Today, August 10, is Prisoners’ Justice Day – a reminder to uphold justice and respect for all.
It’s a day to advocate for the human rights of people currently in the criminal justice system and to remember all the people who have died of unnatural deaths while incarcerated. Through our work at our Just Us Women’s Centre, we know there can be a more equitable and compassionate approach to justice.
We advocate for inclusive environments, restorative justice approaches, and call for an end to outdated and harmful practices. Segregation within prisons perpetuates a cycle of isolation and vulnerability. As well, the over representation of marginalized populations in the criminal justice system is part of Canada’s ongoing history of colonialism. Indigenous women are even more overrepresented in the Canadian federal correctional system than Indigenous men. We know that many individuals in our criminal justice systems are there due to the criminalization of addiction, mental health, and poverty in our country. We believe those individuals deserve support and programming that meets their needs. By supporting community programs that foster mental health support, education and skills development, we can help individuals transform their lives and build a better future.
Let’s realise measures that prioritize alternatives to incarceration and emphasize community-based rehabilitation that demonstrates empathy and humanity for all. As we mark Prisoners’ Justice Day, we send solidarity to our partners who work tirelessly to bring about positive change within our prison systems. And most importantly, we send compassion and care to all individuals currently incarcerated in our province and across Canada. We honour and respect you and your human rights and believe you are deserving of support. Learn more about the Just Us Women’s Centre here.