Les demandes de bourses commémoratives de l’ACSEF sont ouvertes

A quoi sert la bourse?

La bourse commémorative est une bourse annuelle octroyée par l’ACSEF qui vise à aider les femmes incarcérées à atteindre leurs objectifs en matière d’éducation et d’emploi. Pour l’éducation, la bourse peut être utilisé pour: les frais de scolarité / cours, les livres et le matériel requis. Pour une bourse à l’emploi, elle doit être utilisée pour: les frais de démarrage d’une petite entreprise, les cours de certification, l’équipement / le matériel requis.

Qui peut appliquer?

Demand de la bourse commemorativeLa bourse est ouverte aux femmes qui sont actuellement incarcérées (au niveau provincial ou fédéral), ou qui ont été incarcérées dans le passé. A combien s`élève une bourse et combien sont disponibles? L’ACSEF octroi jusqu’à trois bourses de 500.00 $ chacune aux trois régions du Canada (Atlantique, Québec, Ontario, Prairies, Pacifique). Le nombre de bourses dépend de la disponibilité des fonds.

Comment postuler?

  1. Compléter ce formulaire. Vous pouvez compléter ce formulaire en enregistrant une vidéo, ou un enregistrement d’un memo.
  2. Soumettre ce formulaire à ACSEF à 190 Bronson Ave., Ottawa, Ontario KR 6H4 ou comme annexe courriel à jomstead@caefs.ca (avec objet: Candidature à la bourse).

Comment les bourses seront elles examinées et octroyées ?

  1. Votre Société Elizabeth Fry locale examinera toutes les demandes qui leur seront soumis en se basant sur le besoin financier ainsi que sur la teneur du plan pour l’éducation/emploi.
  2. Chaque société locale sélectionnera jusqu’à trois candidates qui seront nominées.
  3. Une personne désignée d’une Société EFry de cette région (soit un membre du staff ou un avocat régional) écrira une lettre à ACSEF pour chacune des candidates nominées et soumettre en même temps les candidatures a ACSEF.
  4. Les candidates retenues seront avisées et recevront un cheque pour le montant de la bourse.

Quand dois-je postuler ?

Les candidatures doivent parvenir à ACSEF au plus tard le 13 juillet.

Quand vais-je recevoir la notification/recevoir ma bourse?

  • ACSEF avisera les candidates retenues au plus tard pendant la deuxième semaine d’août
  • ACSEF octroiera les fonds à la fin d’août.

N.B: Personne n a la garantie d’une bourse et le nombre de bourses octroyées dépend des fonds disponibles.

Prêt pour l’application? Cliquez Ici: Demand de la bourse commemorative

CAEFS Memorial Bursary Applications are Open

CAEFS Memorial Bursary Application 2020

What Is the Bursary For?

The Memorial Bursary is an annual bursary distributed by CAEFS that seeks to criminalized women in reaching their educational and employment goals. For education the bursary can go towards: tuition / course fees, required books, and required materials. For employment to bursary can go towards: start-up costs for a small businces, certification courses, required clothing, or required equipment/ materials.

Who Can Apply?

The bursary is open to women who are currently incarcerated (provincially or federally), or who have been incarcerated in the past.

How Much Is the Bursary for and How Many Are Available?

CAEFS awards up to three bursaries of $500.00 each to each of the five regions in Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies, Pacific). The number of bursaries is subject to the availability of funds.

How Do I Apply?

  1. Complete the form linked at the bottom of the page. If you would prefer to complete the form through video recording, or voice memo you may.
  2. Submit this form to CAEFS by mail at 190 Bronson Ave., Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6H4 or as an email attachment to jomstead@caefs.ca (subject line: Bursary Application)

How Will the Bursaries by Reviewed and Awarded?

  1. Your local Elizabeth Fry Society will review all applications submitted to them based on financial need and the strength of the employment / education plan.
  2. Each region will review applications based on financial need and the stregth of the employment/ education plan.
  3. Each region will then select up to three applicants to be nominated.
  4. A designate from a local EFry Society in that region (either a staff member or regional advocate) will write a letter to CAEFS for each of the 3 nominated candidates and submit along with the applications to CAEFS
  5. Successful applicants will be notified and sent a cheque for the bursary amount

When Do I Apply?

