Prison Justice Network updates Spring 2020

Click here to read – inside: resources, calls to action, news, and inspiration in these covid19 times by, for, & with prisoners/detainees!
Table Of Contents
calls to action
number for people in Alouette to call, 1
info@spartacusbooks.net
Solidarity and Resource Exchange on the Coast Salish Lands, 1
https://coda.io/@awsamuel/vancouver-mutual-aid
Downtown Eastside and COVID-19, 1
https://fb.me/DTESCOVID
WISH Drop In Centre, 1
https://twitter.com/WISHvancouver
STAND for Prison Justice: Students Taking A New Direction For Prison Justice, 1
https://fb.me/PrisonJusticeUBC
Criminalizing the Marginalized can Worsen the Crisis, 2
https://halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/we-face-a-public-health-emergency-and-criminalizing-the-marginalized-can-worsen-the-crisis
Demand PM, MP, MLA de-carcerate
https://cp-ep.org/nooneisdisposable
Land defenders continue, 3
https://twitter.com/Gidimten
Demand CBSA release detainees, 3
https://solidarityacrossborders.org/en/release-remaining-detainees
Stop the spread of racism, 3
https://stopthespread.ca
Ask PM to add aid for vulnerable, 4
https://www.cjpme.org/dont_forget
Denounce Colombian massacre, 4
https://afgj.salsalabs.org/nomoremassacresnomorecoronavirusincolombianprisons
Urge Turkey to release prisoners, 4
https://amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/turkey-covid-19-prisoners-release
Release Palestinian child detainees, 4
https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/petition_israel_must_release_all_palestinian_child_detainees_amid_covid_19_pandemic
Sign letter on prison imperialism, 4
https://afgj.salsalabs.org/endorseopenletteroncoronavirusandusprisonimperialism
inspiration
Phone line for prisoners in Barton, 5
https://facebook.com/bartonsolidarityproject
news
Map of covid19 behind bars, 5
https://covid19behindbars.com
Lockdown at FVI, 5 & Mission, 19
https://globalnews.ca/news/6779699/coronavirus-mission-institution-cases
BC assessing early release, 6
https://vancouversun.com/news/covid-19-tensions-rising-in-crowded-b-c-jails
Okanagan prisoner has covid19, 6
https://castanet.net/news/Penticton/296249/Okanagan-Correctional-Centre-inmates-claim-COVID-19-case
Kent in virtual lockdown, 7
https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-dark-side-of-canadas-coronavirus-response
UBCIC demands release, 7
https://www.ubcic.bc.ca/open_letter_ubcic_demands_immediate_release_of_all_non_violent_offenders_as_part_of_covid_19
news (continued)
Bowden lockdown, 8
https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2020/03/20/covid-19-enters-the-canadian-prison-system
Prince Albert IWC organizing, 8
https://vice.com/en_ca/article/jge4yy/canadas-prisons-are-a-coronavirus-time-bomb-say-guards-and-inmates
Burnside prisoner interview, 8
https://halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/el-jones-interviews-a-prisoner-at-burnside-about-what-its-like-to-be-in-jail-during-a-pandemic
CSC considering early release, 9
https://cbc.ca/amp/1.5516664
Calls for urgent decarceration, 9
https://aptnnews.ca/2020/03/23/covid-19-pandemic-plan-needed-for-canadas-jails-and-prisons
Contain covid, not people video, 10
https://facebook.com/CSSDPRyerson/videos/691115248363665
From Burnside to Laval, 10
https://kersplebedeb.com/posts/from-burnside-to-laval-solidarity
https://nsadvocate.org/2020/03/28/press-release-coast-to-coast-support-for-migrant-detainees-on-hunger-strike-in-quebec-due-to-risks-of-covid-19-hungerstrikelaval
https://liguedesdroits.ca
Former detainee on Laval strike, 11
https://freecityradio.org/post/614149302725541888/mohammed-barry-on-lavalhungerstrike-during
Canada shuts out refugees, 12
https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2020/03/23/Shutting-Out-Refugees-Wrong-Wont-Make-Us-Safer
Can’t police way out of pandemic, 12
https://nowtoronto.com/news/coronavirus-we-cant-police-our-way-out-of-pandemic
Detainees’ hunger strike in WA, 13-14
http://laresistencianw.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Hunger-Strike-Press-Release.pdf
resistenciasolidarity@gmail.com
5 demands for federal prisons, 15
https://kersplebedeb.com/posts/covid-19-5-demands-for-federal-prisons
Prison strikes, 15
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZV_AkDIPHW7iYqQouIdfpEZsZ9w9zD_lr3Q6YB9LkT8
US federal prisons lockdown, 16
https://democracynow.org/2020/4/2/cruel_and_unusual_punishment_the_us
Nigeria groups demand release, 16
https://roape.net/2020/03/26/out-of-control-crisis-covid-19-and-capitalism-in-africa
Iran release prompts analysis, 16
https://jadaliyya.com/Details/40865
Contain covid19, not people, 17-18

