September 12th: Prison Town

Check out this event organized by OPIRG Kingston!!!

Prison Town: An Introduction to the Prison-Industrial Complex in Kingston
Friday, September 12th at 3pm
Room 102, Theological Hall, Queen’s University
With five federal institutions in the area and more than 2000 prisoners, Kingston is the prison capital of Canada. Join us for an introduction to the prison industrial complex and its history and function within Kingston and Canada, and the politics of prison abolition.

This event is part of OPIRG’s 2014 Alternative Frosh events
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/835342256489482

altfrosh

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PJD 2014 Audio

Thanks to everyone who contributed to and participated in marking this year’s Prisoners Justice Day in Kingston. To listen to the full CFRC 101.9fm broadcast, you can access the archives here. Here is a rundown of what is available:

August 10, 2014
1100-1200h: History of PJD, Biography of Chester Crosley, Stephen Reid Interview
1200-1300h: Memorial Segment, Kate Johnson Interview
1300-1400h: Chris Brown Interview, End Immigration Detention Network
1400-1500h: EIDN cont’d, Kingston Rally Footage and Interviews
1500h-1800h: Messages and Music Requests

Also you can access the following contributions from Frontenac and Collins Bay institutions, recorded over the phone:

History of Prisoners Justice Day by John Schaefler, Frontenac Institution
Frontenac Inmate Committee Statement
“Prisoners Justice Day” by Jarrod Shook, Collins Bay Institution
EPIC Interview with Jarrod Shook

CFRC PJD 2014

 

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August 31st: Prisoner Letter-Writing

EPIC Presents a Prisoner Letter Writing Afternoon
Sunday August 31st, 1 pm – 4 pm
AKA Autonomous Social Centre, the red and black house at the corner of Queen and Wellington (wheelchair accessible).

Have you ever written a letter to a prisoner?

Prison is all about isolation and segregation, and the state does not want non-prisoners to connect with people inside its institutions. Letter-writing can be a great way to make a new friend, learn about the prison system and build connections between incarcerated folks and those outside.

Stamps, paper, envelopes, coffee and snacks will be provided. We can also help you brainstorm ways to get a penpal if you don’t have one already. Childcare is available on-site on request, contact epic [at] riseup [dot] net. AKA is a wheelchair- accessible space.

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July 27th: Prisoner Letter-Writing

EPIC Presents a Prisoner Letter Writing Afternoon
Sunday July 27th, 1 pm – 4 pm
AKA Autonomous Social Centre, the red and black house at the corner of Queen and Wellington (wheelchair accessible).

Have you ever written a letter to a prisoner?

Prison is all about isolation and segregation, and the state does not want non-prisoners to connect with people inside its institutions. Letter-writing can be a great way to make a new friend, learn about the prison system and build connections between incarcerated folks and those outside.

Stamps, paper, envelopes, coffee and snacks will be provided. We can also help you brainstorm ways to get a penpal if you don’t have one already. Childcare is available on-site on request, contact e...@riseup.net. AKA is a wheelchair- accessible space.

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Prisoners Justice Day 2014

Prisoners Justice Day Rally and Vigil
August 10, 2014 at 11:00am
Market Square (north side on Brock St)

August 10th is a day set aside to remember all people who have died unnatural deaths inside Canadian prisons. Prisoners refuse to eat or work in a show of solidarity with each other and with those who have died behind prison bars.

This year we are co-organizing a rally and vigil in Market Square at 11:00AM. Join us to remember those who have died in prison and to demand justice for all those still in captivity.

pjd

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Analysis of PJD Documents

New documents released by the Information Transparency Project give readers a glimpse into the preparations made by the Correctional Service Canada for an attempted construction shutdown at Collins Bay Institution for Prisoners Justice Day on August 10, 2012. The heavily-redacted 225 pages of briefings, reports, and email communications give a (very partial) play-by-play of the co-ordinated effort to brace for ‘anarchist protests’ at prisons across Ontario and Quebec.

We have done an initial reading and here are some highlights:

  • Led by the Assistant Director of Operations at Ontario Regional Headquarters, a team of CSC managers checked the EPIC website daily and engaged in regular meetings with communications specialists, high level security analysts, and various police agencies in the lead-up to August 10th.
  • Separate contingency plans were reviewed and put in place for Collins Bay, Frontenac, Millhaven, Bath and Grand Valley Institutions, where possible protests were anticipated.
  • Contractors were advised of the shutdown threat and forced to decide on their own whether or not to work, because CSC didn’t want to be billed.
  • Staff at Collins Bay Institution were told to park elsewhere.
  • Official briefings were prepared for both the Regional Deputy Commissioner and Minister of Public Safety.
  • For the day of, CSC rented concrete barriers for crowd control, prepared letters requesting arrests of individuals trespassing on institutional property, provided a command centre for a massive police mobilization at Giant Tiger including the O.P.P.’s Provincial Liaison Team (the legacy organization of the Aboriginal Relations Team), and pre-emptively arrested one individual on parole for suspected ties to EPIC.

