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CELL COUNT FREE - FOR PRISONERS, EX-PRISONERS & THEIR FAMILIES

Setting of a precedent:
FALL 2018 - ISSUE #86
Art by Jeremy Hall

The importance of art and safer
tattooing within prison
By Sena Hussain as told to by T. Felfoldi
Over the years I have been asked many times
about my involvement in the tattoo campaign,
“Whether or not it was worth it considering all factors
of events.” This is not a simple question. There are
many factors and events that lead to and transpired
over the tattoo campaign, such as: charges, fines, lost,
damaged or confiscated personal property, segrega-
tion placements, involuntary transfers, longer incar-
ceration due to negative reports being written, even
the loss/death of many friends. This is just to name a
few consequences I endured. I will address two main
factors for my reasoning for involvement in the tattoo
campaign.
To understand the importance of art and safer
tattooing within prison, I offer my opinion and view
point on two fronts: first, as an artist with a learning
disability (dyslexia) and secondly, as one of the (5)
guys that put in the tattoo pilot project proposal at
Joyceville institution (1997). This very proposal was
instrumental in creating policies and reports for a
strategy for safer tattooing in Canadian prisons. The
other people involved were my friends: Laurence,
Kenny, Dave, and Willy.
EXPRESSING ONESELF: is a form of communication
and is a vital component to being human. We express
ourselves in order to grow and learn, to grieve, share
joy, show love or discontentment. lt can help us
resolve personal issues, the reasonings go on and
on. There are many ways people express themselves.
Some people write poems, stories, and make music.
Some people take up acting or directing, others play
sports. Some even construct projects from their
hands. I was never into many of the traditional ways
to communicate given my deficit in the literacy world.
I was made to feel like an outcast due to it.
PERSONALLY: For as long as I can remember I
would draw images in replacement for words I could
not spell. While in grade 5, I was diagnosed with a
learning disability (Dyslexia). Dyslexia is a disorder
that makes it difficult to read and write. Art was/is an
important means for me to communicate; it was an
outlet for my thoughts and feelings over the years.
I was an introverted person due to the abuses and
ridicule I went through over my disability and other
factors as a child. It was the only outlet I had, other
than lashing out in anger towards others.
When I was 16/17, I committed a series of offences,
I was arrested and ended up being transferred to the
adult system after my sentencing. At the age of 18, I
was placed in Millhaven institution (the Haven) and
while I was to start serving my life sentence I tried to
learn how to read and write better. I made little gains
with the help of a tutor and support of my friends and
family.
Meanwhile, I also focused my talents of drawing
into learning how to tattoo. I needed a way to express
myself (communicate) my life struggles and the effects
my actions had on others’ lives as well as my own. I
had three reasons for this, one: to work through past
traumas and events in my life, two: to communicate a
deeper understanding of events then I could artic-
ulate in written format, and three: as a reminder to
myself. I was going to document my story. My skin
was my book and I did not wish to pay others to tell,
write or draw it. (Tattoo me) I had real trust issues and
was a very angry/broken kid still, so it was a personal
process I needed to do on my own in order to grow as
a person.
As I transferred my skills in art from paper to skin,
it became apparent quite quickly that I surpassed
some of the older prison tattooists that had been tat-
tooing for years. My style, attention to detail, thought/
symbolism, even placement of tattoos was on another
level than most had seen. I was free handing my work
as well (without stencils). I did not do tattoos simply
because “it was cool” or “the in thing to do.” I was
Continued on page 11

INSIDE 2 3-4 5-7 15 16
THE NEWS
8-11 12-14 HEALTH & RESOURCES
BULLETIN FROM WRITINGS
FALL BOARD INSIDE
ON THE ON THE ART HARM
REDUCTION
& ABOUT
PASAN
BLOCK WALL
ISSUE
2 // bulletin board
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
If you have had success using a pen to express your grief so you don't have to ex-
pal service (other than ours) and would perience it alone. You can send in an obituary
like to share it with other Cell Count about someone you may have lost in prison or
subscribers, please write to us or call. on the outside. We will start with a limit of 125
We can list it in a future issue. words per obituary and expand based on your
feedback. You can also send in a photo or art
Moving? to accompany it. We had two submissions for
this issue, which you can find on page 4.
We were getting about 75 Cell Counts
sent back to us each mail-out labelled, Bring PASAN to your group
‘Not Here’. Please help us reduce our
mailing expenses by letting us know of Are you a PEC/APEC worker or part of a Prisoner
any address change, ASAP! Thank you run group? PASAN regularly visits and holds work-
for the consideration. shops at prisons, if you would like to request us to
come and be a part of your work give us a call at
Workload 1-866-224-9978. It is a free call from any phone
and we would love to hear from you!
PASAN has been around for over 25
years now and over the years our Contact Numbers
client population has increased dra-
matically. As a result of this increase in If you are in any Federal/Provincial Institution
workload, clients may not be able to or Detention Centre call us only with this #:
spend as much time on the telephone Toll-free 1-866-224-9978
with staff as we would like. The staff Cell Count Feedback
and volunteers are dedicated and
committed and will continue to pro- Many of our subscribers ask us if there's a way
vide the best care possible. Thanks for they can donate money to Cell Count, and since
your patience and understanding! we want the newspaper to remain free for peo-
ple inside, we are so grateful for the offers, but
Calling all artists, writers (fic- we don't think you should have to pay to get it.
tion, non-fiction, short stories, A way you can help us out though is by giving
etc), illustrators, cartoonists, us your feedback about Cell Count!
poets, journalists (aspiring or Cell Count is partially funded by the Public
otherwise), and other creative Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and part of
types: receiving this funding involves evaluating the
We want your submissions! We get effectiveness of Cell Count. If you could take a
lots of letters from our readers telling minute after reading this issue to let us know:
us how much they love seeing all your 1) How did you hear about Cell Count?
work and they’re hungry for more. 2) Why did you subscribe to Cell Count?
Send us your stuff and get published 3) Is Cell Count an important resource for you
Land Acknowledgment porting does not infringe copyright.” in Cell Count. When you send us stuff, and if so, why? If not, why?
please make sure you write a line in that gives 4) In what ways has reading Cell Count affected
PASAN's office, where we publish Cell A Note about Pen Pals: us permission to publish your work. Also, let you? Mentally? Emotionally? Please elaborate.
Count, is on the historical territory of the us know if you would like your work returned 5) If you have submitted work to Cell Count,
Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and, most We've received a lot of calls and letters asking what has that meant to you?
about Pen Pals, and it's been difficult delivering to you or sent on to someone else! Please also
recently, the Mississaugas of the New Credit type your work or write clearly if you can! You can call or write to us with answers to
Indigenous peoples. This territory is covered the sad news that we no longer have the ca- these questions, which we will then forward to
pacity or funds to run it anymore. We know it's Writers: We get a lot of great work sent in that
by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt we are unable to use because of very limited PHAC! You can ask to remain anonymous as
Covenant, an agreement between the Haude- been a really important piece of Cell Count, and well. Thank you! We really appreciate your help
that it has led to some amazing connections space. Apologies. Please consider the column
nosaunee and the Ojibwe and allied nations width & keep articles/poems tight & to the with this :)
to peaceably share and care for the lands for our readers in the past. We really wish we
could continue it, but due to a lack of resources point. Honestly, the first items to go in are the Prison Radio
and resources around the Great Lakes. ones that fit nicely and leave space for others
it is no longer possible for us. We will continue
HIV+ Client Services – quality and quantity! Also, let us know in KINGSTON AREA - CFRC Prison Radio airs
to keep a running list of alternative places you
writing if it’s ok to edit your work for grammar, every Wednesday evening from 7-8pm on 101.9
In order to be a client & access these services can send your ads and photos, although some
spelling and so we can fit it in. FM. CFRC is the Queen's University communi-
you need to have confirmed HIV+ status and come with a cost. We cannot personally vouch
Please note: If you do send something to ty radio station and every last Wednesday of
be a prisoner or ex-prisoner (all times Eastern for these options, so please use them at your
us, please give us a call if you can so we can the month. CFRC can be heard from Millhaven
Standard time) own discretion:
look out for it in the mail. Also, call us again Institution, Collins Bay Institution, Joyceville In-
• Phone Hours: Mon – Fri from 9-5, except Canadian Inmates Connect: Currently, there is
at least a week after you send it to make sure stitution, Bath Institution, Frontenac Institution,
Tuesday mornings a $35/year subscription. Your ad will be placed
we got it. If not, if you're sending in a piece of Pittsburgh Institution, and Quinte Detention
on a website, and people with internet access
• Workshops and Programming - Scheduled writing, we can transcribe it over the phone for Centre.
browse through to decide who to connect with.
usually on Mondays or Thursdays, give us a A point of caution: you are asked to say what you, so keep a copy of everything you send us! MONTREAL AREA – CKUT Prison Radio airs
call or check out our website for a complete you have been convicted for, and your full We're especially looking for submissions on 90.3 FM on the second Thursday of every
list of events we have scheduled. name will be published online. Melissa is the from women-identified folks! Women are the month between 5-6 pm as part of the Off the
• ID Clinic – 1st & 3rd Thursday 1:00-2:00 every person to contact for more information. Write fastest-growing prisoner population in Canada, Hour show and on the fourth Friday of every
month - for everyone. or call her at: Canadian Inmates Connect Inc. but often their experiences are marginalized month between 11am and 12pm. It can be
3085 Kingston Rd, Suite 267, Toronto, Ontario, in conversations about the prison system. We heard from Bordeaux, Rivière-des-Prairies,
• Release Funds - $50 (twice a year max) want to hear your take on prison, life, family,
M1M 1P1 - (647) 344-3404 Centre de formation fédéral, Leclerc, Montée
• TTC Tokens – 2 each for clients who attend or anything else you're interested in writing St-Francois, Centre de détention pour les immi-
workshops Black and Pink: Specifically for queer and trans
prisoners. They are based in the United States, about. We can guarantee confidentiality, and grants, Archambault, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines,
• Harm Reduction Materials – Mon – Fri from it does not cost anything to be part of the list, can publish your pieces under a pseudonym if and Cowansville institutions.
9-5, except Tuesday AM (Safer-Crack-Use- and you don't have to tell them your convic- you want! Please submit your articles, poetry,
Kits, Safer-Needle-Use-Kits, Piercing Needles, art, or letters to the Cell Count editor at 526 VANCOUVER AREA – Stark Raven Collective
tion. Here is how to reach them: Black and Pink runs the CFRO Prison Radio show on 100.5 FM
Condoms, etc.) - for everyone. National Office, 614 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1R3 - in the
Sometimes we and the phones are very busy so MA 02125 meantime, check out Concrete Blossoms on as part of Vancouver Co-operative Radio. It
please keep trying! 617.519.4387 page 5. broadcasts on the first Monday of each month
Prison Fellowship Canada: This is a faith- from 7-8 pm Pacific Time
About Cell Count When subscribing to Cell Count
based, Christian organization that connects HALIFAX AREA - Dalhousie University's CKDU
PASAN publishes ‘Cell Count’, a minimum of prisoners with volunteers of either the same We have been notified by a few different at 88.1 FM. Listen or call in for poetry and rap
4 issues per year. We are based in Toronto on gender, or where there is a 15-20 year age institutions that if you'd like your subscription on the Black Power Hour, which airs Wednes-
the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of difference. The point is for you to have an of Cell Count to make it into your hands, you days from 1:30-2:30pm , and is co-hosted by
New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, outlet to express yourself to someone who will have to register at the library to receive it first. former Halifax poet laureate El Jones. The show
the Huron-Wendat and home to many diverse listen. If you are of the Christian faith, this may Please do this before requesting a subscription focuses on social and cultural issues relevant to
Indigenous peoples. It is sent out for FREE to be a great option for you. You can reach them from us just to make sure! Also, if you are inter- Black communities, but is open to all listeners.
Clients & Prisoners in Canada. If you are on for more info at: Prison Fellowship Canada - ested in subscribing please contact: Cell Count,
the outside or part of an organization, please National Office, 5945 Airport Road, Suite 144, 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON, M5A 1R3 or Calling any and all trans-identified
consider a donation @ $20 per year. We are Mississauga, ON L4V 1R9 call Sena at: 1-866-224-9978 ext 228 people
proud to release our 86th issue to you. We are 905.673.5867 Winter Issue Due Date! Some of you might know or have spoken to
also grateful for all the wonderful feedback we Prisoner Correspondence Project: "..a sol- Aanya Wood already. She is one of the Federal
have been receiving from our readers, and en- idarity project for gay, lesbian, transsexual, Firstly, we want to thank everyone who sent us Coordinators at PASAN since June, 2018. She’s
courage you to keep putting your two cents in. transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, submissions for this fall issue of Cell Count! We been connecting with other trans women inside
Our goal is to have most of our content written bisexual and queer prisoners in Canada and the are excited to present to our readership all of the and is interested in hearing from more.
and produced by prisoners and ex-prisoners, so United States, linking them with people who are thought-provoking submissions we received for
we highly encourage you to get in touch with part of these same communities outside of pris- this issue.. While trans people make up a significant pro-
us if you're interested in being part of the Cell on." - From their website. Write to them here: Submissions for the the winter issue of Cell portion of the prison population, most people
Count team. QPIRG Concordia c/o Concordia University Count will be due December 15th, 2018. We describe being isolated, mistreated or having
Publisher: PASAN 1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, QC H3G mentioned in the last issue that it would be No- gaps in knowledge around trans health care
526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1R3 1M8 vember 15th, but due to the Canada Post strikes, and general rights inside.
