In the last day two individuals within the the Burnside jail, one an employee, have been infected with COVID-19. It’s time to let our MLAs know that that there is understanding and compassion in the community for people who are experiencing criminalization, says Martha Paynter of Wellness Within.
Press release: Wellness Within, an Organization for Health and Justice, calls for the immediate release of prisoners amid record-breaking COVID-19 outbreak
An open letter to Minister Zach Churchill of Health and Wellness asks that the province remove barriers that may stop migrant workers with temporary status, refugee claimants, and others with precarious legal status from accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. We speak with two of the letter’s authors. They’re not asking for much, but small changes would make a huge difference, they say.
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.
Letter from Wellness Within Chair Martha Paynter, to Mayor Mike Savage and councillor Lindell Smith, re the recent video showing a white Halifax police officer threatening the life of a Black man who has his hands up.
Press release issued by Wellness Within: “Bill 22, which will allow for the removal of mandatory minimum sentences for some offences and the partial decriminalization of substance use, is simply inadequate, and will not meaningfully address the overpolicing and overincarceration of people who use drugs nor prevent overdose deaths. We join with other advocates in demanding the full abolition of mandatory sentences, decriminalization of all drugs, and respect for the autonomy of people who use drugs. “
Martha Paynter: “For the most part, the people in prison in Canada have now gone 11 months without a visit from family. Visits in most federal prisons are currently banned. The organization I volunteer with has not been inside a correctional facility to facilitate programming since March 2020.”
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.
News release: Wellness Within, an Organization for Health and Justice, calls for cancellation of Jack the Ripper “game” in Halifax.