Prison Justice Network newsletter 2020 Winter

Click here for the PJN newsletter 2020 Winter – PDF file (19 pages)

Table Of Contents
Events, page 1
Calls, pages 2-6
News, pp. 7-14
Publications, 14-17
Rest In Power – R.I.P., 18
Inspiration, 18-19
Events
March 15 (Sunday) Surrey (Central City) 2pm March and Rally Against Police Brutality, 1
https://facebook.com/events/230795217960519
March 15 (Sunday) Vancouver concert fundraiser for Chilean victims of police violence, 1
https://facebook.com/events/654751498598666
March 20 Edmonton “prison-related advocacy” by AB Prison Justice Society, 1
https://twitter.com/PrisonApjs
April 4, May 2, June 6 Vancouver prisoner letter writing event Spartacus Books, 1
https://spartacusbooks.net/events
April 6, May 4, June 8 Stark Raven radio 7-8pm Co-op Radio 100.5 FM, 1
http://prisonjustice.ca/stark-raven
Every Thursday “demand the release of Vaughn Prisoners into General Population!”, 1
https://facebook.com/thepeacehousedc
Calls
Aug 21-Sep 9 organize to promote prisoners’ human rights, 2
https://jailhouselawyerspeak.wordpress.com
write city council to stop facial recognition surveillance, 2
https://openmedia.org/NoFacialRecognition
support land defenders, 3
https://unistoten.camp
prisoners’ free phone access, 3
https://change.org/p/bell-give-prisoners-access-to-free-phones-now
justice for Kyaw Din, 3
https://redbraid.org/2019/10/15/justice-for-kyaw-petition
support Santina Rao, 4
https://change.org/p/nova-scotia-public-prosecution-services-justice-for-santina-rao
stop deportation of Celina Urbanowicz, 4
https://change.org/p/marco-mendicino-justin-trudeau-bill-blair-stop-deportation-of-roma-family-from-canada-save-celina-roksana-and-camila
free Yasser Albaz, 4
https://change.org/p/justin-trudeau-free-yasser-albaz-from-arbitrary-detention-in-egypt
solidarity with Haiti, 4
https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2448
write Ramsey Orta, 4
https://facebook.com/SupportRamseyOrta
support Dawna Brown, 5
http://FreeDawnaBrown.com
intl solidarity with women and trans people against carceral system, 5
https://womenprisoners.org/firestorm-international-solidarity
release jailed survivors of police torture, 5
https://caarpr.org/cfistpetitiontogov
overcome a challenge lately?, 6
https://selfadvocatenet.com/submit-your-story2
News
Joint Effort film clips fundraiser by IWW, 7
https://sub.media/video/trouble-20-inside-out
future immigration prison in Surrey, 6
https://facebook.com/prisonjusticevan
water protectors on Mi’kmaq territory, 6
https://twitter.com/StopAltonGas
women’s memorial march, 7
https://facebook.com/groups/womensmemorialmarch
Moka Dawkins’ release from prison, 7
https://facebook.com/justiceformoka
Secwepemc land defenders, 8
https://facebook.com/tinyhousewarriors
against Muskrat Falls dam on Inuit lands, 8
https://facebook.com/OntarioMuskrat
prisoners strike Clallam Bay prison in WA, 8
https://abolishcages.wordpress.com
CPP divests from US detention corp.s, 8
https://thetyee.ca/News/2019/07/08/CPP-Sells-Shares-US-Prison-Companies
onus on govt to justify migrant detention, 9
https://scc-csc.ca/case-dossier/cb/2019/37770-eng.aspx
against new $242m Seattle youth jail, 9
https://facebook.com/NoNewYouthJailSeattle
BC CivilLibertiesAssn hires Harsha Walia, 10