Circulation: 700+ - Recirculation: ??? Inmate Ink: "Help us bring Hope to a prisoner we are giving people more time to get their work Aanya would love to connect with you if you:
All original artwork, poems and writings are the one letter at a time. Offers memberships from in to us. have any questions; have insight or are inter-
sole/soul property of the artist and author. $20 - $40. Your completed ad will be published We are aiming to get the winter issue out to you ested in sharing your experiences navigating
on our website for anyone in the general public by January - mid-February, depending on the the prison system while trans; or are looking to
Fair Dealing in the Canadian Copyright Act: to view and contact you directly. For an appli- number of submissions we receive. connect. If you identify as transgender and are
Sections 29, 29.1, 29.2: “Fair dealing for the cation or more info, please contact Tasha Brown interested in connecting with Aanya feel free to
at: P.O. Box 53222 Marlborough CRO, Calgary Obituary Section reach her toll-free at 1-866-224-9978 ext 234
purpose of research, private study, education,
parody, satire, criticism, review, and news re- AB. T2A 7L9 or www.InmateInk.ca" With this section, we hope to give you an outlet or write her a letter!”
3 // from inside
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
Bless Or even a welt – full of hurts… We don’t waste our time speaking Joy is considered contraband speak across the gathered heads
But it only takes one to truly forgive, to the deaf nor will we dance for the Learn to smuggle it to ring against the echoing wall,
Lost world Accept responsibility and fashion a blind. This place clips you wings and time is cast back to greet
There’s so much pain in the world life – worthy enough to live! We know loyalty before Royalty. It fills your lungs with despair the lady and her beau,
So much more than we can ignore The Love we hold deep inside, is Honour is not just another word to Learn to fly using hope who, having been called beyond
Most people have become desensi- the same Love; which helps us to us we see it as a lifestyle, we teach himself,
tized and callous confide. our young the importance of loyalty, finds a new tongue with which to
Others have become sympathetic, It’s only when we forsake this, honour and respect The Prophet Darwin call
creating movements That we truly stand alone… Our minds must be sharp, hearts I met a man who said to me to the ghosts of actors past.
When will politics stop hindering Sad and depressed, like a dog with- must be proud, we will survive in Can you believe that God could be? bow to the magic of theatre.
progress out a bone. times of adversity and cut through With all the stories that fossils tell, the cauldron's power...
And all nations move forward togeth- There needs to be a helper, corners with ease The tales you tell don't ring a bell the mixing disparate parts to find the
er – as a “World” government Something more stable and secure. WE ARE WARRIORS. The only prophet my faith is in united whole,
Helpfully providing for all humanity Something much greater than our- Is an Englishman we call Darwin sweeping together into
I believe this is what Martin Luther selves, A lion in the Jungle never pays atten- I said to him suppose that I, a new gathering of one.
King Jr. meant when he said “I have This I know for sure! tion to an ant in a tree. Remember, Believed that God was but a lie experience the mysterious rites
a dream” “There must be a God, some people aren’t worthy of your That our Universe was born by of art and her performing wonder.
Malcolm X said “By any means nec- A Messiah or a Saviour. attention. Also throughout your life chance oh suppose she was only womyn
essary” Something more devout and you will be surrounded by friendly And God's real name was "Happen- and miss the moment's truth.
I don’t think he meant to do things Perpetually holy and true. wolves. These friendly wolves will stance" the lady's muse has melded and
improperly or forcefully So, an heir to a kingdom, surround themselves with Body That my forefathers were great big fused
I believe he meant, be strong and Like a prince or a son. Guards of lies apes life into the fleeting.
stand up for what you believe Cause, only this sort of devotion, Stumbling around searching for to her I offer my most precious.
By any means necessary help those The Love of One…
Nolan R. Turcotte grapes to her I rejoice in the gift of her
who are weak Could present as such a cure, Nibi That good and evil on our whims presence
With this knowledge comes power It’s immaculately honest.. Are you aware of how Sacred you depend and give thanks.
Bringing forth wisdom And, have been since your conception? That death was the end the ends to her I give
To those that are chosen “Undeniably Pure”. The most precious out of all of Gitchi all ends ... my Scoobie Do underwear.
Chosen by God to lead Manitou’s inventions That this life we live is meaningless 17-9-25
To lead those that are lost like sheep Aboriginal – alone and in jail You hold the water for a reason like With no real goal or great purpose for Claire
Then my dear friend I ask you this: and Scoobie Do underwear.
Brian G. Kerr For four years and Nine months, give clouds in the first season
When the winds of hardship begin --
or take. I have been in this god awful Without rain there isn’t life, Without
Inmates Beware place, women there isn’t breathing to hiss potato nipples
It was early 2014, I met a jail-house For goodness sake. Remember what you’re worth, Your And the nights of sorrow consume nibble & sprout fuschia-
snitch, better known as a rat. My mother has passed and nine water is pure at birth my cheers burgundy cosmo-licious areolas
When low and behold he turned out months gone by – No need to won- It may get contaminated throughout And my face is washed by streams standing tall with wishes to be
to be exactly that! der, no time to cry journeying Mother Earth of tears kissed...
Only he was more of an informant; I did nothing I plead in my mind, No The right man’s fire will boil out the And my heart is broken like an old & fuzzy bees bless them with
because though he had information, one cares... not even the blind filth and melt the shame tree noses pressed against their needy
it wasn’t necessarily true. It sounds like a joke, but I assure The same way your water was meant And reliefs gatekeeper has tossed centers.
But that doesn’t matter, because it’s you it’s not. “We all have a story, and to tame the flame the key and sunflowers shout, "look look,
called the turning of a screw. some be true. But, I did absolutely Our purpose is to balance, Not to And I find myself alone in darkness look at me
“What this is, is a ploy to win your nothing to him/her or even you!” curve like eagle talons With no one to speak to except my i'm so tall and free, look at me." and
freedom – but first you must con- And our courts they justify the things You’re the bows and we’re the madness who cannot?
struct a good story. they decide; it doesn’t matter wheth- arrows, Meant to work together as Weak and broken, without any and shy chamomile
Then you simply lead them.” er you're guilty or innocent, disobey companions power with her petals slumped like the
You have in mind what it is the sub- or abide. Life givers should be hon- Can Darwin help me in that hour? pale
ject wants; then you coordinate an It’s a corruptive system – so wise in oured-Mothers, sisters, daughters! arms of wallflowers in gymnasiums
interception – this is known as “the its ways… Rather than disrespected by the men Planet Gazing everywhere holds
haunts”… “Behold my friends, I kid you not – who can be monsters I stood before the limits of my her secret fragrance tight till tickled
You have them touch on certain is- we’re in the last days!” I encourage all men to learn water world by the touch light
sues as though you’re talking in code, The police are murderers with a before fire, Although we’re equal And peered through the windows & love's mature & heady scent
Then once established you have what licence to kill. The Crowns and the women should be elevated higher of my cell proclaims the promise
is, now “the mode”. Judges rejoice happily, so long as The fire’s down low, We raise the To gaze at a planet I was told of buckwheat's honeyed
This is the key to your success… there is still blood to spill. water to our lips Was better than this "ever wretched compliment.
If done properly, it will sound as It pays the bills and levies the debt… We can’t live without it, look at how hell" necar for the night.
though you eventually caused the So, let’s just put them all away and the script flips The people over there appeared oh kiss potato's honeyed lips &
subject to confess. say “criteria not met!” -Written for my wife, Angela, and so sad breathe deep the
It is a method as old as the trees dedicated to all the Life givers. For pain was in the air they had to scented night & at
(Cause in the end only us rich will
themselves, breathe last
prevail, we’ll take away their freedom Zakaria Amara
Devised by crafty criminals – while With busy lives that drove them tongue the nippled being
and deprive them of their bail.)
enduring long moments in chain cells ever mad satisfied to sleep contented
“However, keep buying our institu- Purpose
Like dangling a carrot in front of a Like hordes of mice chasing after dreams.
tional canteen, as pricy as it may be. Oh one who made this Universe
mule— cheese 18-9-6
Otherwise we won’t be able to keep And gave each one their own pur-
Only then can you get the ass to walk I stared with confusion at this scene for penelope's button.
you in a state of such debtly!” pose
And that's when I heard an Angel
the golden rule. Our laws have been fixed like our I sought you out throughout my life
yell Madelein Prinlsoo
Many Judges and even Kings and scales to say the least... “I mean we’re In every valley and every height
Queens have been jailed, In every secret cave on land Contentment is the heaven of our Trapped
only doing what society wants,
For these lies aren’t tightly woven – Up in heaven or on the ground being I feel so encaged between these
Hail allegiance to the beast!”
but rather loosely spooled. I call on you, broken And lack of it is its greatest hell walls of my room,
So, the next time you wonder why All these chains on my arms & my
It is for this reason why such decep- you are where you are this day. My tears ascend towards the sky Dakota Rain Manitowabi legs.
tion works, Remember the ones who put you I'm filled with pain that is no lie I'm a prisoner of my own soul & my
It requires a certain repetitiveness in there and the cards of which they My life is hard I can't deny The defintion of a true warrior:
own mind.
an attempt to ween out the quirks. play! I'm reaching my limits is not dignified by the My soul must be blind to see only
Many individuals – some who now The Lord sees it all and he will take I Journeyed on for all these years Amounts of Scalps he has stripped darkness.
have had their convictions over- his vengeance toll. Wiping away my lonely tears from his enemies skins in I don't know...
turned, He’ll strip them of their contentfull- Withstanding pain and piercing fears Battle and Warfare, But I feel so alone.
Managed to expose this art of de- ness and lay them in She’ol. For only one purpose But it is Am I raged with fear?
ception. Where they will weep in discomfort If all of those who are on land By the amount of Or only in despair?
(Although it appears to retain a level and beg for remorse. And those in heaven or beneath the Peace & Prosperity he has created Someone guide me please!
of sophistication, it is actually quite But, none will be given – because sand Amongst enemies and his people... Someone help me please!
Someone free me please! !
the contrary.) of their obstinance and continued Or in the oceans and seas you Mr. Valley I long to fly from this prison.
And is more so an illusion, which por- discourse. made
My tears don't seem to be enough,
trays a “suggestive perception…” “So, take courage my friends who Had turned away from me with fart boogie noodles spill across the Inside this lonely hole,
Sort of like sending in a “Yellow appear to be so frail… hate floor I hope to find... Heaven!
Canary” in hopes of determining a Even if you are, And all I got was a loving glance like sparkling new wine and jail- Or at least a Piece of it...
leak – which would otherwise go Aboriginal – alone and in jail.” From you to me and a second house macaroni. No matter how I try,
undetected. chance the masked womyn unveils and I just can't seem to free myself from
But, yet appears to be a gold-mine to Billy D Achieved is my purpose delightful laughter this hell.
those of interest. Brother to Brother, Warrior to cuts like a newly sharpened knife No matter what I do,
Once carefully inspected. This Place where only silence reigned before. The shackles just won't break!
Warrior This empty void inside seem to
The toughest of individuals are given Snakes lurk in this place shadows rise before floodlights
Undeniably Pure They are all highly venomous and the pause before the clapper swallow me whole tonight.
the most battles to fight. We do not No matter how I try, I just can't seem
It takes two to hold hands, Leave no skin exposed snaps
act out of Impulse, but rather great to breathe again.
Hug, kiss and make amends… This place is very cold doesn't have time to brood.
strategy and rationality, making us No matter what I do, I find myself
Two to share a secret and Your soul shivers and trembles with a toss to the left and a nod to
very calculated individuals. inside this room,
Depend upon each other for help. Only faith can warm it the right Where the world's walls are closing
We understand the Importance of
Two to care for and help carry This place is very dark the audience is forewarned ... in on me.
SILENCE. If we must speak we will
Each others burdens. Eyes of the head malfunction here here comes the chameleon to per- No matter what I try, I find myself
choose select few words opposed to
Tend to one another’s wounds, a cut Insight is required form.
a parade of words. continued on pg 5
This place is very sad voices drawn from imagined within
4 // from inside
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
They were the Cards I had to play this is true. As my heart belongs, to a sad young
stuck in this lonely hole. It may Seem hypocritical I said to myself “Do not let her go!” girl.
I find myself alone with this sound of When I Say change for pay For your happiness rests with this Addicted to drugs,
ets O
silence, But I say it from a prison cell woman so. And phony fake ass fucking thugs. nTwe
because everything dies in dark- From my Music addicted days As the days pass by in this cold dark I’m the gun and she’s my slug, Priso
ness... hell, We come together to stain the rugs,
Now trapped and alone I think of my Jenny and my heart Her heart has stayed, where it last
Nothing lives - With just myself to blame was.
swells.
Everything dies in silence - Even my The mirror is my enemy 100; Completely with me,
My World
soul...