Applications are due to CAEFS no later than July 13th

When Will I Be Notified / Receive My Bursary?

  • CAEFS will notify successful applicants no later than the second week of August
  • CAEFS will distribute funds by the end of August

Please note: No one is guaranteed a bursary and the number of bursaries distributed is dependent on available funds

Ready to Apply? Click here: CAEFS Memorial Bursary Application 2020

CAEFS’ Statement on Policing the Pandemic

[version française ci-dessous]

May 22nd 2020

Statement on Policing the Pandemic  

We have received disturbing reports from CAEFS’ local member societies of an increase in punitive law enforcement for supposed failures to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. This expansion of police power to serve COVID-19 related fines and /or to detain people is harming and further criminalizing already marginalized – often poor— communities, many of whom are the least able to practice the physical distancing measures that are being suggested.  

Responding from a place of punishment, rather than addressing need fails to consider the unfairness of the instructions to ‘stay at home’… and if home means no access to outdoor space? If home is a shelter that you are told to leave during the day? 

Fining hundreds of dollars to those who cannot afford to pay, in a time when money is already more scarce than usual – or confining people in close quarters as a punishment for not being far enough apart – will not lessen the impact of COVID-19, and will only serve to exacerbate the existing issues of inequity. Policing cannot be the way to respond to a public health crisis, and it never has been. 

In addition, we must recognize that racialized communities are already disproportionately surveilled by law enforcement. When a community is already under surveillance, any perceived infraction is more likely to be noted and acted upon resulting in an excessive and unequal number of fines issued and/or people detained.  

A response that fails to account for inequities is bound to leave us with an ‘equal’ rather than an equitable result. A response that is rooted in punishment, will do little to keep us safe. We need guidelines that are rooted in dignity, humanity, and mutual care. 

In order to keep each other safe from COVID-19, we need to invest in our communities and look out for one another, rather than relying on systems of punishment. 

For more on policing the pandemic, check out:

Updates from the CCLA and the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project.  

PDF:  Statement on Policing the Pandemic – Final

22 mai 2020

Déclaration sur la surveillance de la pandémie 

Nous avons reçu des rapports inquiétants des sociétés locales membres de l’ACSEF faisant état de renforcement de l’application de la loi punitive pour des manquements supposés aux lignes directives sur l’éloignement physique. Cette extension des pouvoirs de la police pour infliger des amendes liées à la COVID-19 et/ou pour détenir des personnes nuit et criminalise davantage des communautés déjà marginalisées – souvent pauvres -, dont beaucoup sont les moins aptes à pratiquer les mesures d’éloignement physique qui sont suggérées.

Répondre depuis un lieu de punition, plutôt que de répondre à un besoin, ne tient pas compte de l’injustice des instructions de “rester à la maison”… et si la maison signifie ne pas avoir accès à l’espace extérieur? Si la maison est un abri que l’on vous dit de quitter pendant la journée?

Donner des amendes de plusieurs centaines de dollars à ceux qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer, à une époque où l’argent est déjà plus rare que d’habitude – ou enfermer les gens dans des espaces restreints en guise de punition pour ne pas être assez éloignés – n’atténuera pas l’impact de COVID-19, et ne fera qu’exacerber les problèmes d’iniquité existants. La police ne peut pas être le moyen de répondre à une crise de santé publique, et elle ne l’a jamais été.

En outre, nous devons reconnaître que les communautés racialisées sont déjà surveillées de manière disproportionnée par les forces de l’ordre. Lorsqu’une communauté est déjà sous surveillance, toute infraction perçue est plus susceptible d’être remarquée et de donner lieu à des mesures, ce qui se traduit par un nombre excessif et inégal d’amendes infligées et/ou de personnes détenues.

Une réponse qui ne tient pas compte des inégalités ne peut que nous laisser avec un résultat “égal” plutôt qu’équitable. Une réponse fondée sur la sanction ne contribuera guère à notre sécurité. Nous avons besoin de lignes directrices qui qui se basent sur la dignité, l’humanité, et l’entraide.

Afin de se protéger mutuellement contre COVID-19, nous devons investir dans nos communautés et veiller les uns sur les autres, plutôt que de nous reposer sur des systèmes de punition.