https://bccla.org
Improve parole: ‘Bring Them All Home’, 10
http://rappcampaign.com
Hong Kong prisoners make facemasks, 10
https://lausan.hk/2020/three-reports-from-female-inmates-at-hong-kongs-prison-mask-factory
prisoners strike Santa Rita jail, 11
https://iwocoakland.wordpress.com
#CloseRikers turns No New Jails in NYC, 12
https://nonewjails.nyc
N. Carolina prisoners win better care, 12
https://incarceratedworkers.org
Alabama prisoners against retaliations, 13
https://unheardvoicesotcj.wordpress.com
Florida: Juneteenth, lock-down GEO, 13
https://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com
Mississippi: Freedom Letters, conf., 14
https://facebook.com/UMsolidarity
Publications
“community alternative to drug war”, 14
https://straight.com/news/1332066/nathan-crompton-vpd-budget-spirals-out-control-defunding-police-our-community
new migrant detention centre in Laval, 14
https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/this-is-a-prison-no-matter-what-you-call-it
“Immigration Detention…Reality Check”, 14
https://migrantrights.ca/resources/realitycheck5
Mexico “integrates” migrants, maquilas, 14
https://nacla.org/news/2019/10/03/maquiladores-exploitation-migrants-border
“Lessons from Prison” by Rita Wong, 15
https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2019/09/24/Lessons-From-Prison-Pipeline-Protester-Reflects
Joint Effort on women in prisons, 15
https://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/talking-radical-radio/2019/12/forty-years-solidarity-women-prisoners
Organizing Abolitionist Study in prison, 15
https://rustbeltradio.org/2019/11/20/ep33
“How to abolish the Hong Kong police”, 16
https://lausan.hk/?s=police
against violence against women, Chile, 16
https://facebook.com/coordinadorafeminista8M
Jason Renard Walker’s Prison Journal, 16
https://jasonsprisonjournal.com
“Invisible Chess” movie on J. Goudlock, 16
https://freejasongoudlock.org
“Youth Experiences with Incarceration”, 16
https://abolitionjournal.org/building-a-kinder-justice-system-youth-experiences-with-incarceration
Surveillance and Society special issue, 16
https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/issue/view/804
Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons, 17
https://claritypress.com/product/these-chains-will-be-broken-palestinian-stories-of-struggle-and-defiance-in-israeli-prisons
Palestinian political prisoners’ education,17
https://addameer.org/publications/cultural-and-educational-life-palestinin-political-prisoners-occupation-prisons
“Imprisoned Body…Free Soul” student, 17
https://samidoun.net/2020/02/imprisoned-body-free-soul-samah-jaradat
Palestinian stories behind the numbers, 17
https://wearenotnumbers.org
R.I.P. – Rest In Power
Tom Manning, 18
https://kersplebedeb.com/posts/revolution-is-never-begun-anew
Michele M, 18
https://rabble.ca/columnists/2019/11/act-institutional-femicide-remembering-life-michele-m
Robert Seth Hayes, 18
https://certaindays.org/uncategorized/rest-in-power-robert-seth-hayes
Lina Ben Mhenni, 18
https://middleeasteye.net/features/love-letter-my-father-gift-reading-tunisias-prisoners
Inspiration
Jail Release Support Nights, 18-19
https://iwocoakland.wordpress.com/jail-release-support-nights