An idea developed by Jeff Craig

When I look I feel ashamed Jenny you mean the world to me, And until I am freed – is where she
Inside this lonely hole, I sit and The person I’ve become You truly are my queen to be. will see,
wonder what went wrong, Is not the man who I am How fortunate I was to meet this And until then, she can just keep livin
Will I ever see the light again? Music was my everything soul, in her dream. Cell Count contributor Jeff Craig
Was all this pain in vein? Blowing a couple hundred grand Without you honey, I would be far I can still always feel, her lonely came up with "Prison Tweets." A
The night it feels so long, I wish it all All that’s left now from whole. broken heart, "tweet" is a super short quote,
away – Is the shell of a man You really bring out the best in me, When I awake, as soon as the day shoutout, piece of wisdom, thought,
Just to see your face, I’ll make you so proud; I promise ends, update, or anything you can come
Never Knew a normal life up with! Mail us or call with a tweet,
Just to hear your voice from out the you’ll see. I know for sure, that it’s not pretend.
That’s what people don’t understand She’s my shorty, my love, and my lil’ and you might see it in an upcoming
darkness of the night. Your love is what gets me through
In the naked light of day, Trap Boy Sunny these dark days, bestfriend, issue. Let's see what you got!
I hear a thousand sounds - And the light it provides will help And our love will last until the end, Alex Gaudreau
One Night Stand (Remix) guide our way. Until the day that I say when.
It disturbs the silence with your voice. (Chorus) Until then, I will say -You can kill the things you create,
I look forward to the day you’re offi-
Darkness my old friend, You should stay cially my wife, She must walk, strong, on both her but you cannot create the things you
I leave you and say "good day" More than one night with me. Oh! You’re the only woman I’ll spend with legs killed.
I'll see you tonight once again. Oh Baby. my life. And until the day, she’s Mrs. Allysha -My days turn into nights, my nights
I long to see your eyes and then - I want you until the morning come Hanging on to Hope Beggs. turn into dreams.
To hold you tight and make all things Another night While I sit in this Living hell surround- Granpa & Grama
seem right, You come stay with me ed by cement walls and steel fixtures This country tune has a bit of rock Nolan Turcotte
And make all my sadness seem like Just you and me and Let’s not forget those who claim n’ roll
It’s about, two loving souls that have You’re broken just like me, babe. So,
lies. Baby you, should stay they have your best interests. Don’t
hearts of Gold why don’t we take all of our shat-
Will I see you again? Another night with me, Oh Baby believe it for a minute they’re not
your friend till the end they’re only It’s a little love story, being told tered pieces and create something
The day is almost gone, I want you till the morning come there to take! How fucking Fake! About a man and a womyn, Growin beautiful.
So why the face so long? One more night, come stay with me old
It's time to greet the day and wish
(verse 2)
Don’t think I don’t know how you roll!
I really miss, my granpa so Forgotten Warrior
the night away. What’s the matter big dog? Why you
Tell me how it feels, After I take you treating me so cold? Don’t worry bro; And I really wish that he didn’t have She sayz she only wantz 4 me 2 be at
Just want to see your eyes one more to go
down tonight. I’ll keep that smile of gold; While you peace
time... He always knew the right things to do
And tell me how it feels, after I please hold on to your hate, I’ll make sure I Well yes and
Just want to run away from my prison feel great, some fucking friend! But And his heart was open if you were
you all damn night There is nothing so peaceful as the
into your embrace. I’ll get through these days something true
OUU, I got the recipe girl grave
No matter how I try, in a haze, going through the maze, I remember hiss swag in the way he
I’ll be your remedy, yeah Now is there?
I just can't seem to free myself - from trying to find my way out, it’ll come to walked
OUU girl, Ima kiss from your head to And his cursed words was just the
this prison at night. me soon, I’ll hold onto hope and put
yah feet yeah. way he talked Is it possible that i am so weary of
No matter what I do, the shackles this place behind me, until the day I
Satisfaction guaranteed, OUU girl live free! I’ll just sit back in disbelief He could, build a house, from the anger and bitterness that I let it slip
just won't break! !
Inside this lonely hole, No I didn’t come to tease yah, I just as I wait for my day of relief… ground up away 4 awhile? So just give me this
I find myself encaged between the came to please yah Barriers And act so cool like it was nothin’ moment alone? I do not feel empti-
walls of my room, Do you better than him, you know I As I look straight up into the clouds, much ness, I do not feel loneliness, I do not
eat that cake up Instead of straight into the ground or Just another day so I could say feel my hurt, my mind is just empty
All these chains on my arms & my goodbye
legs - just won't break! ! Girl I wana make up, baby I think that What surrounds me, for that mo- and I feel peace within, which is so
we should ment I am And everybody says that I have his beautiful and I wish I could feel it all
Someone guide me please! eyes
Someone help me please! (verse 3) Both physically and mentally free, I the time and 4 the moment, let go!!
You should stay, more that one night am not He met my Grama workin’ in the
Someone free me please! ! mines
with me, oh baby Surrounded by concrete walls and What you think is how you'll act
I long to fly from this place! steel barriers. She was, servin’ dinner to the men in
This empty foad inside, seem to I want you till the morning come, the supper lines How you act is how you'll feel
another night Cause it’s through my eyes that can How you feel is what you are
swallow me whole tonight. only A double date and she was with his
You come stay with me, just you and
No matter how I try, I just can't
me, baby you Disguise what truly surrounds me friend Obituaries
seem to breathe again. from But his beautiful Irish eyes lured her
No matter what I do, I find myself Should stay another night with me, to him To my bro Steve Frenette, may
Being Free!
inside this room – oh baby And so it goes, a true love story you rest in peace, your friends will
Where the walls are closing in on me I want you until the morning come, Tyler “Lucky” Beggs begins always keep your spirit alive, always
one more night Together forever, until the end thinking of you bro, your friend The
again! My Girl and Me I said; together forever until the end
Come stay with me, baby you Sundance kid!
El Presidenteeh Should stay more than one night Why do I even try to settle our feud, ~ Yeeee ha ~ - by Patrick "SDK" Dowdell
As you sit on your ASS and try to act
Soliloquy with me amused. Dwight (KC) Luke Nicholson In memory of: Ruby-Ann
In my mind, A one night stand ain’t enough for So; am I nothing but a joke,
me Broken Dreams Kokopenace, Feb 3: 2015
There’s a man who exists in chains, My dreams get smoked like a roach.
Poof; once again I am being used, As children bring their broken toys,
In a dark room of painful solitude, is S. Halliday AKA G My heart is yours, and that’s the With tears for us to mend,
where I hope to remain. I brought my broken dreams to God,
Never thoughts of suicide, We Must Learn proof.
Sore dry windows, to our souls, Because he is my friend.
I’m too alive, We must learn that we were created But then, instead of leaving him,
with a great love. As my heart once again, belongs to
Bullets from the AK-47 hit me up, summer of old. In peace to work alone,
It’s too hard to die, This love we were created with came I hung around and tried to help
I’m almost blind, from my old and
Don’t listen to the lies, from our Father in the heaven above. tired eyes, With ways that were my own,
I swear they all lies We are all from one place we are all Tears that never dries. At last I snatched them back and
Presidenteeh is a shinning light, brothers and sisters in the human Why do I even try, cried,
With certified ties, race. The wind tries to put out a fire, that “How can you be so slow?”
I can maintain with patience, We must learn how to overcome our never dies. “My child,” he said, “What could I
mistakes Can you vision, the abstract sad art, do…”
Time can limit but not shatter my “you never did let go!”
will, To live as one people do what ever Screams from a soul that will never
it takes part. “1”
Strength blazed across my chest, I am only one, but I am one,
As solid as penitentiary steel, We must learn that war and hate is That has strayed together from the
very start, I cannot do everything,
In this 6 by 8 not the answer But I can do something,
Because once it starts it will spread We must of used, cupids last and
The AR-15 is screaming, lucky dart, What I can do I should do, I should
Behind these walls, like a cancer do and,
As true love dangles, from both our
Searching for meaning, We must learn how to help the sick hearts. Instructions that prove, exact- With the help of God, I will do!
I’ve given 95% of my boys a hand- and needy ly what to do, Too Wonderful
shake, Stop thinking of only yourself stop As it’s a true love worth living, be- Some of God’s attributes are too
Then a pound, being so greedy cause it’s so true, wonderful to understand
Before they were either locked up, We must learn that forever on earth A true love storey, of me and you But even if they remain
Or buried off in Cemetery grounds, we will not live Dear Ally Darkness to the intellect,
My bro Andre passed away, So learn how to love learn how to Dear my sweet sweet Ally, Let them be sunshine,
The pain is relentless, give I’m in love madly and I miss you so For your soul
Now wrongfully convicted, In life love in the one thing we all badly. Together
yearn I feel as though I can relate, to a A man was walking in a wilderness.
appealing a life sentence.
So please remember that it is love we Great White shark, He became lost and was unable to
Fame Because I am living, in a world so
Blinded by the fame must learn find his way out. Another man met
deep and dark. him. "If my love could see"
From my Music addicted ways Patrick “SDK” Dowdell The sad place I’m in, is completely
Not Caring about the Crime “Sir, I am lost, can you show me the I made this in memory of thee! The
evil and black, tears I shed for you! You left me on
Or the Consequences that it gave First Glance And so everybody knows, my heart’s way out of this wilderness!”
I was Scared to Say Sorry The very first day I set my eyes upon attacked. “No!” said the stranger, “I cannot this earth alone! My heart forever
There’s no other way to say you Imagine your heart being stole, lost show you the way out of the wilder- broken. One day I'll come home to
To make it in that life I sensed something special believed to a foreign world ness but maybe if I walk with you we you my love.
can find it together.” - by Gabriel R. Oates
5 // NEWS ON THE BLOCK
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
The prisoners at the Burnside a coalition of activists, inside and 6. Same Quality Food As Every JLS Press Release
jail are engaged in a non-vi- outside the prison walls, formed the Other Jail How the Ongoing Prison Strike is Connected to the
olent protest; here is their Black August Organizing Commit- We call for nutritious food in every
Labor Movement, Kim Kelly TEEN VOUGE Sept 4,
2018
statement tee. Starting in the “concentration jail that meets the needs of prison-
By El Jones - Halifax Examiner camps” of California, Black August ers from all religious and cultural Commissioner’s mandate letter
August 19, 2018 strikes swept through prisons across backgrounds. We do not understand
America. why menu items can be provided in Summarized by Brendan Arnott
Today’s column has been provided to
In this tradition and together one institution but not in others. If In this letter, Ralph Goodale, the
the Halifax Examiner by organizers of
menu items can be provided in other former commissioner of Correctional
the protest in Burnside. with those imprisoned south of the
provinces, or in other facilities in this Service Canada (CSC), writes to the
We, the prisoners of Burnside, border, we, the prisoners of Burnside
province, there should be no reason new commissioner Anne Kelly. The
have united to fight for change. We continue this legacy. We are not vi-
why they cannot be provided here. letter speaks about the recommend-
are unified across the population in olent, we are standing up for simple
We call for the province to respect ed changes that Goodale sees as
non-violent, peaceful protest. issues of human justice. important, which he hopes the new
We are calling for support from the We are organized together because the dietary needs of prisoners from
different cultures. We have strug- CSC commissioner will work on.
outside in solidarity with us. We be- conditions must change. Our de- He starts by talking about 3 groups
lieve that it is only through collective mands are as follows: gled in getting menus for religious
prisoners. Prisoners have become ill of people that CSC needs to provide
action that change will be made. 1. Better Health Care
including suffering serious nutritional Art: @meloniousfunk service to, stating that people in
We recognize that the staff in the The province has a duty to provide custody need to be given effective
jail are workers who are also facing adequate and ethical health care deficits, and health damage. This is in South Carolina and across the US.
unacceptable and a violation of our These deaths have been connected programming, interventions and
injustice. We are asking for a more to everyone. Some of the issues we treatment in a safe, secure and
productive rehabilitative environ- are facing in our health care include: religious rights. by some to the results of reduced
7. Air Circulation funding: overcrowding, understaffing humane way, and that when people
ment that supports the wellbeing of having medication cut off or delays in leave prisons and return to communi-
everyone in the system. These policy providing necessary medication; long We call upon the province to improve and reductions in prison programs
and services. ties, they need to be well-prepared for
changes will also benefit the workers waits for x-rays and other medical the conditions in the jail. In the
Through the JLS, prisoners released that transition. For prison employees,
in the jail. services; lack of care for chronic and recent heat wave, the health of pris-
a set of 10 demands (listed below) to Goodale wants a safe and supportive
Our voices should be considered serious illnesses; access to specialist oners was endangered, particularly
accompany their peaceful protest ac- workplace, as well as compassion,
in the programming and policies appointments; having our medical prisoners with existing or chronic
for this jail. The changes we are complaints dismissed; not enough health issues. tions including: sit-ins, hunger strikes, respect and information from the
product boycotts, refusal to work, system to be available to those who
demanding to our conditions are medical staff; not receiving compas- 8. Healthier Canteen have been victims of a crime.
reasonable, and must happen to sionate care. We call for healthy items to be added etc. They contain a focus on prison
conditions, law and policy reform, Indigenous peoples and organizations
support our human rights. Many prisoners face serious mental to the canteen. Prisoners supple- are mentioned as ‘key partners’ by
The organizers of this protest health issues, addictions, and chronic ment the meals provided by the pris- as well as prison slavery; the use of
Gooddale, as he acknowledges that
assert that we are being warehoused illnesses caused by poverty. We also on with these items that we purchase prisoners to produce commercial
the overrepresentation of Indigenous
as inmates, not treated as human know the prison environment causes using our own money or money goods for little or no compensation.