Pour en savoir plus sur la surveillance de la pandémie, consultez:

Mises à jour de l’ACLC et le projet «Policing the Pandemic

PDF: Déclaration sur la surveillance de la pandémie – Final

Press Release – Former Correctional Officer at the Nova Institution for Women Arrested on Charges of Sexual Assault Against Prisoners

[version française ci-dessous]

For Immediate Release

May 7th 2020

Re: Former Correctional Officer at the Nova Institution for Women Arrested on Charges of Sexual Assault Against Prisoners

_____________________________________________________________________________

Today, The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) – along with the Atlantic Elizabeth Fry Societies – have learned that a former Correctional Officer at the Nova Institution for Women was arrested and charged with 6 counts of sexual assault, 6 counts of breach of trust, and 1 count of trying to procure sexual service – all related to his work at the Institution. This arrest comes over a year after multiple prisoners at the Nova Institution for Women came forward to tell their experiences of being sexually assaulted by this Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) Correctional Officer.

A year ago, these women filed a lawsuit, with the support of the Atlantic Elizabeth Fry Societies seeking justice for themselves, but also change for all incarcerated women.

Emma Halpern, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, states: “The women who launched these lawsuits suffered egregious harm at the hands of a predator who operated without reprisal, for many years, within one of our government institutions. These women reported the abuse to authorities at Nova and were ignored, transferred and made to apologize for the harms perpetrated against them. This is a clear example of the way prisons fail to keep women safe and highlights the need for women to be out of prison and receiving supportive programs in community.”

Prisons are not – and never will be – safe places, as by their very nature, prisons are violent and oppressive institutions. For years, CAEFS has been calling attention to how the power structures inherent to the prisons make those held inside incredibly vulnerable to abuse by CSC employees. This is particularly concerning for incarcerated women as most of them have experienced abuse prior to their prison sentence, including sexual abuse, and have extensive histories of trauma which is further perpetuated through their experience of incarceration. A clear example of this – and one that CAEFS has repeatedly advocated against – is CSC’s policy of routine strip searches, which is a form of state sanctioned sexual violence.

The sexual abuse experienced by the women who have come forward from the Nova Institution for Women is egregious. Now, during the COVID-19 crisis, with visits prohibited and significantly reduced access to external accountability mechanisms, there is less oversight than ever within CSC institutions, making prisoners even more vulnerable to all forms of abuse.

“Eliminating strip searching; ensuring that incarcerated people can readily access external counselling and treatment options for trauma and abuse; an increase in oversight and accountability mechanisms of and for CSC – all these should be implemented immediately; however, reforming a violent system can only take us so far in preventing the abuse of vulnerable women. Rather than incarcerating women, we need to invest in building safe and supportive communities” – Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of CAEFS

– ENDS –

For comments:

Emma Halpern, CAEFS Regional Advocate and Executive Director at the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia

Email: ed@efrymns.ca

Phone:902-221-5851

Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

Email: ecoyle@caefs.ca

Phone: 613-316-6785

Press Release – CO Arrested

~~

Pour diffusion immédiate

7 mai 2020

Re : Ancien agent correctionnel de l’Institution Nova pour femmes arrêtées pour agression sexuelle sur des prisonniers

_____________________________________________________________________________

Aujourd’hui, l’Association canadienne des sociétés Elizabeth Fry (ACSEF) – ainsi que les sociétés Elizabeth Fry de l’atlantique – ont appris qu’un ancien agent correctionnel de l’Institution Nova pour femmes a été arrêté et accusé de 6 chefs d’accusation d’agression sexuelle, 6 chefs d’accusation d’abus de confiance et 1 chef d’accusation de tentative de procurer des services sexuels – tous liés à son travail à l’Institution. Cette arrestation survient plus d’un an après que de nombreux prisonniers de l’Institution Nova pour les femmes se sont présentées pour raconter leur expérience d’agression sexuelle par cet agent correctionnel du service correctionnel du Canada (SCC).

Il y a un an, ces femmes ont intenté une poursuite contre CSC, avec le soutien des Sociétés Elizabeth Fry de l’Atlantique, pour obtenir justice pour elles-mêmes, mais aussi un changement pour toutes les femmes incarcérées.