Prison Justice Network resources 2019 Spring

TABLE OF CONTENTS

prisoner committees/support groups, 3-11
prisoner committees/support groups’ education, 11
prisoner committees/support groups’ publications, 12-16
prisoner letter writing, 16
books and librarians for prisoners, 16-19
de-criminalization, 19-20
alternatives to incarceration/apprehension, 20-22
release, 23-24
re-integration, 24
families/friends of prisoners/detainees, 24-25
justice for survivors/lives lost, 26-28
organizing by other groups, 28-42
radio/podcasts, 43-44
publications (not by prisoners’ committees/support groups) 44-48
resistance camps/caravans, 48
immigrant/migrant/refugee detainees/support groups, 48-52
education (not by prisoners’ committees/support groups), 52-53
food, 53-54
health, 54-56
youth, 57-59
counter-violence, 58-60
legal, 60-64
index, 65-68

(note: below are only geographically closest to us and in “canada” – please open PDF file for full 68-page listing)

PRISONER COMMITEES/SUPPORT GROUPS
Joint Effort
http://prisonjustice.ca/joint-effort
Prison Justice Day Committee Vancouver
http://prisonjustice.ca/pjd-committee
WHoS William Head On Stage
https://whonstage.weebly.com
Black Prisoners’ Caucus
http://blackprisonerscaucus.org
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Seattle
https://seattleiwoc.net
Millhaven Lifers Liaison Group
https://opirgcarleton.org/millhaven-lifers-liaison-group
St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre
https://sjwomenscentre.ca/tag/incarcerated-women
EDUCATION BY PRISONER COMMITEES/SUPPORT GROUPS
Walls to Bridges
http://wallstobridges.ca
T.E.A.C.H.
http://blackprisonerscaucus.org/teach
PUBLICATIONS BY PRISONER COMMITEES/SUPPORT GROUPS
Out of Bounds
http://penalpress.com/en/name/out-of-bounds
Ad Astra Comix
https://adastracomix.com
Cell Count
http://pasan.org/cell-count.html
Certain Days
http://certaindays.org
Class Action News
http://classactionnews.org
Journal of Prisoners on Prisons
http://jpp.org
Kersplebedeb
https://leftwingbooks.net
Penal Press
http://penalpress.com
Women’s Prison Network
http://womensprisonnetwork.org
PRISONER LETTER WRITING
Prisoner Letter Writing
http://spartacusbooks.net/events
Prisoner Correspondence Project
https://prisonercorrespondenceproject.com
BOOKS AND LIBRARIANS FOR PRISONERS
Books 2 Prisoners
http://prisonjustice.ca/books-2-prisoners
Prison Project of Greater Edmonton Library Association
http://gela.ca/gela-prison-project
Prison Libraries Committee
http://mla.mb.ca/content/prison-libraries-committee
Books to Prisoners Ottawa
https://opirgcarleton.org/working-groups/books-2-prisoners
Open Door Books
https://opendoorbooks.wordpress.com
Books Beyond Bars
https://booksbeyondbars.wordpress.com
DE-CRIMINALIZATION
Communities Against Criminalization
https://facebook.com/againstcrimyyj
Anti-69
https://facebook.com/Anti69ers
Criminal Law and HIV Exposure Ontario Working Group
http://clhe.ca
ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION/APPREHENSION
Centre for Restorative Justice
http://sfu.ca/crj.html
Circle of Eagles
http://circleofeagles.com
Justice Program of Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services
http://vatjss.com
Fearless R2W Circle of Support: MB Child Welfare Education and Advocacy
https://facebook.com/FearlessR2W
Church Council on Justice and Corrections
https://ccjc.ca
RELEASE
Stride
https://cjiwr.com/stride
RE-INTEGRATION
Unlocking the Gates
http://ccphe.ubc.ca/peer-health-mentoring
FAMILIES/FRIENDS OF PRISONERS/DETAINEES
Canadian Families and Corrections Network
https://cfcn-rcafd.org
Mothers Offering Mutual Support Ottawa
http://momsottawa.com
JUSTICE FOR SURVIVORS/LIVES LOST
Red Women Rising
http://dewc.ca/resources/redwomenrising
Canadian Femicide Observatory
https://femicideincanada.ca
Deathscapes
https://deathscapes.org
Justice for Mohamed Harkat
http://justiceforharkat.com
Justice for Soleiman
https://twitter.com/justice4soli
Justice for Victims of Police Killings
https://facebook.com/justiceforvictimsofpolicekillings
Families of Sisters in Spirit Ottawa
https://facebook.com/fsismmiwg2s
It Starts With Us
http://itstartswithus-mmiw.com
ORGANIZING BY OTHER GROUPS
Vancouver Prison Justice Groups
https://facebook.com/prisonjusticevan
Letters For The Inside
https://sfpirg.ca/program/lfti
Rights Not Rescue
http://swanvancouver.ca/operation-northern-spotlight
Testify Indigenous
http://testifyindigenous.ca
No One Is Illegal
https://noii-van.resist.ca
Sanctuary Health Sanctuary City
http://sanctuarycityvan.com
South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy
https://sansad.org
Imagine No Kages
https://facebook.com/ImagineNoKages
Beyond Prison Walls Canada
http://beyondprisonwallscanada.wordpress.com
Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism
https://facebook.com/SCAR.Regina
STR8 UP
http://str8-up.ca
Bar None Winnipeg
https://barnoneblog.wordpress.com
Initiatives for Just Communities
