ELIZABETH FRY SOCIETY OF SIMCOE COUNTY
Prisoners’ Justice Day was first recognized in 1975 after Edward Nalon tragically took his own life while being held in segregation in a Canadian Institution. In the 44 years since, Prisoners’ Justice Day has transformed into a day of peaceful protest and solidarity among prisoners and non-prisoners around the globe.
Elizabeth Fry Society of Simcoe County and John Howard Society of Simcoe & Muskoka invite you to join us on Prisoners’ Justice Day – Aug. 10, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 102 Maple Avenue, Barrie.
Both organizations provide critical services to people who have been criminalized and promote alternative justice practices as a humane and effective alternative to the financial burden of cost of prisons.
Such services help criminalized people build new lives, benefit the community-at-large, are less costly than incarceration, and are in keeping with our national reputation as a humane and just society.
“This day allows us an important opportunity to unite for remembrance, education and advocacy surrounding the conditions that Canadians are faced with in our institutions. A significant discussion needs to be sparked regarding the reform of current prison practices that result in lack of rehabilitation, high recidivism and death. We must recognize that the repercussions of a faulty correctional system have longstanding effects on society as a whole, not just on those who are kept inside prison walls,” says Jenaya Forbes, John Howard Society of Simcoe & Muskoka.
In the first half of 2018, the number of deaths in Canadian prisons had already surpassed the total number in 2017. In most cases, those whose lives were so tragically cut short had not been convicted of a crime, because they were in prison awaiting trial.
Enshrined in international law, legislated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and expressed by Howard Sapers, the Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform in Ontario in 2017, “individuals in conflict with the law retain all rights other than those necessarily limited by lawfully imposed restrictions or sanctions”.
Prisoners’ Justice Day is a call to action to shed a light on the shocking conditions inside Canadian prisons, overuse of unnecessary strip searches, lack of access to basic health care, and the blatant abuse of solitary confinement, a practice that has been defined as torture by the United Nations.
“Women are regularly placed in segregation on ‘mental health watch’, a practice that exacerbates their symptoms. The majority of women in prison are trauma survivors. They are being regularly and unlawfully strip-searched which has proven to re- traumatizes them. Women live in fear of guards, who control almost every aspect of their being while incarcerated. On Aug. 10, we stand in solidarity with women, and all prisoners in Canada who endure the inhumane conditions in both federal and provincial prisons,” says Joy Thompson, Elizabeth Fry Society of Simcoe County.
We urge those who care about social justice to attend Prisoners’ Justice Day on Aug. 10, 2018 and join us in calling for the protection of fundamental human rights, and cost-effective diversion of resources from prisons to community-based solutions that build new and fruitful lives. There will be live music and a poetry reading from a person with lived experience.