Emma Halpern, directrice exécutive de la Société Elizabeth Fry de la Nouvelle-Écosse continentale, déclare “Les femmes qui ont intenté ces poursuites ont subi un préjudice énorme aux mains d’un prédateur qui a opéré sans représailles, pendant de nombreuses années, au sein de l’une de nos institutions gouvernementales. Ces femmes ont signalé les abus aux autorités de Nova et ont été ignorées, transférées et obligées de s’excuser pour les préjudices subis. C’est un exemple clair de la façon dont les prisons ne parviennent pas à assurer la sécurité des femmes et cela met en évidence la nécessité pour les femmes de sortir de prison et de bénéficier de programmes de soutien dans la communauté”.

Les prisons ne sont pas – et ne seront jamais – des lieux sûrs, car de par leur nature même, les prisons sont des institutions violentes et oppressives. Depuis des années, l’ACSEF attire l’attention sur la façon dont les structures de pouvoir inhérentes aux prisons rendent les personnes détenues à l’intérieur incroyablement vulnérables aux abus des employés du SCC.

Ceci est particulièrement préoccupant pour les femmes incarcérées car la plupart d’entre elles ont subi des abus avant leur peine de prison, y compris des abus sexuels, et ont un long passé de traumatisme qui se perpétue encore à travers leur expérience d’incarcération. Un exemple clair de cela – et un contre lequel l’ACSEF a plaidé à plusieurs reprises – est la politique du SCC de fouilles à nu de routine, qui est une forme de violence sexuelle sanctionnée par l’État.

Les abus sexuels subis par les femmes qui se sont présentées à l’Institution Nova pour femmes sont flagrants. Maintenant, pendant la crise COVID-19, avec des visites interdites et un accès considérablement réduit aux mécanismes de responsabilité externes, il y a moins de surveillance que jamais au sein des institutions du SCC. Cela rend les détenus encore plus vulnérables à toutes les formes d’abus.

“L’élimination de la fouille à nu, l’accès des personnes incarcérées à des conseils et à des traitements externes pour les traumatismes et les abus, l’augmentation des mécanismes de surveillance et de responsabilité du SCC et pour le SCC- tout cela devrait être mis en œuvre immédiatement ; cependant, la réforme d’un système violent ne peut que nous amener à prévenir les abus envers les femmes vulnérables. Plutôt que d’incarcérer les femmes, nous devons investir dans la construction de communautés sûres et solidaires” – Emilie Coyle, directrice générale de l’ACSEF

– FIN –

Pour les commentaires :

Emma Halpern, avocate régionale de l’ACSEF et directrice générale de la Société Elizabeth Fry de la Nouvelle-Écosse continentale

Courriel : ed@efrymns.ca

Téléphone : 902-221-5851

Emilie Coyle, directrice générale de l’Association canadienne des sociétés Elizabeth Fry

Courriel : ecoyle@caefs.ca

Téléphone : 613-316-6785

Communiqué de presse – AC arrêté

Press Release – EFry Week 2020: Build Communities, Not Prisons

[version française ci-dessous]

May 6th 2020

For Immediate Release

Re: Elizabeth Fry Week 2020 – Build Communities, Not Prison _____________________________________________________________________________

Each year, The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) celebrates National Elizabeth Fry Week during the week leading up Mother’s Day (this year, May 4th to 10th). The goal is to enhance public awareness and education around criminalized and vulnerable women in Canada.

We continue to mark this week as Elizabeth Fry Week because the majority of women in prison are mothers. For most of these women, they were the sole supporters of their families at the time they were incarcerated. When mothers are sentenced to prison, their children are sentenced to separation. We draw attention to this reality by ending Elizabeth Fry Week on Mother’s Day each year.

This year’s theme is ‘Build Communities, Not Prisons’, and we plan to use this week to put a spotlight on the amazing community building work that all of the locals do –before, during, and after COVID-19 – because we know that the only real alternative to prisons are thriving communities.

During the 2019 fiscal year, our local societies – and their combined staff of nearly 700 – collectively

  • served approximately 90,000 clients and their volunteers
  • donated over 50,000 hours of their time.