people in prison are caused by gaps
beings. We have tried through many health problems. Medical given us by our families. We do not While the laws in Canada are differ-
in the system and desperately needs
other means including complaint, treatment is a right: being deprived believe that providing us only with ent, these demands also reflect the to be addressed. Recommendations
conversation, negotiation, petitions, of health care is not part of our items filled with sugar and chemicals prison conditions and labour rights include increasing the number of
and other official and non-official sentences. helps promote our health. Junk food issues going on in our federal and community-run healing lodges and
means to improve our conditions. 2. Rehabilitation Programs is being eliminated from schools, provincial systems. Within the Cana- higher numbers of community-sup-
We now call upon our supporters We are told that the purpose of jail hospitals, and other institutions, so dian context this includes: federal ported releases, as well as making
outside these walls to stand with us is to rehabilitate us. We want to ask: why are people in prison limited to food and board wage deductions, sure that culturally-appropriate inter-
in protesting our treatment. How are we being rehabilitated if these unhealthy options? service and funding reductions, and ventions are developed in collabora-
We join in this protest in solidarity there are little to no programs help- 9. No Limits to Visits corporate contracting for prison ser- tion with Indigenous partners to help
with our brothers in prison in the ing us to get the work, education, Visits with our families and friends vices such as phones, food provision, prepare people, especially Indigenous
United States who are calling for and life skills we need to become help promote our reintegration into and canteen goods. women, for post-prison life. Goodale
a prison strike from August 21st productive members of society? society and keep us connected to our The strikes this year received also requests greater inclusion of
to September 9th. We support the We need programs that ad- support systems. Our families are significantly more media and public Indigenous needs and perspectives
demands of our comrades in the dress mental health and addiction called upon to put resources into the attention than strikes in previous into the structure of the CSC
United States, and we join their call problems; that teach us employable system through paying for phones years, for example in 2016. Goodale acknowledges that prisons
for justice. skills; that help us to learn financial and canteen. If the jail can profit off Strike Demands: also aren’t meeting the needs of Black
Our demands in Nova Scotia are management and other life skills; our families, why do we face limita- 1. Immediate improvements to Canadians, women, young adults,
different, and we note that they are that help us build healthy relation- tions in seeing them? the conditions of prisons and prison LGBTQ2 people, seniors and people
comparatively more modest. We ships with our families; that help us 10. Access To Library policies that recognize the humanity with disabilities, and states that inter-
are part of an international call for reintegrate into society. We call upon the province to imme- of imprisoned men and women. ventions and collaboration also need
justice and we recognize the roots of What is the point of jail if we are diately allow us to access the library. 2. An immediate end to prison to happen to speak to the needs of
this struggle in a common history of coming out with nothing changed or Legal materials in the library are slavery. All persons imprisoned in these populations. He goes on to say
struggle and liberation. worse from when we went in? necessary for us to access our legal any place of detention under United that it’s not enough to just call prison
We are not the first, and we will not 3. Exercise Equipment rights in court. States jurisdiction must be paid the programming ‘rehabilitative’ - this
be the last. Exercise is necessary for our physical We should not be limited in our prevailing wage in their state or terri- needs to be proveable, with data &
We recognize that the injustices we and mental health. We remind the attempts to educate ourselves. tory for their labor. research, and suggests partnerships
face in prison are rooted in colonial- province that we live in a province Let us restate. All of these demands 3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act around alternatives, such as pro-
ism, racism and capitalism. August with winter. We require equipment are reasonable, and promote our must be rescinded, allowing impris- grams related to the arts, programs
is a month rich with the history of so we can work out indoors. Exercise basic well-being. We recognize that oned humans a proper channel to involving animals, and programs that
Black struggle in the Americas. helps reduce stress, keeps us occu- the prison industrial complex is in- address grievances and violations of include peer mentoring.
In 1619, the first ship carrying pied in healthy ways, and helps us tended to divide us. We are unified in their rights. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has
forcibly enslaved Africans arrived in deal with the prison environment. our purpose. They cannot segregate 4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and also called for gaps in service to
Jamestown, Virginia. More than two We often do not receive the yard us all. the Sentencing Reform Act must be people with mental illness through-
time we are entitled to under the We call upon all people with a con- rescinded so that imprisoned hu- out the criminal justice system to be
hundred years ago, the first suc-
Corrections Act. This is a violation science beyond the bars to join us mans have a possibility of rehabilita- addressed. This includes stepping
cessful slave revolt created the first
in sharing this statement, in writing tion and parole. No humans shall be up early diagnosis and treatment of
independent Black nation, Haiti. In of the rights we already have. We
the Minister of Justice, your MLA, and sentenced to Death by Incarceration acute and chronic medical and mental
the early nineteenth century, Gabriel call for adequate time for fresh air,
the Department of Justice to support or serve any sentence without the health conditions, implementing harm
Prosser and Nat Turner launched exercise, and sunlight.
our demands, to commit to learning possibility of parole. reduction measures, seeing sub-
their rebellions, and in 1850, after 4. Contact Visits
more about the conditions in this 5. An immediate end to the racial stance use as a medical issue instead
the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, If we are being scanned for drugs of a moral problem, reducing the use
Harriet Tubman began an Under- and other contraband, we want province’s jails, and in taking actions overcharging, over-sentencing, and
in solidarity with our struggle. parole denials of Black and brown of segregation / solitary confinement
ground Railroad to Canada. A centu- to ask the province: Why are we in prison, and viewing nutrition as
ry later, the March on Washington, prevented from having contact We send a message of hope to our humans. Black humans shall no
comrades in prisons all across this longer be denied parole because the another integral part of the bigger
the Watts uprising, and the police visits with our families? If the body picture that makes up mental health
bombing of MOVE have marked scanners eliminate contraband from country and the world. victim of the crime was white, which
“It is said that no one truly knows is a particular problem in southern (perhaps in response to recent re-
August as a time of great possibility entering the prison, then there is ports that bad food & small portions
and great pain. no safety or security reason why we a nation until one has been inside its states.
jails. A nation should not be judged by 6. An immediate end to racist gang in Canadian prisons are heightening
In Canada, we recognize Prisoner can’t receive contact visits with our tensions).
Justice Day on August 10th as a time families and friends. how it treats its highest citizens, but its enhancement laws targeting Black
lowest ones.” and brown humans. Goodale’s idea of rehabilitation also
to remember all those who have Many of us are parents. We call for includes education and employment,
died in custody in this country. contact visits that allow our children —Nelson Mandela 7. No imprisoned human shall
be denied access to rehabilitation and he recommends making edu-
We also acknowledge the sacrifices to see us not behind glass. Prison Strikes Across the US programs at their place of detention cation more available, by exploring
made by our forebears, those who 5. Personal Clothing and Shoes options related to distance learn-
have fought to end the inhumane, If we are being scanned for drugs By Fiona Bennell because of their label as a violent
offender. ing, vocational programming, and
racist treatment accorded prisoners. and other contraband, then we From August 21st to Sept 9th prison- supervised use of technology. He also
George Jackson, one of America’s should be able to wear clothing from ers in 17 US states and 1 Canadian 8. State prisons must be funded
specifically to offer more rehabilita- recommends that family and commu-
prominent prisoner activists, was outside the institution. province (NS) were on strike for pris- nity ties are strengthened as much as
assassinated in San Quentin in Au- The clothing and shoes provided on reform. Organization of the strike tion services.
9. Pell grants must be reinstated in possible by reducing barriers to visits
gust 1971, and his name is joined by by the jail is often inadequate. We on the inside and out was spear- and communication between people
others — Jonathan Jackson, William have been provided with shoes of headed by inmates and Jailhouse all US states and territories.
inside and their friends & family.
Christmas, James McClain, WL Nolen, different sizes, shoes that do not fit, Lawyers Speak (JLS) and supported 10. The voting rights of all confined
Finally, Goodale speaks to CSC
and others. and we are not provided with winter by Incarcerated Workers Organizing citizens serving prison sentences,
employees, asking them to take on
In August 1978 in San Quentin, clothing like gloves that allow us to Committee (IWOC) and Free Alabama pretrial detainees, and so-called
a ‘culture of ongoing self reflection’,
activist Khatari Gaulden died after go outside. Movement (FAM). The strike was “ex-felons” must be counted. Rep- which he hopes will keep the work-
being refused adequate health care Wearing our own clothing helps sparked by the deaths of 7 prison- resentation is demanded. All voices place free from bullying, harassment
for an injury suffered under myste- prevent institutionalization, allows ers in April of this year during an count. and sexual violence. Part of this also
Sources: Bloodied bodies stacked in a prison yard:
rious circumstances. To honour his us to have appropriate clothing, and uprising in a South Carolina prison, a What happens when states slash prison spending means welcoming constructive, good-
name and to fight for prison justice, helps us feel like human beings. part of a growing trend of uprisings Steve Reilly, USA TODAY April 30, 2018 faith critiques as indispensable.
6 // NEWS ON THE BLOCK
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
'It's really limited my ability to feel': and effective programs at the appropriate “It really supports CSC’s views that positive on the job until the end of the year
Former inmate recalls time in solitary time," she said. contact with family and friends is really import-
confinement "There is a focus on preparing prisoners for ant to the successful reintegration of offend- By Robert Benzie, Toronto Star
reintegration into the prisoner population in ers,” he said. Ontario’s independent corrections guru How-
By Ariel Fournier, CBC News consideration of their specific needs that I hope In theory, this is good news, said Anne Cattral, ard Sapers is still on the job.
Gavin Annett spent months in an eight-by-10- will foster a change in the culture of correction- federal lead for the Mothers Offering Mutual While the terms of his employment with the
foot segregation cell at the Edmonton Institu- al staff to one that supports prisoners to do Support (MOMS), a support and advocacy new Progressive Conservative government
tion, with only a mail slot-sized window to view well, rather than one that is punitive." group for those with loved ones behind bars. changed in what he admitted was a “brutal”
out into the hallway. According to a 2017 Corrections Canada re- Cattral would like to see more information on sounding cabinet order in council, he is under
Sometimes, he said, he went for days without port, institutions in the Prairie region — which the program: how the CSC will ensure access, contract until the end of the year.
leaving his cell. stretches between Alberta and northwestern how it will prioritize contact and safeguard As reported by the Star on Tuesday, a flurry
During that time, his perception of reality Ontario — are holding more inmates in segre- virtual visits, even if there are technical issues. of Liberal appointees were defenestrated by
changed. After a while it became more difficult gation than any other region. “She’s right to worry,” Latimer said. “We’re the Tories at Premier Doug Ford’s first cabinet
to leave solitary confinement than to go back Bill C-83 could mean an entirely new ap- all right to worry because there are so many meeting on June 29.
in. proach for inmates who are kept apart from bureaucratic advantages to having visits over “The order in council, it sounds brutal, right
"You become so removed from people that the general population. the Internet rather than contact.” — ‘the order in council was revoked’ but the
being around people almost becomes unbear- Former prisoner 'a little skeptical' There is some reassurance in the mandate mechanism is that the term is still two years,”
able," said Annett, who was released from But Annett said he is concerned that even with letter sent to CSC’s newly-appointed commis- Sapers said Wednesday.
incarceration earlier this year. new laws, staff may not follow the rules. sioner, Anne Kelly, she said. That letter, from His work as Ontario’s $330,000-a-year inde-
The federal government is moving to end He said it was common for officers to let him the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, pendent adviser on correctional system reform
the practice of solitary confinement in federal out of his segregation cell for only half an hour was published Sept. 5 — the first time Latimer has led to improvements to jails, including the
prisons. per day, despite administrative segregation can recall such a letter being released publicly. curbing of segregation in provincial facilities.
Bill C-83, tabled on Oct. 16, would establish policies that require inmates be let out of their That alone is a good sign, she said, because Former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne ap-
penitentiary units — to be called Structured cell for a minimum of two hours each day. “it provides an opportunity for those of us on pointed him in 2016 to a two-year contract with
Intervention Units. The units would house in- "It's a step in the right direction," Annett said the outside to be vigilant and try to hold CSC to an option for a third year.
mates separately while still giving them access of the proposed changes to the rules around account.” “The idea of having an opportunity to review it
to rehabilitation, mental health care and other segregation. In the letter, Goodale highlights the role fami- after the end of 24 months was something that
programs. "We have the Canadian Charter that prohibits ly and community connection plays in ensuring both myself and the (previous) government
Under the new model, inmates who can't be torture or cruel and unusual punishment. What offenders are able to smoothly transition back wanted to do and the current government has
safely managed in the mainstream population happened to the existing laws and why weren't into society after their sentence is over. respected that. The third year optional was at
would receive interventions and programs some of these things followed? “I therefore encourage you to promote the my request and the government’s,” he said.
tailored to their needs. They would also be "In effect, if it's spray painting an 'X' on the development of these relationships by safely “I’m on the job until Dec. 31 and there will
allowed outside their cells for four hours sign that says 'segregation' and then writing minimizing barriers to visits and communica- be between now and then discussions about
each day, compared to two under the current in felt below it, 'structured intervention,' it tion, and exploring options for supervised use anything going forward. From my standpoint
administrative segregation model, and would might be a symbolic change, and I'm just a little of e-mail,” the letter reads. nothing’s changed.”
have access to two hours a day of "meaningful skeptical." “By providing ways of maintaining contact Sapers is currently completing a report on
human contact." with the outside world, offenders’ friends and institutional violence that will be delivered to
In July of this year, Annett filed a lawsuit Federal inmates are getting video visits, family can, in a sense, also be partners in effec- Community Safety and Correctional Services
against a group of corrections officers, seeking but advocates have concerns tive preparation for release.” Minister Michael Tibollo within the next few
$1 million in damages from the federal and months.
