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Prison Justice Day Vancouver Calls for Healing Over Punishment

by Isaac Oommen

Prison Justice Day Vancouver Calls for Healing Over Punishment
Painted Pony Drum Group
Painted Pony Drum Group
Eddie Rose
Eddie Rose
Sozan Savehilaghi
Sozan Savehilaghi

The 34th annual Prison Justice Day, held at Trout Lake Park on August 10th, was a sobering realization of the harsh conditions in Canadian prisons, relieved only by the sheer amount of solidarity work being done in conjunction with those in the correctional system. "Thanks to the Harper government, the growth of the prison industrial complex is alive and well," said the first guest speaker of the day, prison activist Eddie Rose. "It's (up to) everyone to be aware," he warned in terms of increased limitations on prisoner rights, such as the inadmissibility of elderly persons in prison to get their pension. Prison Justice Day began in response to the deaths of Edward Walon and Robert Landers in prison; both deaths occurred due to negligence at the respective prisons. A number of speakers outlined attacks within the prison system on parental rights, the prison farm system, AIDS prevention, and trans rights. They also highlighted a number of rehabilitation ventures that were effective but constantly under attack, such as prison needle exchange programs and the Mother-Baby Program. "(The G20 arrests) were in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights," Sozan Savehilaghi of No One Is Illegal, reminding the fifty people in attendance that people outside the prison system could be victim to it any time. "The ugliness of the police state has become evident. We demand that the charges be dropped...We must abolish prisons."

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Comments

American prison justice campaigning

At the U.S. Social Forum I heard and noticed that there's a lot more prison justice campaigning in the U.S. -- where more people are locked up, of course.

It sounded like this network is doing some good organizing - http://www.criticalresistance.org/

Activists like them have publications, experiences, etc.

There's so much potential for collaboration across that national border.

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