This is also a time to imagine what a thriving community may look like when we emerge from the current pandemic. This crisis has exposed serious flaws and gaps our existing systems. It has become glaringly obvious that we need to create a new way of operating- one that reflects the vital lessons we have been learning about how we are all able to contribute to collective safety and care.

While we would usually be hosting events during Elizabeth Fry Week, we are instead responding to our current context by using social media to engage the public to imagine with us, by finishing the sentences below:

A thriving community needs… 

When I dream of a world without prisons, I imagine… 

Responses will be collected and shared using the hashtags #EFryWeek2020, #BuildCommunitiesNotPrisons, and #ImagineAWorldWithoutPrisons.

“I am hopeful that, through this crisis, we can begin to move toward a practical organizing of our communities where no one is left behind. We need communities that create opportunities for transformative justice. Communities that recognize the harm caused by our colonial past and embark on true and active reconciliation with Indigenous nations.  Communities that place a priority on dismantling oppression in all of its forms and build a more just future for everyone”. Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of CAEFS

In a time when there is so much uncertainty, we look forward to making this week one that is centered on hope and imagination, working together to envision the communities we need.

– ENDS –

For further information or to contact CAEFS for comment please contact Executive Director (Emilie Coyle) at ecoyle@caefs.ca or at (613) 316-6785.

E-Fry Week News Release 2020 – FINAL

6 mai 2020

Pour diffusion immediate

Re: La semaine d’ Elizabeth Fry 2020 : Bâtir des Communautés, Non des Prisons

_____________________________________________________________________________

Chaque année,  l’Association Canadienne des Sociétés Elizabeth Fry (ACSEF) célèbre la semaine nationale Elizabeth Fry pendant la semaine précédant la fête des mères (cette année, du 4 au 10 mai). L’objectif est d’améliorer la sensibilisation et l’éducation du public au sujet des femmes criminalisées et vulnérables au Canada.

Nous continuons de marquer cette semaine comme la Semaine Elizabeth Fry parce que la majorité des femmes en prison sont des mères. Pour la plupart de ces femmes, elles étaient les seuls soutiens de leur famille au moment de leur incarcération. Lorsque des mères sont condamnées à la prison, leurs enfants sont condamnés à la séparation. Nous attirons l’attention sur cette réalité en clôturant la fin chaque année  la Semaine Elizabeth Fry  le jour de la fête des mères.

Le thème de cette  année est « Construire des Communautés et Non des Prisons », et nous comptons utiliser cette semaine pour mettre en exergue le travail extraordinaire de bâtir la communauté fait par les locaux- avant, pendant et après le COVID-19 , car nous savons que la seule alternative véritable  aux prisons sont les communautés prospères.

Au cours de l’année fiscale 2019, nos sociétés locales – et leur personnel combiné de près de 700 personnes – ont collectivement servi environ 90 000 clients et leurs bénévoles ont donné plus de 50 000 heures de leur temps.

C’est aussi un moment d’imaginer à quoi pourrait ressembler une communauté prospère lorsque nous allons sortir de la pandémie actuelle. Cette crise a révélé de grands défauts et lacunes dans nos systèmes existants. Il est clairement devenu évident que nous devons créer une nouvelle façon de fonctionner, une façon qui reflète les leçons essentielles que nous avons apprises sur la façon dont nous pouvons tous contribuer à la sécurité collective et aux soins.

Bien que nous organisions habituellement des événements pendant la semaine Elizabeth Fry, nous allons plutôt répondre  à notre contexte actuel en utilisant les médias sociaux pour inciter le public à réfléchir avec nous, en terminant les phrases ci-dessous:

Une communauté prospère a besoin de…

Quand je rêve d’un monde sans prison, J’imagine…

Les réponses vont être collectées et partagées a l’aide des hashtags

#La Semaine l’ACSEF 2020,#Batir des Communautés et Non des Prisons, et #ImaginezUnMondeSansPrisons.