By Jane Gerster, Global News Why is the number of women in Cana-
provincial governments. In his statement of “I’m in the process of writing those recom-
Federal inmates across the country will soon da’s prisons increasing?
claim, he claims that he was held in segrega- mendations,” he said.
be able to connect with family and friends via
tion at the Edmonton Institution for arbitrary Upon taking office, the Tories, who have
video visitation. New report sheds light on the experiences of
reasons. pledged to cut $6 billion annually from the
Corrections Canada is in the process of imprisoned women across the country
The statement also claims officers in Ed- $150-billion provincial budget, moved quickly to
expanding a two-year-old pilot program to Melanie Woods, THIS
monton and the Bowden Institution, abused get rid of Liberal appointees serving in various
all facilities and has been notifying inmates For many female inmates in Canada’s prisons,
and humiliated him. He claims he was "pep- roles.
throughout the summer that they can apply for a routine trip to the gynecologist could mean
per-sprayed, hog-tied and beat up" by staff
and also suffered other abuses. None of the
virtual visits. being shackled to a bed. This is according to 4 things you should know about pot
allegations has been proven in court.
While that’s welcome news for some serving a 2016–17 investigative report from Cana- pardons, from a Windsor lawyer
sentences on opposite ends of the country da’s Office of the Correctional Investigator
In an emailed statement to CBC News, Cor- CBC News
from their family and friends, advocates are (OCI). About one-quarter of female maximum
rectional Service Canada said it could not offer A pot pardon isn't actually a pardon at all —
more hesitant to cheer. They worry the move security prisoners interviewed in the investiga-
information on an offender's case. rather, it's referred to as a "record suspension."
brings Corrections Canada (CSC) one step clos- tion reported being restrained during off-unit
In 2015, Annett pleaded guilty to cocaine pos- Tens of thousands of Canadians could soon
er to making all visits digital. movement, including health care appointments
session with intent to traffic and was sentenced be eligible for a pot pardon, but lawyers warn
“It’s very good, as long as it doesn’t affect and visiting hours with children. According to
to three years in prison. He moved between about limitations
the number of contact visits that the person is the report, male prisoners are not subject to
several Alberta prisons and remand centres Liberal government to waive fee, waiting time
allowed to have,” said Catherine Latimer, exec- the same movement restrictions. This is one of
during his sentence. for pot pardons
utive director of the John Howard Society. several alarming statistics related to Canada’s
In an interview with CBC News, he said he While the crime has been forgiven, the records
The pilot started two years ago at Dorchester justice system reported in the past year. While
was placed in segregation immediately after he are not wiped out. And they might turn up on
Penitentiary in New Brunswick, expanded to overall rates of adult incarceration declined
arrived at the maximum-security Edmonton In- certain types of background checks.
CSC’s 11 clustered institutions — those sepa- slightly in the past decade, rates of women and
stitution. He said he spent time in segregation That's according to lawyer Pat Ducharme,
rately housing multi-security level offenders Indigenous people in Canada’s prisons are on
two other times after being assaulted by other who spoke to Windsor Morning guest host Pe-
— and, finally, to two women-only institutions the rise. Yet the OCI report notes no increase in
inmates. Another time he was sent to segrega- ter Duck about what a pot pardon really means
earlier this year. Now, inmates at CSC’s other female criminality in Canada over that period.
tion after he assaulted an inmate. and why people who apply for one should be
29 institutions are being brought online. Here are the numbers:
In total, he estimated he spent about six aware that their past crimes could still follow
At the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince 30%
months in administrative segregation at the them in the future.
Albert, inmates were informed in August. One The approximate increase in the number of
Edmonton Institution — including a pair of two- 1. A pardon isn't actually a pardon, per se
man, who is serving an indefinite sentence at federally sentenced female inmates in the past
month stints. The legal term for a pardon is actually a "record
the institution but did not want to be identified decade.
"It's not that you want to be alone, but the suspension."
by name for safety reasons, said he’s hopeful 60%
longer that you spend in segregation, the more The change happened in 2012 after the
it’ll increase the number of visitors. The increase in the number of Indigenous
you don't feel that being with other people is federal government — led by former prime
“It’s nice to know it’s there if you need it,” he female inmates over the same period. The
OK," he said. minister Stephen Harper — modified the rules
said. greatest increase came in British Columbia.
"The paranoia is so [strong] that you don't for getting a pardon as part of its get-tough-on-
Although the visits will be via a web-based In 2016–17, 47 percent of women admitted to
trust people. You're almost imagining things. crime Bill C-10.
platform, the process is still similar to the one federal custody in B.C. were Indigenous—near-
Your dreams become so surreal, so you're "Record suspensions weren't nearly as good
for in-person visitors. People will still need to fill ly double the percentage 10 years ago.
thinking that if you get out of there you're in [after that] ... because it did not erase a con-
out the appropriate application forms and be 50%
trouble, or your safety is at risk." viction. It didn't guarantee entry to any other
approved, said Rob Campney, the deputy direc- Indigenous women represent 37 percent of
Annett said his time in segregation has made country. It just suspended it, kept it in abeyance
tor of preventative security and intelligence at all women behind bars, but they make up 50
him unemployable and left him with post-trau- and could be brought back at anytime at the
CSC’s national headquarters. percent of the maximum security population in
matic stress disorder​. government's will and could be handled exclu-
While every inmate can apply, he said, priority federal prisons. Ninety percent of the women
"It's really limited my ability to feel." sively by the parole board," said Ducharme.
will go to those whose visits are hampered by interviewed for the OCI investigation report-
During his time in solitary, he said, eating He said, before the changes is 2012, govern-
distance. That’s partly because the service will ed being segregated during their maximum
became a chore. Standing was uncomfortable. ment looked at pardons as acts of forgiveness
be limited to regular visiting hours and, at least security sentence, and 83 percent also reported
He was in physical pain. Annett could occasion- — and the crimes were also forgotten.
for now, there’s just one terminal per institu- having mental health problems. One region
ally request books from a library and he read "We'd put it away. It's like it didn't happen.
tion. noted that women in segregation are provided
the Bible sometimes, but mostly he just did They didn't give them out all that easily, but
“It’s really important for our offenders to earplugs to block out the screams of others in
nothing. when they did give them, it was meaningful."
have access to their friends and family in the segregation in the same wing.
"I zone out still today in the same way that A 2014 study cites more than 500,000 Cana-
community,” Campney said. “In some cases, 3
I zoned out in the segregation cell," Annett dians have a criminal record for having pot on
primarily based on distance, location, or the The number of recommendations presented
said. "My kids, say 'Dad, you're staring off into their person.
visitor’s inability to travel to the institution, it’s to the Canadian Senate at an open caucus
nowhere,' and that's where I am: I'm off in that 2. No such thing as an expunged record
not always possible for the inmate and his or this year to keep women out of prisons and
segregation cell." The average person will not be able to see find
her family to connect face to face.” successfully reintegrate offenders into commu-
Room for optimism your suspended record if you want to volunteer
Once approved, inmates will get roughly 50 nities.
Jen Metcalfe, executive director of Prisoners' somewhere or apply for a job.
minutes of monitored screen-to-screen com- 1. Strengthen community programs that
Legal Services with the West Coast Prison But that doesn't mean a record suspension
munication. They will have a monitor, camera alleviate poverty and prevent crime
Justice Society, said she is optimistic about the erases the fact someone committed a crime.
and headphones, but no keyboard, mouse, or 2. Reform sentencing, classification and
legislation if the structured intervention unit Rather, it keeps the record separate from
direct access to the computer’s hard drive. segregation
model proves to be more than another version other criminal records in the Canadian Police
Applications should take around six or seven 3. Make the prison system more transparent
of segregation. Information Centre (CPIC) database.
weeks to process, Campney said. Because the and accountable
Bill C-83 has "a new focus on ensuring that "There are ways to access it for certain people
visits are run using existing staff and existing
prisoners receive meaningful human contact
technology, it’s “very, very cost neutral.” Ontario’s corrections guru will remain that need to look at the background of some-
7 // NEWS ON THE BLOCK
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
one — particular professions," said Ducharme, another defense contractor, Raytheon." "When corrections tells me, 'We'd love for By Vicki Chartrand, The Conversation
3. Border problems can still arise After Trump ordered the launch of 59 Raythe- these individuals to be released, but there's In the wake of the acquittal of Gerald Stanley
Whether you're traveling to the U.S. by plane or on-manufactured Tomahawk missiles on Syria just no capacity,' I tell them, 'You create that in the death of Colten Boushie, there have
driving across the Ambassador Bridge, a record in April 2017, an attack supported by Prime capacity.'" been loud calls for reform to address Canada’s
suspension can still affect your admissibility Minister Justin Trudeau, the company's market Zinger believes older offenders who no blatant systemic racism in the criminal justice
into the United States. capitalization surged by more than $1 billion. longer pose a safety risk should serve the rest system.
One of the questions on the I-94W form — In her book Undoing Border Imperialism, of their sentences in a community setting. It's Boushie, 22, died after being shot by Stanley
which is used at land borders — asks if visitors author-activist Harsha Walia highlights that the significantly cheaper and a more compassion- in the back of the head as he sat in an SUV on a
have ever been arrested or convicted for an foreign policies of northern countries create ate route, he says, and it's a matter of CSC best farm near Biggar, Sask.
offence or crime involving "moral turpitude." pressures that lead to forced migration and allocating available resources. The Canadian justice system works against
It also asks about violations related to that militarized borders then further punish "Somebody who is palliative, who is terminal- Indigenous people at every level, from police
controlled substances. Ducharme said being migrants seeking safety from those situations. ly ill, who has severe mobility restrictions, you checks and arrests to bail denial and detention,
deceitful on that form is a major risk. Canada's policies do lead to forced migration, kind of have to scratch your head [and ask], sentencing miscarriages and disparities and
"If they have access to any records that they the Trudeau government's intention to widen 'What are they doing in a penitentiary?'" high incarceration rates.
know or can find out that you've had such a the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement In an email statement to Out in the Open, the These trends are also well-documented in
conviction or even been charged with that of- would mean that more asylum seekers would CSC said its framework to address the needs countries like the United States, Australia and
fence and you lie to them, the lie is an absolute be returned to the United States, and now this of older offenders is informed by consultations New Zealand. It is clear that the problem lies in
basis to exclude you from the country," he said. country's pension plan benefits from the incar- with experts in geriatrics, correctional health our justice systems.
4. Lawyer not essential when applying for a ceration of asylum seekers in for-profit prisons care and end-of-life care. That framework will Around the time that Canada started receding
suspended record in the U.S. be reviewed at the end of this fall. its formal “Indian assimilation” policies in the
Ducharme said he's received a number of calls Watchdog calls for 'compassionate' parole as 1950s, including the end of the residential
from people about getting a suspended record. 'There isn't anywhere to go': Ontario prison system adopts new assisted death policy school requirement, penitentiary and child wel-
He added hiring a lawyer isn't necessary when halfway house for aging inmates ad- For those requiring palliative care, the CSC fare systems started to quietly assume a new
trying to get one. dressing gap in prison system says it "aims to assist offenders in living their role in the lives of Indigenous people.
"We always tell the client it's something they remaining time in comfort (relieve suffering) In fact, prior to the 1960s, Indigenous people
1 in 4 federal inmates behind bars is aged 50 or only represented one to two per cent of the
can do easily themselves. But even with that, older, says Canada's correctional investigator and dignity."
they want some help, so we might have an Access to supports in prison and community federal prison population. The rates have con-
By Debbie Pacheco, CBC sistently increased every year since.
administrator in our office help them with the Cliff Strong still wears his clothes to bed — a Supports like a part-time personal support
form." worker, a dedicated chef, accessible wash- The Office of the Correctional Investigator
habit of having spent decades behind bars and reports the incarceration rate of Indigenous
He hopes the legalization of recreational never knowing who might be there when the rooms, an elevator and medical devices all exist
cannabis is an indicator of the federal Liberals at Haley House, but are not typical at other people is now at 26.4 per cent of the federal
cell doors open.
embracing forgiveness which was "not the case halfway houses, Morgan says. prison population, while they comprise only
He's been out on parole for nearly two years
for 13 years under the Harper regime. and currently lives at Haley House, a unique In prison, aids like Strong's motorized wheel- four per cent of the Canadian population.
"I'm optimistic that it will change the tide and halfway house in Peterborough, Ont., run by chair would be "very difficult to get," according Incidentally, the Canadian crime rate has fallen
we will get pardons back." the non-profit Peterborough Reintegration Ser- to Zinger. Older inmates often report a lack of in the last 20 years.
access to medical devices and pain medication, Placed in segregation
Canada Pension Plan invests millions vices and funded mainly by Correctional Service
he said. Not only are Indigenous people more likely to
in private prison corporations Canada (CSC).