https://initiativesjc.org
Animal Liberation Prisoner Support Toronto
https://facebook.com/animalliberationprisonersupporttoronto
Black Lives Matter – Toronto
http://blacklivesmatter.ca
Book Clubs For Inmates
http://bookclubsforinmates.com
Bridges Not Borders
https://bridgesnotborders.ca
Campaign for the Abolition of Solitary Confinement
http://abolishsolitary.ca
Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture
http://ccvt.org
Criminal Justice Reform of Federation of Black Canadians
https://fbcfcn.ca/opportunities/criminal-justice-reform
International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran
https://workers-iran.org
No Pride In Policing Coalition
https://facebook.com/NPiPC
Write On!
https://writeonprisoners.wixsite.com/writeon
End the Prison Industrial Complex
https://epic.noblogs.org
Criminalization and Punishment Education Project
http://tpcp-canada.blogspot.com
Criminalization and Punishment Education Project Ottawa
https://cp-ep.org
Prisoners United
http://prisonersunited.org
Canadian Council for Refugees
https://ccrweb.ca
Rap Battles 4 Social Justice
https://facebook.com/RapBattlesForSocialJustice
Solidarité sans frontières
http://solidarityacrossborders.org
East Coast Prison Justice Society
https://facebook.com/ECPJS
RADIO/PODCASTS
Stark Raven
http://prisonjustice.ca/stark-raven
Crackdown
http:// https://crackdownpod.com
Prison Radio
https://cfrcprisonradio.wordpress.com
Black Power Hour
https://ckdu.ca/shows/227
What Happened to Prisoner Justice Day?
http://prisonhistoryca.libsyn.com
PUBLICATIONS (not by prisoners’ committees/support groups)
Abolition
https://abolitionjournal.org
Police and Criminalization in Volcano
http://thevolcano.org/tag/police-criminalization
Voices: Indigenous Women on the Front Lines Speak
https://voicesfrontlines.com
Electromagnetic Print
https://electromagneticprint.com
Justice Behind the Walls
http://justicebehindthewalls.net
Brief History of Prisons and Resistance
https://itsgoingdown.org/author/bloc-party
Centre for Justice Exchange
https://justiceexchange.ca
First Light newsletter
http://ccvt.org/research-publication/publications
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
http://iclmg.ca
RESISTANCE CAMPS/CARAVANS
Unis’tot’en
https://unistoten.camp
IMMIGRANT/MIGRANT/REFUGEE DETAINEES/SUPPORT GROUPS
End Immigration Detention Network
https://endimmigrationdetention.com
NorthWest Detention Center Resistance
http://nwdcresistance.org
Pacific County Immigrant Support
https://pcisupport.org
Stop the Laval migrant prison
https://stopponslaprison.info
EDUCATION (not by prisoners’ committees/support groups)
Education Not Incarceration
https://facebook.com/EducationNotIncarceration
Literal Change
http://literalchange.com
FOOD
Cooperativa Tierra y Libertad
https://juustwa.org/call-to-support-tierra-y-libertad
HEALTH
BC College of Physicians and Surgeons must address ethical issues surrounding solitary confinement https://prisonjustice.org/bc-college-of-physicians-and-surgeons-must-address-ethical-issues-surrounding-solitary-confinement-2
Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education
http://ccphe.ubc.ca
Operating in Darkness: BC’s Mental Health Act Detention System
https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/clastest/pages/1794/attachments/original/1527278723/CLAS_Operating_in_Darkness_November_2017.pdf
Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
https://vandu.org
Canoe Journey Herbalists
https://facebook.com/canoejourneyherbalists
Disability Rights Washington
https://disabilityrightswa.org
Urban Indian Health Institute
https://uihi.org
Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault
https://coalitionagainstpsychiatricassault.wordpress.com
PASAN Prisoner HIV/AIDS Support Action Network
http:// http://pasan.org
Caring for Social Justice Collective
http://soignonslajusticesociale.ca
Trans Lifeline
https://translifeline.org
YOUTH
Amadeusz
http://amadeusz.ca
Criminal Justice work of Canadian Friends Service Committee
https://quakerservice.ca/our-work/justice
COUNTER-VIOLENCE
Clearing A Path: A Psychiatric Survivor Anti-Violence Framework
https://torontoantiviolencecoalition.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/clearing-a-path-dec-2015.pdf
October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality
http://october22.org
Third Eye Collective
http://thirdeyemontreal.com
LEGAL
Access Pro Bono
http://accessprobono.ca
Community Legal Assistance Society
http://clasbc.net
Indigenous Community Legal Clinic
http://allard.ubc.ca/iclc/indigenous-community-legal-clinic
Legal Services Society/Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC
https://lss.bc.ca
Pivot Legal Society
http://pivotlegal.org
Prisoners’ Legal Services
https://prisonjustice.org
Terminal City Legal Collective
http://terminalcitylegal.org
Criminal Justice Section of Canadian Bar Association
https://cba.org/Sections/Criminal-Justice