«J’espère qu’ à travers cette crise, nous pourrons commencer à évoluer vers une organisation pratique de nos communautés où personne n’est laissé pour compte. Nous avons besoin de communautés qui créent des opportunités pour une justice transformatrice. Des communautés qui reconnaissent les torts causés par notre passé colonial et qui s’engagent dans une véritable et active réconciliation avec les nations autochtones. Des communautés qui accordent une priorité au démantèlement de l’oppression sous toutes ses formes et à la construction d’un avenir plus juste pour tous ». Emilie Coyle, directrice générale de l’ACSEF
À une époque où règne tant d’incertitude, nous avons hâte de faire de cette semaine, une semaine centrée sur l’espoir et l’imagination, en travaillant ensemble pour envisager des communautés dont nous avons besoin.

– FIN –

Pour de plus amples renseignements ou pour communiquer avec l’ACSEF pour commentaires, veuillez contacter  la Directrice Générale (Emilie Coyle) à ecoyle@caefs.ca ou au (613) 316-6785.

Semaine EFry 2020 – FINALE

Resources: Justice for Soli & CAEFS conversation with Senator Kim Pate and Justice Louise Arbour

We were so honoured to be able to host Senator Kim Pate and Justice Louise Arbour on Wendesday, April 22nd 2020 for our weekly Facebook Live conversation in partnership with Justice for Soli. During the conversation, Senator Pate referenced a number of resources. You can find them below:

Bill C-83 – Explanation of amendments and Government responses

GLI Inquiry Speech-25Feb2020_Footnotes

LMB Support Letter

S-208_Second Reading_footnotes

Conviction Expiry 2nd Reading Speech-5March2019

Many thanks again to both Senator Pate and Justice Arbour for joining us!

PRESS RELEASE – Alarming Infection Rates at Joliette Institution for Women

For Immediate Release

April 18th 2020

Ottawa, Ontario

Re: Alarming Infection Rates at Joliette Institution for Women

_____________________________________________________________________

For over 40 years the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) has been advocating with and for federally incarcerated women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this work has become even more urgent and necessary.

CAEFS is regularly in contact with incarcerated women. During the COVID-19 crisis, our six Regional Advocacy teams across the country, along with our National Office, have each been receiving dozens of phone calls a day from incarcerated women reporting on their conditions of confinement and seeking our advocacy support. This means that we have detailed and up-to-date information from those who are most impacted by the spread of COVID-19 in prisons.

The reports that we receive from people incarcerated in federal women’s prisons are what guide our advocacy efforts as we work on both systemic and individual remedies.

We are raising the alarm about the rate of infection in Joliette Institution for women. The situation there is dire and swift action needs to be taken. On April 7th there were 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19, now there are 50. While the rated capacity of Joliette is 132, there are currently approximately 80 people incarcerated inside – this means that over 60% of prisoners at Joliette have been infected with COVID-19. In fact, these number are likely higher given delays in test results.

The example that Joliette is so sadly demonstrating is that by the very nature of prisons (lack of hygienic environment, impossible to physically distance), once COVID-19 enters into a prison, it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to stop its rapid spread. This puts an already vulnerable population at even more risk.

We have been told that the Structured Intervention Units (SIU) in Joliette have been used to isolate prisoners who are ill. SIUs are what once were called ‘segregation units’, which is extremely troubling as this means confining people who are sick in ways that are cruel and punishing. This kind of response to managing an infection lacks humanity and any form of dignity. It has also, clearly, proven ineffective in containing the spread.

The Grand Valley Institution for Women currently has 9 confirmed cases and, yesterday, the Fraser Valley Institution for Women reported their first confirmed case of COVID-19. Joliette is an example of where these other institutions may be in a short time.

In most cases, we have been told by prisoners that CSC continues to only test individuals who are symptomatic, which ignores what we know from public health officials about the possibility of asymptomatic carriers.

“CAEFS, along with many others – including doctors, lawyers, other advocacy organizations, and prisoners themselves – have been saying that prisons are dangerous, especially during a pandemic. We have been speaking out about the danger of COVID-19 and demanding immediate and swift action in the federal prison system for weeks. If our calls had been heeded a month ago, this outbreak in Joliette may have been avoided.” Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of CAEFS

All responses to COVID-19 must be grounded in compassion, dignity, and the preservation of human health and life. We need immediate action and the safe release of as many people as possible.

– END –

For more information, or for comment, please contact CAEFS  Executive Director, Emilie Coyle.