After undergoing hip surgery while in prison, be imprisoned, but they are also more often
Haley House looks like your average bun-
By Brent Patterson, Rabble galow, except its residents are mainly senior Strong said he had a "long, long struggle" to subjected to some of the most restrictive levels
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board or palliative federal offenders on parole with get Tylenol 3 because similar medications have of punishment, including segregation, forced
holds $5.9 million of stock in two U.S.-based housing conditions. Some are terminally ill and been abused by some in the past. interventions, higher security classifications,
private prison corporations, Geo Group (for- near the end of life, others have chronic diseas- And he said he wasn't given the painkillers for involuntary transfers, physical restraints and
merly associated with Wackenhut Corrections es or trouble with mobility. as long as he felt he needed them. self-harm.
Corporation) and CoreCivic (formerly known as "The [staff] are compassionate," Strong told "Living between pain medication is a terrible Kinew James died of a heart attack after the
Corrections Corporation of America). Out in the Open. thing, you know. It's just so scruffy." emergency call button in her cell was routinely
The Crown corporation, which millions of "Anything that you may have as a problem, For its part, the CSC said "the process for ignored at the Saskatoon Regional Psychiatric
Canadians outside of Quebec pay into for their they're hands-on immediately. And just a managing pain within CSC is the same as in the Centre.
retirement income, holds about $1.7 million feeling of camaraderie, you know. That's very community" and an inmate's medical history is
Eddie Snowshoe committed suicide after 162
in shares in Tennessee-based CoreCivic and different from what I'm used to." first assessed.
days in solitary confinement at the Edmonton
about $4.2 million in shares in Florida-based In 1975, Strong was convicted of second-de- Inmates' needs are continually reviewed
and access to accommodations, like canes maximum security institution.
Geo Group. gree murder in a stabbing death and sentenced Renee Acoby accumulated an additional 21
Documented and The Guardian jointly report, to life in prison. He was paroled, but later sent or wheelchairs, are adopted as required, the
agency said. years of charges in prison, spent more than
"One of Canada's biggest pension investment back to prison after sexually assaulting two half of her time in segregation, and was eventu-
funds has increased holdings in two U.S. girls. 'They don't want to die alone'
Dan Haley — the namesake and founder of ally given a dangerous offender designation for
private companies that run American prisons All told, he spent about 36 years behind bars.
Haley House — is well-versed with the prison a series of prison hostage-takings. She is now
and incarcerate the majority of detained immi- "But it was my own fault," he said.
grants." system. effectively behind bars for life.
Now the 75-year-old uses a motorized wheel-
Think Progress has previously reported that chair. Due to Parkinson's, his left hand shakes a A community chaplain, he's made it his Addressing these deeply problematic prison
an average of 35,929 people per day were lot. He suffers from diabetes, oedema — which life's mission to help offenders; he started by realities is currently at the forefront of the
detained in immigration detention centres, with means his legs are badly swollen — and a bad offering Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to government of Canada’s criminal justice review,
73 per cent (26,240 people) held in facilities hip. prisoners in the Peterborough area. including two House of Commons studies and
operated by private prison corporations. But there are few places that can handle Haley says he's seen how hard it is to grow one by a Senate committee.
The private prisons that hold people arrested Strong's needs, which prisoner advocates say is old behind bars — let alone die there. In considering remedies, two important
for irregularly entering the United States are a problem. "Dying inside, and especially not getting the issues are at play.
closely tied with Trump's racist anti-migrant Elderly inmate's death highlights lack of pain medication.… You have this old man, Imprisoned more often
agenda. aging strategy in Canada's prisons curled up like a baby and crying, being in pain. First, Indigenous people are more often crimi-
In November 2016, Truthdig reported, "In- "[Haley House] is basically one of only two that And [he] just looks at me and says, 'You gotta nalized and imprisoned for acts that are linked
vestments in the prison company CoreCivic Co. I'm aware of [across Canada] that caters to this get me out of here.'" to poverty, lack of educational and employment
became 43 percent more valuable the day after inmate population. And, to me, it represents Over the years, while visiting prisons and opportunities, lifestyles of substance use,
Trump's election... The value of the correctional the future of corrections," said Ivan Zinger, Can- working with offenders on the outside, Haley mental health concerns and histories of sexual
services company Geo Group rose 21 percent." ada's correctional investigator. saw a need for a place that cares specifically for abuse, violence and trauma — in other words,
An August 2017 Truthdig article also noted, When corrections tells me, 'We'd love for elderly offenders and those nearing death. colonialism.
"CoreCivic and GEO Group ... both made large these individuals to be released, but there's "They just don't get the same treatment —
Second, prisons are characterized by au-
donations to the Trump campaign." just no capacity,' I tell them, 'You create that and I understand why. Narcotics? Prison? We
thoritarianism, power imbalances, restriction
The New York Times has done a documentary capacity.' get it," Haley said.
But that's where community partners like of movement and activities, isolation, lack of
video about these prisons and notes, "One According to the Office of the Correctional freedom of association and enforcement of
picture of private prisons captured in the video Investigator (OCI), one in four federal inmates Haley House come in, he said. The organization
understands there's "checks and balances" sometimes arbitrary and trivial demands. Pris-
includes barely edible food, indifferent health behind bars is 50 or older — which classifies on environments often reflect and even perpet-
care, guard brutality and assorted corner-cut- them as older offenders because serving time needed with offenders who are transitioning.
Haley sees his role as helping palliative uate the very trauma and violence experienced
ting measures." can add about 10 years to a chronological age.
The CPP Investment Board is a Crown corpo- offenders get ready to go "home." For him, that by Indigenous people.
In response to the number of aging offenders
ration independent from the federal govern- behind bars and on parole, the OCI and the means heaven or hell, "which has brought me The federal government would do well to
ment but accountable to it. The federal Minister Canadian Human Rights Commission are set into having all kinds of different discussion with consider community options.
of Finance, currently Bill Morneau, appoints in- to release a report later this fall on what they guys." According to the Parliamentary Budget
dividuals to its 12-member Board of Directors. call "the systemic discrimination of aging and For offenders on their deathbeds, he asks Officer, it costs upwards of $343,810 to incar-
A spokesperson for the pension plan says, elderly offenders." what they would say if their victim walked cerate one woman for a year and $223,687 to
"CPPIB's objective is to seek a maximum rate of 'There isn't anywhere to go' through the door right then. incarcerate a man. The community placement
return without undue risk of loss. This singular "The system is trying to play catch-up," said "And [that question] broke a lot of guys — big, option, on the other hand, is priced at $85,653
goal means CPPIB does not screen out indi- Jeff Morgan, Haley House's casework manager. tough guys that cried and turned around and per year per person, and parole costs as little
vidual investments based on social, religious, "Nobody stepped back and said, 'Hey, we got took responsibility for what they've done," he as $39,084.
economic or political criteria." these older guys, what are we going to do with said. There are already existing remedies in the
That approach has enabled this country's them? When they get sick, when they go out "Yeah, they've done terrible things," Haley Correctional and Conditional Release Act, Sec-
public pension plan to also invest in the and we still have to monitor them, where are said. "But they're dying — maybe with a heavy tions 81 and 84, that allow for agreements in
transnational mining corporation Goldcorp, we going to put them?' heart." the community where Indigenous and non-In-
the private, for-profit water company Anglian "You end up with guys that are sitting inside As for Strong, he, too, appreciates the power digenous prisoners can serve their sentence
Water, and the tar sands oil company Laricina [prison], that are granted parole — but they of mercy offered through Haley House. and parole in a supported way.
Energy Ltd. can't leave, because there isn't anywhere to "Grace is something that we often don't de-
If we want to alleviate the conditions that fos-
Documented and The Guardian add, "CPPIB go," said Morgan, a retired, 32-year veteran of serve, but which lends itself to us," he said. "It's
ter conflict and harm in the first place, we also
holds a $186m investment in ExxonMobil, a the Peterborough Police Service. a pretty nice thing, a bit of dignity."
need to ensure that basic national standards
$202m investment in the tobacco giant Philip It's unfair that an offender who is granted Broken system: Why is a quarter of and human rights are being met for Indigenous
Morris International, $18.7m in the defense parole has to stay in prison because no one in Canada’s prison population Indigenous?
contractor General Dynamics and $36.8m in the community can take them, Zinger says. Continued on page 8
8 // WRITINGS ON THE WALL
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
The prisoner's plague: The abhorrent curse of incarceration The high proportion of Indige-
nous prisoners
News on the Block continued
from page 7
people.
The private members’ Bill C-262,
which outlines the implementation
of the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous People, just
passed its second reading.
Approving this bill would ensure
some of the most basic rights for In-
digenous communities, including the
provision of clean water, electricity,
employment, education and ade-
quate social and health services.
In its calls to action, the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission of
Canada has recommended that the
federal, provincial and territorial
governments make a commitment
to eliminate the over-representation
of Indigenous people in custody over
the next decade.
If the federal government takes
up this call, prisons would no longer
be part of the solution. As noted by
Romeo Saganash, NDP’s critic for
Intergovernmental Indigenous Af-
fairs, “there will be no reconciliation
without justice.”
Prisoners in Canada de-
nied the right to vote in
some city, town elections
By Fiona Bennell
Who has been allowed to vote in
Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash Canada has changed significantly over
the course of the country’s history.
A series composed by a prisoner’s events. yet little to no penalization is served the drain as I write this. She has lost Whether that meant being poor, a
daughter. A young girl looks over at a swat by them. Following that thought, her job, and she has lost her dignity. woman, a person of colour, disabled,
team beginning to swarm in front of who really are the criminals here? By And with time CAS will swoop and or Indigenous, many different groups
A Plea for Help her house. Men in black uniforms are no means does this articulate that steal the kids rather than help this of people have had to fight for the
   A parent’s imprisonment is a pun- standing tall with their guns erected to the misdeeds of legitimate criminals desperate mother in need. My moth- right to vote. Prisoners are one of
those groups of people who have been
ishment not only served by the con- the sky. Their eyes of evil bulge through should bypass retribution; but it er has lost everything it took her engaged in a long fight to vote.
victed. As we reside outside of the their unbreakable masks of guilt, as does mean that the police should be whole life to get, and she will never Many changes to voting laws were
prison, freedom does not live along they watch the girl sprint from the under the same enforcement. Maybe get it back. She has blindly followed made possible by the establishment
with us. Freedom has a price-tag and doorstep into the darkness of the alley- then the egregious treatment prison- the path that led her nowhere, and of the Canadian Charter of Rights and
prerequisites we do not have, as we way. The child is retrieving her brothers ers receive will cease. it was the misguidance of the police Freedoms in 1982. The Charter serves
are deemed lower than ‘law-abiders’. from the park, as requested by her The next problem is a mental com- and the distrust of others that got as the backbone for many legal chal-
With the remorseless actions of the mother. This, for the young girl only ponent of struggling. To me, this is her there. More mayhem than relief lenges, as despite the Charter requir-
justice system, they show that as a seemed like bad timing; but it would truly the worst part of the whole mis- is felt mutually in our family when ing equality under the law, laws are not
family, we should be considered just end up being so much more. fortune. There are several reasons the sirens go off. The worst of it all is automatically updated to match the
as malicious for actions caused by Upon approaching the alleyway, why I think that this kind of exposure that no matter how hurt I was, there changing standards of the times. After
an individual parent. The inexcus- there are a few brief moments of chat we are inclined to see causes the was nothing I could change. I just had the establishment of the Charter pris-
able manipulation we’ve endured is between the officer in command and child to suffer. The other parent is to keep hearing my mother cry until oners began fighting for voting rights
because of the ignorance as well as the girl. The conversation ends abruptly alone, too. The other parent is afraid, CAS abducted me and revoked her in their provinces with varying degrees
of success. Prisoners' right to vote in
arrogance of the government. when the girl is asked for her name, as too. The other parent wants the custody. Her whereabouts now are federal and provincial elections was
It is safe to say our rights as human she denies the answer before saying thoughtless abuse of human rights to unknown. eventually gained through the pursuit
beings are being violated; and there her lawyer is not present; and she has end, too. The difference is that they After these issues have been of Sauvé v Canada, which challenged
must be an end to this. Extreme the right to remain silent. have the kids and the obligation to addressed, what connects them to the Canadian Elections Act. The suit
consequentiality is a must for it will And instead of answering in a civil take care of them, alone. They have the struggle of a young adult? It’s began in 1992, by 1993 the provisions
repeat itself throughout history if manner the officer yells “Tell me your to work twice as hard to prevent affecting our minds, the thoughts we that denied prisoners serving less than
not. Though, as the police play the f__ing name or you’re coming with me!” negligence to the children or eviction have and it will impact the decisions 2 years voting rights was taken out. It
majority of the shamefulness this life The girl calmly responds the same; from the home. Not to mention that we make. We also are forced through took another 10 years of appeals for
leads, there are other factors that before being physically assaulted by the Child Protection Services are nothing life without a role-model or parental prisoners with longer sentences to be
make this life just as miserable as officer in command. The neighbors that but a profitable business (being in guidance. We can’t relate to other able to vote in federal and provincial
you may have thought. This series circle the street are commentating and the system I would know), so their people! Holidays are meaningless be- elections.