Notes for Abolition: Some Facts on Criminal Injustice Systems

Jeff Shantz

Criminal justice systems in settler colonial states like Canada are not institutions of justice as they claim. They are institutions of class rule, domination and control. And they operate on a basis of racialization and social stratification within a context of social class inequality. As an example, the prisoner population in Canada had increased by 7.1 percent over the five-year period up to 2013, with much of this increase coming from marginalized groups such as Aboriginal people and black people (Correctional Investigator Canada, 2013).

We can see this too if we look at incarceration rates for women which increased by 60 percent over the ten-year period between 2003 and 2013, with marginalized Indigenous and black females again being disproportionately represented in the Canadian prison population. The majority of black women are incarcerated for drug offences, including so-called trafficking, which many of them pursued, according to interviews with these prisoners, in an effort to rise above poverty (Correctional Investigator Canada, 2013). Indigenous women are Canada’s fastest growing prison population. The rate has risen by over 100 percent between 2001 and 2016.

Abolitionists emphasize that penal systems (police through prisons) do not dd what they claim they do. They are not institutions of public safety, they do not protect us. We oppose them as institutions of brutality, inequality, and injustice. At the same time we need to point out that the penal system serves a function other than what its propagandists suggest it does.

We can see the falsity of penal system claims by looking at a few essential facts.

Crimes

Propagandists for penal systems (police, politicians, some criminologists) argue that these systems are about keeping us safe from physical violence. But most crimes in Canada do not involve physical violence or harm. We can look at crime stats over several years:

Crimes Against the Person: 91,033, 23.49% (2013); 87,887,  23.19% (2014); 76,888 23.44% (2015)

But 14% is Common Assault and Uttering Threats. These may not involve any physical harm to the person.