Email: ecoyle@caefs.ca

Cell: 613-316-6785

PDF – PRESS RELEASE – Alarming Infection Rates at Joliette Institution for Women

Open Letter: Depopulation of Federal Prisons 

Hon. Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety

Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice 

Hon. Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities 

Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children, and Social Service 

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A6

______________________________________________________________________________

Open Letter: Depopulation of Federal Prisons 

Dear Ministers, 

As we write this, we have been made aware of more than one federally incarcerated woman with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and several others with presumptive cases. We fear that these cases mark the beginning of a potential public health emergency. As an organization dedicated to advocating for federally incarcerated women, Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) is concerned about the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) preparedness to manage this outbreak and reduce the harm to people inside prisons. 

We write to you to insist on immediate action and offer our collaboration, along with our network of over 20 local Elizabeth Fry Societies, in devising a plan to ensure that we are able to safely depopulate federal women’s prisons in Canada. 

The time for bold, decisive, and life-saving action is now. 

CSC health care is not equipped to treat prisoners who become ill with COVID-19: Long before this public health crisis, our Regional Advocates have reported on the substandard healthcare provided to women in federal prison. Moreover, the Office of the Correctional Investigator has consistently reported on a lack of adequate health care in federal prisons. A system that was already failing to meet the needs of the people in their care cannot reasonably claim that they can manage a public health crisis. Given the substandard access to healthcare and the potential for rapid spread within prisons, as prisoners become ill they will need to be transferred to hospitals, putting even greater pressure on an already strained health care system. This puts everyone at greater risk. 

Women are not safer in prison: It is impossible to practice physical distancing in prison. This is particularly concerning as incarcerated people fall within the groups that Public Health have deemed to be at an increased risk of more severe outcomes; including: those who are aged 65 and over, those who have compromised immune systems; and those who have underlying medical conditions. We have already seen devastating examples in our long term care facilities about the impacts that an outbreak can have on a population that is older and / or has underlying health conditions when living in close quarters. Medical experts across Canada have continuously expressed concerns for the safety of prisoners and staff once COVID-19 enters the prisons, and now it has. 

There are community release options for Federally incarcerated women: There are over 20 local Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada who provide programming and support for criminalized women. Many of these locals already have housing options for women leaving prison and are working tirelessly to provide safe and supportive housing – but we can do more. 

Our local Elizabeth Fry Societies are willing and ready to be part of the solution to depopulate prisons in partnership with the Canadian Government. With adequate support, we are confident that we can work with you to facilitate the release of many federally incarcerated women in Canada. 

There are options already available to help facilitate these releases; including: the extension of unaccompanied temporary absences, the use of Section 81 and 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), expedited hearings for suspension and revocation cases, and section 121(1.b) of the CCRA states that “parole may be granted at any time to an offender […] whose physical or mental health is likely to suffer serious damage if the offender continues to be held in confinement”. We urge you to use the tools that are at your disposal to depopulate now. 

As an organization dedicated to prison abolition, we understand that prisons have never served to keep our communities safe or address harm. Especially now, we echo the calls from prisoners, families, legal professionals, health care workers, senators, advocates, organizers, unions, and other service providers to release as many people from prison as possible. We do not have the death penalty in Canada, but inaction on the part of the government during this critical time will effectively sentence some of our country’s most marginalized people to death. 

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies 

Cc. Anne Kelly – Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada

Cc. Angela Connidis – Deputy Commissioner for Women, Correctional Service of Canada

Cc. Marie Claude Landry – Chief Commissioner – Canadian Human Rights Commission  

Cc. Senator Kim Pate – Standing Committee on Human Rights (in prison) 

Cc. Ivan Zinger – Correctional Investigator of Canada

Cc. Jennifer Oades – Chairperson of the Parole Board of Canada

PDF: CAEFS Open Letter – Depopulate Prisons – March 31 2020

CAEFS calls for release of prisoners at risk due to COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA, SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2020- COVID-19 & Incarcerated Peoples.

We are currently in the midst of a global outbreak of COVID-19.

As an organization dedicated to advocating for federally incarcerated women, CAEFS is concerned about the Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) preparedness to manage this outbreak and reduce the harm to people inside.

