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.


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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 AKA is a wheelchair- accessible space.

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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

David Parker, contrabasse
Stefan Christoff, piano


Over the Wall newsletter launch
Other guest performances TBA

Friday, April 11th
205 Sydenham Street, The Artel
$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

Support the Tyendinaga Arrestees!

Originally posted at Solidarity Across Borders

Urgent need for money to cover legal fees for Tyendinaga Warriors.

On March 8, following a week of action demanding a national inquiry into the at least 825 missing and murdered indigenous women across Canada, warriors from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory blocked the CN mainline. This action, which fell on International Women’s Day, came the day after the release of a Parliamentary report which attempted to dismiss and deny the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women and prevent any meaningful response or action. This is a continuation of colonization and its inherent violence against Indigenous communities, particularly Indigenous women. For more information on missing and murdered women in Canada, please visit:

During the rail blockade, Shawn Brant, Matt Doreen, and Marc Baille were arrested and are facing charges ranging from mischief for blocking the tracks and blocking a road to assault police, and possession of weapons. Steve Chartrand was arrested on the Thursday following the blockade on charges of mischief. Other charges have been announced in court, but have yet to be formally laid.

Marc Baille remains in custody, after refusing to sign restrictive bail conditions that he deemed to be unreasonable and unlivable. These court-ordered conditions would effectively ban him from the Tyendinaga community and prevent him from associating with members of his family, and further keep him from working at the motorcycle shop where he has worked for four years, causing a significant financial strain on his family and on the motorcycle shop.

The two others arrested on Saturday were released on bail Sunday morning. Shawn Brant reported becoming violently ill after a meal provided to him while in detention in the OPP detachment at Napanee, where he received no medical assistance despite alerting an officer to his condition. For more information, click here.

Currently, there is an urgent need to raise money in order to retain lawyers, to run bail reviews and superior court appeals on the non-association conditions, to order court transcripts, to cover transportation costs to and from court and jail, and to cover canteen fees and collect calls for those in detention, and to support families as necessary..

Please consider donating what you can…

Please make your cheque out to “Solidarité sans frontières” and write “Tyendinaga Support” in the memo line. Mail or drop off cheque at:
Solidarité sans frontières / Tyendinaga Support
1500 de Maisonneuve West, #204 Montréal, QC H3G 1N1

By Paypal:
(*please write a note to specify that it is for Tyendinaga)

Meanwhile, the Canadian government remains complicit in the murder and disappearances of hundreds of indigenous women. Actions to demand justice for these women, their families, and their communities are as important now as ever!


Posted in Local Prisoners, Quinte Detention Centre, Repression | Leave a comment

EPIC Newsletter: Call For Submissions

Hello friends and supporters! EPIC is starting a newsletter about ongoing struggles inside and outside Ontario prisons. We are looking for submissions for our first issue! If you have news or info about actions/struggles on the outside, we’d love it if you sent us brief updates. We are also looking for submissions from people on the inside, so if you have contacts in Ontario prisons please forward this call for submissions:

We’re starting a newsletter with news and updates about ongoing struggles inside and outside Ontario prisons! This newsletter is free and available to anyone who would like to subscribe, and will be mailed out twice yearly.

We are currently looking for brief submissions for our first issue. Please send us your news updates, stories, ideas, or analysis of ongoing struggles in Ontario prisons, and spread the word to other people who might be interested.

Submissions received by March 1st will be included in the first issue (but it’s an ongoing project, so send us news and information whenever you like).

Send your submissions to:

427 Princess St, Suite 409
Kingston, ON K7L 5S9

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January 13th: Justice for Deepan Speaking Tour

Reclaiming Citizenship, Rejecting Double Punishment: Deepan Budlakoti Speaking Tour

Kingston stop: Monday January 13, 2014

Deepan Budlakoti is an Ottawa-born construction worker and activist who, in 2010, was stripped of his citizenship by the Canadian government. He is now a stateless person pitted in an incredible battle against the Conservative government over his entitlement to citizenship. The government is attempting to deport him to his parents’ homeland, India, a country where he has never lived and does not have citizenship. See more info about his story here:

Deepan is currently traveling across Canada to tell his story and seek support. He will be speaking about his experiences as a young man in criminal prison, in immigration detention, and his current conditions as a stateless person. His struggle connects to issues of criminalization, racial profiling, prisons, immigration detention and, more broadly, questions of identity, belonging and borders. Who is entitled to Canadian citizenship? Who is excluded and how are exclusions justified? Who is subject to deportation and double punishment? Come out to hear Deepan and join in the discussion.

*2 SPEAKING EVENTS in Kingston on Monday, January 13:*
Deepan Budlakoti with Professor Sharry Aiken, Queen’s Faculty of Law

Queen’s University, John Orr Room, JDUC, (University St and Union St) 12pm-1:30pm Deepan Budlakoti

75 Queen Street, ramp entrance *6pm-7:30pm* Childcare for evening event will be available upon request. To register please email noiik (at) riseup (dot) net by Saturday January 11.

FULL TOUR Details Here:

Event organized and supported by: No One Is Illegal Kingston and OPIRG Kingston
Tour organized by: Justice for Deepan Committee

Posted in Events, Immigration | Leave a comment