is intended to explain the struggles viewing; as the child is swung up into help is minimal or insufficient. They cause it’s about ‘spending time with Despite Canadian prisoners having
of a young adult’s life with a parent the air by a fist that engages the child’s are non-governmental but they make family’; especially Christmas. As soon the right to vote federally and pro-
vincially, voting is not easily accessi-
inside. clothing forcibly. me question otherwise. Anyway, they as you realize how much stress it ble to people inside. Either through
A dad of a dysfunctional family is Not satisfied by the answer given, the are truly on their own to take care of causes it’s no longer fun to celebrate. negligence or malice, prisoners have
abducted unknowingly by police in officer drags the child into the middle those kids, and I’ll tell you that it’s the You constantly have to ask your- not always been given the necessary
the late summer months of 2009. of the street where the police car is most difficult job, being and watching self, “What would my parent do?” in voting information or ballets on time
His common law wife reports, “That stagnant but running. He is forcibly a single parent. times of trouble. You are alone and for elections. Processes around voting
he had gone out, and simply never attempting to abduct the girl, alike her Have you ever heard your moth- feel helpless more times than most. are not well defined or standardized
returned home”. Hamilton news dad; inhumanely. She cries as her red er cry? Have you ever heard your You don’t want to open their letters across institutions. In my own research
station CHCH NEWS, later reports that hands suffocated between his and a father mutter that he hopes he dies because all it does is make you cry… (as someone on the outside), looking
he, who’s Hamilton’s most noto- pair of handcuffs starts to ache. She under his breath? Do you watch your But how else will you know anything for guidance on these processes,
rious criminal had been acquired just wants the suffering and confusion mother day-by-day become anti-so- about them, besides searching them official information simply wasn’t easily
allegedly for murder. When article to end. He repeats his question again, cial with her children? Does your up on the web? You feel like you are available.
titled: “Sad end to missing person’s before threatening again to throw the father lock himself up in his bedroom watched, and depending who’s been On a municipal (city/town) level, vot-
ing rights become a little more compli-
case” becomes public in October of child into the car. She again gives him all day every day, after losing his job sent to the bin – you will be. You cated, and even more time consuming
2010; (published by CHCHNEWS.CA), it the same answer now apologetically. from being blackmailed by the po- don’t feel safe when they are gone. to find information on. Municipal laws
answers the question his family has She is screeching in agony and humili- lice? If so, looks like you’re watching You miss and love them wholeheart- generally defer to provincial/territorial
been wondering for 14 insufferable ation as everyone around her watches your parent suffer. Congratulations! edly despite what hell this is putting governments, so every province/ter-
months. Now, the mother of his with hideous smiles carved onto their There’s absolutely nothing you can you through. You ask yourself con- ritory has its own municipal elections
three young children will watch their faces like jack-o-lanterns. Finally, after do about that but watch them drown stantly: “Why am I being punished for laws. I took the time to investigate the
children grow without him. However screaming for so long, her mother runs themselves in their own sadness. You being born?” municipal election acts, and for the
the brunt of the storm has yet to out of the house to intervene. must feel like absolute feculence, and The hurt and the confusion don’t most part they are wordy and non-spe-
come. These indecencies become grossly it’s all thanks to the belittlement that end there. It doesn’t only happen at cific towards whether prisoners can
A life lived with an alleged crim- apparent when police officers are we receive from the enforcement home either, it happens wherever we vote. There are exceptions, such as
inal is never uneventful to say the physically abusing children, while of justice. It truly has nothing to do go. It pains us immensely the longer Ontario, Manitoba, and BC. To try and
least. Every day there’s something verbally harassing them for informa- with the criminal unless the crime they’re away from us. Please un- get more information I called up the
new revolving around the same old tion they have the right to keep to was dealt to a family member of derstand where we’re coming from capital city of each province/territory to
see if they knew the laws and proce-
problem; but the issue that grinds themselves when a lawyer is not their own. Once extracted that family when we say that our hearts are dures around if prisoners could vote.
the teeth of many is the abuse of au- present. should be left alone. Unless foul play beyond mending. Even if you hate Truthfully, this was a very frustrating
thority in the legality system. Having This scenario presents exactly why is within licit grounds, they should them, there is still a piece of you that experience. I was generally transferred
a sense of authority and abusing it we are hesitant to open our doors not be attacked. is imprisoned. Give that a thought. to multiple lines and ended up leaving
are two different things, so take note. and answer our phones! Because of the unholy manipula- a lot of messages that may or may not
An example of brutality is present- The behavior shown by the justice tion; my mother has lost her mind, P.s I love you Dad
ed below which is based on true system is absolutely unacceptable, and her well-being is gargling down --- continued on page 9
9 // WRITINGS ON THE WALL
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
Concrete Blossoms: a column for writers who the disappointment of every single one of control prisoners by deploying pepper spray, treated like a Canadian, in the way the Charter
self-identify as women, genderqueer and non-bi- my straight male friends, I had no interest in getting them to the ground and handcuffing claims I should be treated.
nary becoming “gay for the stay”. Sorry guys! Keep them. So, why did a gang of officers proceed One thing I am unable to wrap my head
dreamin’. to repeatedly smash my face against the floor, around is that the majority of society insists
The Only Skill You Need As long as everyone follows those four
aforementioned rules, they won’t have
spray two cans of gas down my throat, wrap a
spit mask around my mouth, strangle me with
on believing that CSC employees are incapa-
ble of breaking the law. Well, doesn’t society
to Survive Prison problems. I didn’t need to put on some act
and pretend that I was some ruthless hardo
their hands, stomp on my ribs and attempt to
break my fingers and ankles?
watch the news or read the newspapers? Police
officers are murdering people of all ages across
By Emily O’Brien criminal, because I wasn’t. I didn’t care much The protocol for professionalism isn’t being North America, as well as using excessive force
When I told people I would be going to for the jail drama, I cared about my own goals, enforced at all in the penitentiaries across Can- on individuals who aren’t acting in a way where
prison, they were flabbergasted. They were and I cared about the girls that I had gotten ada. I have been to five different maximum-se- restraint is necessary. If police officers have
also worried. Very worried. In fact, I think they close with. I had nothing to prove to the other curity prisons in the past 12 years. Some are the propensity to commit such brutal acts of
were more worried than I was. Upon them inmates. I had things to prove to the Parole worse than others, but regardless they are all violence out in the open, just imagine what cor-
hearing the news, I usually received one of Board, my family, and myself. That was it. torture chambers. I am currently in Millhaven rectional officers are capable of getting away
the following (slightly predictable) concerns: Those were my main points of focus, so I Institution where the Union is trying to ban us with behind big fucking walls.
“So you must be like so scared!” adapted my behaviours to align with reaching Indigenous offenders from smudging, which As far as I’m concerned, the Correctional
“Eeek! What if you get beat up!” those goals. People often confuse adapting violates Section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter Service of Canada is nothing but a powerful
“So, do you like, know how to fight?” with fitting in and doing what everyone else is of Rights and Freedoms. What does Truth and gang hiding behind a flawed law and a corrupt
Contrary to what many people believe, you doing. That’s not adapting, that’s copying, and Reconciliation really mean when Canadians Constitution. If this country truly believes in
don’t need to be a “fighter” to survive prison. they are two very different things. who work for the Government are still partici- justice, then prisoners should be receiving it
Did it cross my mind? Sure it did. But even Had I wanted to get involved with the more pating in assimilation? as well, because the violation of our justice not
then I wasn’t scared. It became very clear to reckless activities in the prison sub-culture, only causes us to suffer, it also subjects our
me that the majority of people are incredibly I’ve seen prisoners of all sorts of backgrounds
I could have, but I didn’t want to. This was suffer when they shouldn’t be suffering. I know loved ones to a degree of suffering when they
influenced by the media and other sources definitely not a permanent place for me, haven’t done anything wrong.
of entertainment about what really goes on an African man who was told by an officer that
but whether I liked it or not it was my place the only job he’d get when he is released is
in prison. Going in, I prepared for just about for ten months. That’s it. No more, no less
anything because I was also one of those
people. I took self-defence lessons. I became
(Okay well maybe slightly more because God
knows when space will become available at
working in a cornfield.
I was in segregation with a Scottish man who Prisoner voting rights
friends with a former inmate who gave me the halfway house, no joke). I was offered cig- cut his wrists and when the officers did their cont'd from pg 8
the run down on the things I needed to know arettes and pills more than once, but turned hourly round they just laughed at him and
walked away. get returned. Only some of the people I was
- what to say, what to do, and how to act. I them down. I did not want them, and I wasn’t able to talk to know the answer to the question
knew it was going to be a challenge regard- tempted whatsoever. I knew turning down I had a native friend from the Tsimshian Na-
tion who died in prison because the institution- of how prisoners are given access to the voting
less, but I welcomed it. If there was violence such “normal” jail activities made me stand procedure.
there was violence, and I would have to try out, but I didn’t care. This display of not giving al physician refused to change his medication
when he was complaining it wasn’t working. My Finding information on essential services
my best to avoid it in any way possible. If I a fuck what people thought about me com- shouldn’t be this hard for anyone, including
had to fight, I knew I was feisty enough to de- bined with the fact that I wasn’t trying to be friend lost his life due to a civilian’s ignorance.
Any one of us can be next. Is that really what prisoners. I have the benefit of full internet
fend myself, but I would not consider myself someone I wasn’t allowed me to gain respect and phone access and I still struggle to find
physically aggressive. As I am nearing my day on the compound. People trusted me because we deserve?
I personally believe that CSC does not expect this information. The limitations to prisoner
parole date, I can safely say that although I I never inflated who I was, and everything information access could make finding out
witnessed many stereotypical prison culture I said about myself I could back up (or was us to succeed, but I find it ironic and extreme- about these processes virtually impossible. Not
behaviours, you by no means have to be backed up by Google, when people inevitably ly frustrating how we are required to take being allowed to vote, having to jump through
subject to it. The only skill you need to survive Googled me, that’s just what people do here). responsibility for our actions when CSC doesn’t a thousand hoops to vote, or not having access
in prison is the capacity to adapt. If you can I spent most of my time in the library or hold themselves to the same standards. When to information on voting municipally is a
adapt, you will be jussst fine. building my business or exercising. Most peo- we are mistreated by officers, or any other em- suppression of prisoners’ votes. These issues
By definition, to adapt means to, “put ple were excited for me and supported it, but ployee, there is no way to prove that they are mirror voter suppression in other areas of Can-
oneself in harmony with changed circum- there were some disgruntled by it because under violation of legislation. So, if we choose ada and the United States; while people may
stances” (Websters, 1988). In other words, they didn’t understand how I could be getting to go the route of utilizing the Complaint and have the right to vote, through district gerry-
you take what you have and make it work so much accomplished and they grumbled at Grievance process our complaints usually get mandering (ie manipulation of the boundaries
for you, not against you. Lucky for me, when the fact that I managed to be cheerful most of denied. Also, once we file a complaint against of an electoral constituency to favor one party
it came time for me to turn myself in, I had the time. Because I was a seasoned veteran at an employee they are notified by the Grievance or class), voter ID laws, mail voting and proxy
already spent a lot of my adult life adapting. adapting, using what I had to make my time Coordinator, which then leads to us receiving policies, people’s votes are being purposefully
Whenever I would go to a new school, I would go as productively as possible wasn’t as big negative consequences by that particular staff suppressed.
adapt. Whenever I would move to a new city, of a challenge for me as most people would member, as well as their colleagues. Prisoners still have a stake in municipal
I would adapt. Whenever I would start a new expect. I’ve always had a knack for building For example, if I chose to file a complaint politics just as much as provincial or federal.
job or quit one, I would adapt. Whenever I things out of nothing and improvising when I against the Visits and Correspondence Depart- How programs and services are distributed
would begin any new kind of relationship, had to. Other inmates have also been helpful ment my mail and visits would be at risk, even and provided is impacted by municipal politics.