While Public Health has indicated that risk is low for the general public, they have identified several groups who are at increased risk of more severe outcomes; these include those who:

  • are aged 65 and over
  • have compromised immune systems
  • have underlying medical conditions

These same groups are also prevalent within our federal prisons.  In their most recent report, the Office of the Federal Investigator (OCI) noted that on 2017-18, 25.2% of the federally incarcerated population was 50 years of age and over.  Previous OCI reports also remind us that is it “universally established that correctional facilities house a number of health-compromised and vulnerable individuals”. The report also addresses the rapid aging of prisoners, making the link between prisoners aged 50-55+ having comparative health risks and those who are 65+ living outside of prisons, due to the overrepresentation of chronic health issues and lack of access to adequate health care.

Furthermore, Public Health has identified the risk of COVID-19 may be increased for certain settings including, “large gatherings in enclosed spaces”. Canadian provincial prisons are chronically overcrowded and both federal and provincial prisons are places where people cannot practice social isolation in the same ways that people outside of prisons can, it is nearly impossible. That all incarcerated people are at increased risk for infection is especially concerning given the past reports we have received from women inside indicating ongoing challenges with accessing adequate health care and preventative health measures inside, including even the most basic of necessities such as soap.

CAEFS advocates that:

  • Any person with complex or chronic medical conditions be immediately released to community for treatment;
  • People aged 50+ who are at the highest risk of serious illness and death should be released into the community on conditional release;
  • Section 81 and 84 should be utilized to transfer Indigenous women into community, and that ample supports be provided to these communities to respond;
  • The use of Community Residential Facilities, Community Based Residential Facilities, Transitional Housing, and ‘Parole to Other’ should be utilized to release incarcerated people as quickly as possible.
  • The immediate release of incarcerated mothers and their children in the mother-child program to their homes or Conditional Residential Facilities;
  • The immediate release of any incarcerated person who is currently at their parole eligibility day, who have completed their correctional programming, OR who could access programming to meet their correctional plan in community and resources should be provided in community.

Section 121(1.b) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act states that “parole may be granted at any time to an offender […] whose physical or mental health is likely to suffer serious damage if the offender continues to be held in confinement”. We urge correctional authorities to release as many prisoners as they can using the tools that are at their disposal in order to alleviate the potentially severe negative mental and physical health impacts that come from being incarcerated at a time of national and global health emergency.

It is the responsibility of the government of Canada to protect the people for whom incarceration heightens the urgency of the danger that they face from a global pandemic.

-30-

Contact information:

Emilie Coyle

Executive Director

Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

ecoyle@caefs.ca

Tel: 613-316-6785

Appalling and growing over-representation of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons highlighted by the Correctional Investigator.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, January 22nd, 2020 – The Office of the Correctional Investigator of Canada issued a news release with disturbing data on the number of Indigenous people in Canadian prisons- https://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/comm/press/press20200121-eng.aspx.

Over the years, through our monitoring of the conditions of confinement and advocating for women in Canadian prisons, the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) has consistently observed and spoken out about the over-representation of Indigenous women at all levels of the criminal justice system.

The Correctional Investigator of Canada, Dr. Ivan Zinger, states that indigenous people now make up more than 30% of people who are federally incarcerated, despite making up only 5% of the Canadian population.

More alarming is the fact that Indigenous women now account for 42% of all women who are incarcerated in federal prisons in Canada. This number is even more staggering within some provincial jails, particularly in the prairie regions where Indigenous women account for upwards of 90% of the prison population.

These disproportionately high numbers reflect the ongoing and systemic oppression and criminalization of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. CAEFS emphatically calls on the Canadian Government to implement the calls to action from the reports released by the National Inquiry into Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in order to help address this persistent and growing issue.

“We witness on a regular basis, the harmful, colonial, practice of incarcerating Indigenous women in Canadian prisons” stated Emilie Coyle, Executive Director of CAEFS. “We continue to advocate for legislative reform to address these alarming figures and we urge the government to treat the over-representation of Indigenous women as the emergency that it is and work toward fulfilling its promise of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples”.

-30-

Contact Information:

Emilie Coyle – Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies

ecoyle@caefs.ca or 613-316-6785