly incarcerated, and we honour their experience and pain. We do not support their discriminatory comments about incarcerated trans women, nor their assumptions about who speaks for incarcerated and criminalized women, or their calls for the creation of new prisons for trans people.

On this Mothers Day Mirinda Bray and Ashley Avery of the Coverdale Courtwork society describe how the Family Justice Program supports women and mothers who are navigating the family courts through child protection and custody matters, and mothers who are provincially incarcerated or criminalized. “I needed some good news and for once I finally got it. I got help getting a place thanks to Barry House and learned about Coverdale. Now I have reunited with my son and am so grateful,” writes a participant.

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.

Media release: On April 2, news broke of a video, apparently taken by a corrections officer and posted on the social media site snapchat. The video shows an imprisoned woman with an insulting, dehumanizing caption and refers to the woman as a person with diabetes. The video is an affront to the filmed woman’s dignity and rights to privacy and confidentiality. It also raises grave concerns about the clinical care that prisoners are receiving at CNSCF, the responsibility of NS Health, and of how their health care needs are perceived by correctional staff employed by the Department of Justice.