The Access to Information request also captured a few documents of interest regarding PJD preparations inside prisons. For example:

  • Of approximately 500 prisoners at Collins Bay, only 3 prisoners worked on August 10th, and they were all canteen workers; our understanding is that the canteen is usually allowed to open during prisoner strikes because of the vital services it provides to the population.
  • We can also observe a lengthy back-and-forth between headquarters and prisons about the changing policy towards PJD clothing, which has a long tradition in Ontario. The designs developed by the Collins Bay Inmate Committee prompted a discussion about whether they would be accepted and Scott Edwards, Director Operations at Regional Headquarters, explains that “t-shirts, caps, etc… for Prisoners Justice Day are NOT being supported this year … In essence we are out of the PJD business.” Inmates at Joyceville Institution were recently denied a class-action lawsuit on this matter.
  • Documents show officials at various institutions intercepting communications between inmate committees trying to build support for legal action and contemplating whether to allow the mail through or not.
  • A letter from CSC Commissioner Don Head to Inmate Committee lawyer Todd Sloan denies that formally-planned PJD activites were being obstructed, while notes from a meeting between an inmate committee and representatives of the warden clearly state that “nothing formal or sanctioned by management could be offered during the day … possibly something could be arranged in the evening.”

 

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Full Article: Letter to Warden at Collins Bay Institution

An excerpt of this letter was originally published in our newsletter Over the Wall, Issue 1 (Spring 2014).

ATTN: Warden Jackson
RE: Proposed 30% pay reduction and $120 savings acount minimum increase

I am writing this letter anonymously, instead of making a formal inmate protest as directed by Todd Sloan, in the hopes that not making a nuisance of myself or a veiled threat to proceed to an onerous en masse grievance process will lend some weight to my feelings on the matter of the recently imposed 30% pay reduction implemented on inmate wages as part of the Correctional Service Canada’s “Accountability Measures.” I was one of the lucky men afforded the Warden’s time on this matter during our nearly four week long strike. While I agreed with him on most of what he had to say, there are a few considerations that I want the administration to be aware of that I was reticent to discuss in front of my peers at that time. My thoughts are purely impersonal, as you shall see, and concern the broader picture of Canadian society’s ultimate aims in the operation of a Judicial and Correctional system. These aims go far beyond simple financial considerations, and while it would be nice to be able to represent the world in dollars and cents, certain humanitarian concerns can never have a price attached to them.

Continue reading

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Full Article: Resistance to Prison Pay Cuts

An excerpt of this article was originally published in our newsletter Over the Wall, Issue 1 (Spring 2014).

Resistance to Prison Pay Cuts: An Account of Accountability
By Jarrod Shook of Collins Bay Institution

On May 9th, 2012 the former Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews made a speech to announce that (according to his speaking notes) “criminals have all the rights” and that the Conservative Party of Canada would be responding to this by increasing offender accountability through a 30% food and prison cell accommodation tax on the already meagre inmate pay of $6.90 per day; and by eliminating altogether the $2.20 per hour incentive payments which were provided to prison labourers who worked for the Crown Special Operating Agency CORCAN in facilities that operate in 31 of the Correctional Service Canada’s (CSC) 57 Institutions where prisoners contribute productive labour in four business lines including textiles, manufacturing, construction and services such as printing and laundry.

Continue reading

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May Day 2014 Callout

For info contact: maydaykingston [at] riseup [dot] net

May Day March and Free BBQ!

May 1st, 2014
12pm: BBQ, Skeleton Park
1pm: March Downtown

On May 1st, 1886, 40,000 workers in Chicago–and half a million across the United States–participated in a three-day general strike demanding an eight-hour work day. A week-long struggle resulted between protesters and police, and ultimately eight protesters were arrested, convicted without evidence, and executed. Their executions are widely regarded as some of the most overt political assassinations of radicals in North America, and May 1st has since been marked as International Workers Day in their honour. Since 2006, May Day has also been widely marked as a day to protest racist immigration policies in Canada and the United States and demand status for all. Strikes, pickets and protests take place around the world on May 1st to honour and celebrate the struggles of workers, immigrants, and poor people all over.

In Kingston, we are gathering for May Day for the fifth consecutive year. If you can get away with it, skip school or ditch work…or better yet, walk out or go on strike! Join us at noon for a free BBQ in Skeleton Park followed by a spirited march downtown. Come hungry and bring your neighbours, co-workers, classmates and friends!

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April 11th: EPIC Newsletter and Wire Tones EP Launch

WIRE TONES EP launch
David Parker, contrabasse
Stefan Christoff, piano
with:
B0ots

&

Over the Wall newsletter launch
Other guest performances TBA

Friday, April 11th
205 Sydenham Street, The Artel
8:30pm
$5 or pay what you can

Over The Wall is a print newsletter based in Kingston, ON about strikes, actions, and struggles going on inside or around Ontario prisons. Our first issue will launch on April 11th and will include articles by prisoners and non-prisoners. The goal of the project is to share information about what’s going on inside prison walls with supporters and potential supporters on the outside.

WIRE TONES EP is a release inspired by the struggle against the current expansion of the prison industrial complex under the Conservative government in Canada. An instrumental record, the recording features contrabasse and piano in duet, harmonizing and dissonant tones that speak to active reflection and heartfelt solidarity. Recorded in 2013 at The Artel in Kingston, ON and released by Howl! Arts Collective. B0ots (Molly Kubes, Andrew Burrows) is a psychedelic duo project that aims to blur the lines between art, creation and life-living. They live from the heart’s center and hope to provide the safe space for you to vibrate in similar ways alongside.

Posted in Collins Bay, Events, Local Prisoners, Newsletter | Leave a comment