ONLY 0.7% for Homicide and related. And of these many are crimes of passion or singular events that will not be done again by the person responsible. Locking them up is not about keeping us safe.

Most crime involves property offenses, victimless crimes, consumption offenses, etc. These might involve no physical harm and may, in fact, have no victims at all.

Crimes Against Property: 88,664, 22.87% (2013); 85,301, 22.50% (2014); 76,356, 23.28% (2015)

Many criminalized activities involve administration of justice offenses. These are matters of systems maintenance, not ham to individuals or society.

Administration of Justice: 85,554, 22.07% (2013); 84,213, 22.22% (2014); 74,811, 22.81 (2015)

Another 13% of criminalized activity in Canada is made up of drug offenses. And a further 13% involves traffic offenses.

Administration of Justice Offenses

Administration of justice cases involve matters related to case proceedings (such as failure to appear in court, failure to comply with a court order, breach of probation, and unlawfully at large. They) account for more than one fifth of cases completed in adult criminal courts.

In addition to administration of justice cases, theft and impaired driving are the most frequent case in adult courts in Canada.

Remand

Most people incarcerated in Canada have not been convicted or sentenced for any offense. In Canada, remand exceeds the sentenced population. In 2015-16, adults in remand made up 60 percent of the population in custody. That year there were 14899 people in remand in Canada compared with 10091 in sentenced custody. The average number of adults in remand in 2015-16 was 35 percent higher than in 2005-06 (Reitano, 2016).

The total number of adults in remand in Canada (those awaiting trial or sentencing) has exceeded the provincial/territorial adult sentenced custody population since 2004/2005.

On a so-called typical day in 2016/2017, adults in remand outnumbered those in sentenced custody by a ratio of 1.5 to 1 in the provinces and territories. The ratio of adults in remand to those in sentenced custody has been increasing since 2013/2014, when it was 1.2 to 1.

In 2016/2017, 8 of 13 jurisdictions had a higher proportion of remanded offenders than those in sentenced custody: Alberta (72%), Ontario (70%), Manitoba (68%), British Columbia (65%), Nova Scotia (60%), Northwest Territories (57%), Yukon (56%) and Nunavut (53%).

The Financial Costs

So, the Canadian state has built a vast infrastructure of containment and control to punish people for acts that involve no physical harm to persons, have no victims, involve personal consumption choices, or restrain people who have not been convicted of anything. Hardly structures of public safety or security.

Yet to contain and control people on this basis, incredible social wealth, resources, and services are diverted.

In 2014-15, expenditures on federal corrections in Canada totaled approximately $2.63 billion. Since 2005-06, expenditures on federal corrections have increased 55.0%, from $1.63 billion to $2.63 billion. This represents an increase of 51.5% in constant dollars.

Provincial/territorial expenditures totaled an additional cost of about $2.21 billion in 2014-15. This represents an increase of 52.7% since 2005-06. In constant dollars, this is an increase of 49.3%.

Penal Institutions as Social Theft

These are extreme expenditures of social resources that represent a diversion of social funding and services away from social provisions for health care, education, housing, social assistance, mental health care, and other positive social services. Social resources used to punish people in the way that the Canadian state deploys represent a social theft away from necessary social services that can actually make society and our communities healthier, safer, and more secure. Without inflicting the brutality, cruelty, and coercion that penal institutions are all about.

Prison Justice Network newsletter 2019 Winter

events
Mar 27 (1-4pm) Prison Justice symposium KPU Surrey, page 1
until Mar 24 (Tues-Sun) Triangle Trade Surrey Art Gallery, p. 1
April 1, May 6, Jun 3 (7-8pm) Stark Raven co-op radio 100.5fm, p. 1
April 6, May 4, Jun 1 (3-5pm) Prisoner Letter Writing Spartacus Books, p. 1

calls
Sign Justice for Soleiman petition, p. 2
Write to immigrant detainee, p. 3
Sign Detained Migrant Solidarity petition, p. 3
Help launch investigation of prison abuses, pp. 3-4

news
2018 New Year’s Eve Noise Demo, p. 4
Prison volunteers’ security checks, p. 4
2018 Prison Strike, p. 4

publications
Cell Count health and harm reduction, p. 5
Penal Press, including Out of Bounds, p. 5
Chronicle of prisoner unrest, p. 5
Voices: Indigenous Women on the Front, p. 5
Mandu Ra comics, p. 6
The Opening Statement, p. 6

inspirations
Joint Effort with women prisoners, p. 6
PASAN health and harm reduction, p. 6
Stop the Laval migrant prison, p. 7
Afronautic Research Lab, p. 7
Black Prisoners’ Caucus, T.E.A.C.H., pp. 7-8
Incarcerated Workers Organizing, p. 7
Human Rights Coalition, p. 8
Planting Justice, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, 8
Prison Lives Matter, p. 8
Survived & Punished, pp. 8-9
“In The Spirit Of Nelson Mandela”, p. 9
People’s Prison Defense Committee, p. 9
Lucasville Amnesty, p. 9
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, p. 10
Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, p. 10
Lifers With Optimistic Progress, p. 10

Prisons Replace Health Care: Foucault at the General Hospital Today

Prisons Replace Health Care: Foucault at the General Hospital Today

Jeff Shantz

Throughout capitalist modernity prisons have always been spaces of class rule and social control. Social theorist Michel Foucault noted in his influential book Madness and Civilization the role of the General Hospital in Paris of containing and medicalizing poor people who would not or could not work for capital. It was largely made up by the criminalization of poor people (vagrants)—the unemployed, vagabonds, petty thieves, beggars, “the insane.”

This served the interests of the emerging class of merchants, landlords, and business people—capital—by removing so-called nuisances and also by providing a vast source of cheap labor. Over time a new category, “the insane” was developed to distinguish those who could not work from those who would not. Segregation emerged to keep “the insane” away from the reserve army of labor who they supposedly disrupted. These were economic reasons, not matters of public safety.

Prisons are still about punishing working class people (for not working for capital or for more openly resisting exploitation) and imposing the rules of the formal market economy. As neoliberalism has cut social services that working class people actually need, like health care, child care, social housing, education, social assistance, etc. the prison-industrial complex (policing through to prisons) have expanded and received more public money.

To keep budgets up, police have expanded into areas they have no place in, like “harm reduction,” and prisons have become substitutes for health care facilities. This is reflected in the disproportionate numbers of prisoners with mental health and drug use issues.

Still Disciplining and Punishing Mental Health and Drug Use Issues

Some basic statistics are telling (even if an undercount). Mental illness rates are about 4 to 7 times more common in prison than in the broader community. According to a report by the John Howard Society, 11 percent of federal offenders in Canada had a mental health diagnosis; 21.3 percent had prescribed psychiatric medication; 14.5 percent of male offenders had a past psychiatric hospitalization (all 2009 numbers).

Additionally, between 24-38 percent of a sample of 1,370 male offenders admitted over a 16 month period required further assessment.

We can see a similar situation when we look at the imprisonment of people with substance use issues. According to Correctional Services Canada, almost 70 per cent of prisoners admitted are assessed as having a substance abuse problem. A 2007 survey of prisoners reported that 17 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women admitted to using intravenous drugs while in federal prisons.

Class and Criminalization

Drug use and mental health issues can be related to unemployment and poverty. Law and order and “tough on crime” policies reinforce the class punishment of poor people. The more that policing occurs in poor communities the more people with mental health and drug use issues will be incarcerated.

Policing is concentrated in poorer neighborhoods and arrest rates are higher in poorer communities. That is because policing is about surveillance, control, and regulation of the working classes. It is also because it costs the system less to target poor people (who often lack secure residences, who have fewer resources to mount a defense, and who are more likely to be convicted—to secure a system outcome).

In Canada in the twenty-first century, prisons maintain the function outlined by Foucault in his analysis of the General Hospital of Paris. Containing and controlling working class people on a basis of medicalization and psychology—related to their labor within the formal market economy.

Further Reading

Foucault, Michel. 1965. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Random House