I would adapt. My zest for life and endless in sharing their jail survival ‘hacks’. I have al- though CSC employees are supposed to en- Things like policing, housing, municipal taxes,
desire to explore the different parts of the ways asked for help when I needed it. I never courage offenders to maintain healthy, positive transportation, and education are all largely
world forced me to adapt to wherever I went. felt ashamed to be honest with people when community support. controlled by municipalities. The vast majority
When I moved to Indonesia and lived with a I was struggling with something. I got to know On top of that, in regards to CSC employees of prisoners will get out and be impacted by the
Muslim host family for 8 weeks, I definitely the various mental health resources on com- retaliating against a prisoner for filing a com- choices made by governments while inside and
had to adapt because it was a different way pound to help with the transition. If my shoe plaint, legislation states; should continue to have a choice in how their
of life than what I was used to, but I abso- broke, I would fix it. If I needed to sleep better, CCRA, Section 91: Every offender shall have city or township is run.
lutely loved it. I saw prison as just another I would make myself a sleeping mask. Even complete access to the offender grievance Provincial and territorial municipalities and
life event that required me to adapt. Prison the most ridiculous rules and regulations I procedure without negative consequences. prisoner voting rights:
is like its own country, with its own citizens, learned to adapt to over time. You get used to Canadian Human Rights, Section 14.1: It is Alberta: Prisoners who haven’t been sen-
laws, and languages. Once I familiarized the glacial pace of just about everything. You discriminatory practice for a person against tenced, or who have been sentenced less
myself with the institutional policies and the get used to the plastic crunchy mattresses, the whom a complaint has been filed under Part than 6 months retain the right to vote. Other
infamous ‘Con Code’, it was relatively easy to flashlights shining in your eyeballs throughout 3, or any person acting on their behalf, to prisoners do not.
adapt. I observed four major (yet very simple) the night, the denied visits, the incomplete retaliate or threaten retaliation against the British Columbia: Prisoners here have the
rules to abide by to avoid getting into any paperwork, missing mail, the high-priced individual who filed the complaint or the right to vote from the district they lived in previ-
possible altercations: #1) Don’t rat, #2) Don’t phone calls, and the lack of structured days. It alleged victim. ous to incarceration (in BC) or where a spouse,
steal #3) Don’t get involved in other people’s makes it easier to adapt if you keep reminding Canadian Human Rights, Section 59: No per- parent or dependent resides.
relationships, #4) don’t talk shit, period. To yourself that this is not permanent. son shall threaten, intimidate, or discrim- Manitoba: Prisoners have the right to vote if
me, those were easy. I didn’t do that anyways. This is not your home. This should be no inate against an individual because that they were a resident in MB before incarcer-
It was common sense. I came in with the goal one’s home. It’s just a temporary stop, so ation, otherwise they vote in the district the
of getting out, not getting involved. Much to individual has made a complaint or given
don’t get too comfortable. evidence or assisted in any way in respect of prison is in.
the initiation or prosecution of a complaint Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Sas-

Dehumanization Over Rehabilitation or other proceedings under this Part, or
because that individual purposed to do so.
CCRA, Section 69: No person shall adminis-
katchewan: You must be a resident of either
of these provinces, but the voting laws are
unclear as to whether prisoners can vote here
By Nolan R. Turcotte as the Commissioner’s Directives, which they ter, instigate, consent to or acquiesce in any or not.
It is very easy for society to look at prisoners continuously get away with. cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or Nova Scotia and Quebec: We were not able to
with disgust and feel as if we are getting exactly CSC staff are supposed to be establishing punishment of an offender. reach a representative who could explain the
what we deserve. Due to society overdosing on constructive relationships with offenders to How can CSC employees be considered voting laws, and those that were available on-
ignorance they have proven how hypocritical encourage our successful reintegration into the law-abiding citizens when they deliberately line were very unclear and difficult to interpret.
they truly are. They view us as vicious individ- community by demonstrating honesty, fairness disobey the laws that are put in place for them North West Territories: Gaining residency
uals who are incapable of being compassion- and integrity. Staff members are obligated to to follow? To me it seems that when these here takes 12 months and the laws are unclear
ate, when in reality they refuse to offer any promote a safe and secure workplace, free of average individuals put on their uniforms they as to whether prisoners can vote or not
compassion to us. I agree that if any member mistreatment, harassment and discrimination, teleport to a world where they become the Nunavut: a representative told us that voting
of humanity breaks the law they should receive and respect our cultural, racial, religious and Justice league and we are the Super Villains. for prisoners can happen through mail-in
a proper punishment, but it should never cross ethnic background, as well as our civil and legal They completely forget that they, along with ballot.
over into the category of “Cruel and Unusual”. rights. An employee is considered to have com- Ontario: Prisoners who have been sentenced
ourselves, are human beings. Therefore, they do not have the right to vote in municipal
We, the incarcerated population, are sons, mitted an infraction if they maltreat, humiliate, are in violation of Section 15 of the Canadian
daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and harass, discriminate and/or is abusive, by word elections, but those who are on remand or
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states, detention do retain the right. However, the pro-
sisters. or action, to an offender or our friends and “Every individual is equal before and under
Ultimately, we are human beings, but un- relatives, also if they fail to report situations of cess is extremely difficult, and involves having
the law and has the right to the equal pro- someone from the outside requesting a ballot
fortunately once we become prisoners that mistreatment, harassment and/or discrimina- tection and equal benefit of the law without
somehow seems to be forgotten. We have tion of offenders by employees. at city hall, bringing in a ballot on election day,
discrimination and, in particular, without which you fill out, and they then must go to city
been handed down our sentences from judges, Everything they are forbidden to do is occur- discrimination based on race, national or
which is considered to be the appropriate pun- ring on a daily basis, whether you believe it or hall to submit it.
ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or Prince Edward Island: If you are from one of
ishment for the crimes we’ve committed, but not, which causes prison to be an extremely mental or physical disability.”
the punishment doesn’t stop there. It contin- negative and polluted environment. We are the four major municipalities in PEI, then you
I, along with many other prisoners, do not feel have the right to vote via mail in ballot.
ues throughout the duration of our sentences constantly being belittled and antagonized to like we are receiving the equal protection we
in the most inhumane ways possible. The the point where it has become mentally, emo- Yukon: Prisoners from Yukon do not have the
have a legal entitlement to, due to the injus- right to vote in municipal elections
Correctional Service of Canada is expected to tionally and spiritually torturous. tices we suffer from by the hands of our fellow
aid us prisoners in achieving rehabilitation, but When it ends up getting physical between Please note: these voting rights involve municipal
Canadians. In all honesty although I was born elections. All prisoners retain the right to vote in
truthfully they are doing the exact opposite. In officers and prisoners the use of force always here, I can’t really consider myself a citizen of
doing so, they are violating legislation, as well becomes excessive. The officers are trained to provincial and federal elections, so please exercise
this country because I have never truly been that right if you so choose!
10 // WRITINGS ON THE WALL
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018

Be a True Revolutionary - Become the Change Stop Whining and Vote
By Mark Zammit
Ok, I usually write and tear a strip out of
CSC but now I am here to lay into my fellow
cons. New and old school alike. Stop fucking
crying and whining, get off your asses and
vote when it’s time to vote.
In 21 years of federal time I have heard “My
vote won’t make a difference”, “I can’t save
the world”, or “What’s my vote gonna do?”
I’ll tell you, if 10-20 people from each joint in
Canada came up with such lame excuses as
that, that’ll be a number of now voters that
I’d rather not discuss. But I’ll tell you about
something, “that final number most definitely
would affect a vote, and most likely not in our
favour.”
In 2008, we lost our right to smoke, and we
took it dry. In 2016, the new dog-food-esque
Photo by Daniel Jensen on Unsplash National Menu came into play, once again,
we took it dry. 2017, the pathetic across the
By Nick Paccione about it. Many times did I sobbingly break & rewarding; taking physical care of yourself; board National Purchasing catalog, Guess
down and vow to change only to rapidly sink educating yourself; nurturing positive rela- what? Dry! They took our incentive pay, our
Deep down inside we all wish for a kinder back into my destructive & self-defeating ways. tionships; getting involved with outside orgs & drives, charge us rent and double on the
and more caring world in which to live. Such a It was as if I had no free will of my own, no groups, which can make you feel more useful & phone service… DRY, DRY, DRY. When does
world, I contend, would require alternatives to power whatsoever to control my own destiny. connected and even help you to develop posi- it stop? What are we waiting for? When they
violent & dehumanizing “correctional” centres It was thus out of sheer exhaustion and utter tive contacts and expand your support network take that right form us as well. Let me just
that fail miserably to “correct,” that provide despair that in November of 2016 I turned to - I mean, the list is endless. At bottom, it’s all voice this; “If you don’t vote, you don’t have
no remedy for victims of harm, and that do Buddhism for help. In reading about Buddhism, about nurturing your body, mind, & spirit--and the right to bitch and complain.”
nothing to address the conditions that cause I came to understand that it was about essen- by “spirit,” or what Buddhists call “Buddha The Conservative government took a lot
violence and social harm. It requires, too, that tially one thing - suffering and its cessation. nature,” I mean nothing other than your innate from us as convicts and they also took a lot
we challenge the structures of oppression This really hit home with me. I had also heard potential for love, connection, and freedom. from the poor, and I’m saying, is we’ve got to
(capitalism, patriarchy, racism, the punitive and read many accounts about how mind- Hence the importance of incorporating stand together, stand strong and most of all
penal system...) that serve to both protect the fulness meditation, a central Buddhist prac- spirituality into your life. Any spiritual path is “VOTE”. We are only as strong as our weakest
powerful and the privileged and punish the tice, had in and of itself helped to transform as valid as any other if it genuinely helps to link, and if our weakest link is a very large
very scapegoats they help to create in the first people’s minds and dramatically improve their nurture the spirit. Zakaria Amara, a fellow Cell group, then we will lose. The Liberal govern-
place, and that we replace these with genuinely lives. I was sold. Count contributor, has a different spiritual path ment is far from perfect, but they are what as
democratic policies and practices governed With nothing to lose, l decided to give Bud- from mine: God is central to his; not to mine. convicts or ex-convicts we need to be treated
by values like fairness, equality, and caring. dhism & mindfulness meditation an earnest Yet, Zakaria, through his articles, has inspired and live as humans.
A better world, then, requires revolutionary shot. Well, almost two years have since passed me and helped to nurture my spirit in a big With Harper in office for the 9 years that he
change. But here’s the thing: such change will and, oh, the difference it’s made! To quote way. (Thank you, brother.) Respecting other was running the show, all of us and our fam-
never come about unless we fully own up to from a previous article of mine on mindful- spiritual paths and being open to learning from ilies suffered. From smoking to food drives,
the harms that we’ve created and become ness meditation (Cell Count, Spring 2017), “at them is so important, for in the end it’s not so right up to minimum/maximum sentencing
ourselves the kind of change we want. Revolu- a very subtle level I can feel the entire pattern much about the path as it is about the spirit. So and the God awful Dangerous Offender Des-
tionary change, in other words, must begin with of my life changing, with negativities gradually nurture your spirit - it could be the best thing ignation that is being handed out like bread
each & every one of us. dissolving, feel calmer, lighter, am more patient you do for yourself. at a drop-in centre. As cons, ex-cons and low
I myself am a recovering sex addict serving and good-humoured, more sensitive to the And if you want further to increase signifi- income families we only have ourselves to
my 20th straight year of an indeterminate sen- needs and suffering of others, and...more in cantly your chances at success, be careful how keep those ways out of the system, or should
tence. Sex addiction, like any serious addiction, control of myself - of my actions, my urges, you respond to things: you can’t always control keep from worsening what the PC party has
can be devastating. By 13, I was already using and even my thoughts. You might say that events, but you can learn to control how you already done.
sexual arousal like a drug to numb all kinds of mindfulness meditation has allowed me to tap respond to any given event. For example, My partner is a victim of the dreaded D.O.
unpleasant emotions and to “escape” from real- into a wellspring of free will and to reclaim my you can respond to an abusive cell search by designation. With only 17 convictions, 15 of
ity. By 14, I was selling myself just to finance my power...” All of this is even truer today than it violently flipping out or by taking a few deep them property crime and two a schedule one,
addiction - i.e., to pay for porn, sex literature, was then. To be sure, things aren’t perfect and breaths and then with a cooler head consider- she should not be a D.O. but with the bullshit
phone sex, peep shows, sex workers, etc. I I’ve still a long way to go, but compared to how ing your options in dealing with the situation that stands for justice these days she and sev-
knew even then that I had a serious problem things were, it truly is day and night! without risking everything you’ve worked for. eral others like her may never see the other
and that I was way too obsessed with women And things only continue to get better. I’ve Two different responses with two dramatically side of the wall. I for one cannot fathom that,
and sex, but I was too ashamed and too afraid recently completed the ICPM High-Intensi- different outcomes. Controlling your response, nor find it feasible.
to talk to anyone about it. So I remained silent, ty program with an almost embarrassingly then, is crucial. I can ask, I can beg, I can bitch and I can
increasingly isolated myself, and turned ever positive final report to show for it, and, after This is where mindfulness meditation can be hope but I cannot force everyone to use their
more towards sexual arousal to cope. having spent the last 17 years in this Port-Cart- very useful. First, what is mindfulness? Simply, God given right to vote, you guys gotta do
I would come to subordinate just about every- ier “max,” I am finally being recommended for it’s intentionally living with awareness in the that yourselves. So if anyone reading this
thing (school, friends, family, self-respect…) a transfer to a “medium,” scheduled for early present moment without judging it or blind- knows someone or lives with someone that
to procuring and maintaining a sexual high, next year. Oh, and get this: I, the once dreaded ly reacting to it. Ideally, mindfulness should doesn’t vote, step up, explain to them what’s
behaving in increasingly selfish & dangerous and “untreatable” dangerous offender, have be done throughout the day. Typically, it’s on the table to lose, teach them that not
ways and creating ever more suffering in the just been asked to speak about positive change developed through formal meditative practice everyone has a release date and we need to
process. in front of a group of university students visit- by assuming any seated posture with the back be there for one another. Nothing changes if
My first stint inside, a 7-year term, wouldn’t ing next month. Me! Who would’ve thunk it. straight and bringing all the attention to the nothing changes. RIGHT TO VOTE…
help. In fact, I would end up leaving prison at Concomitant with this positive turn-around rhythm of the breath without controlling it but
my warrant expiry even more desperate than has been a dramatic shift in my sense of per- instead just observing it as it is. Sensations,
when I had entered. Six months later, I would sonal identity, which though once floating on emotions, thoughts - these will continually arise
re­offend and subsequently be designated a the flotsam of a shattered self is now securely and pass, just as everything does. The key is
“dangerous offender” (D.O.). anchored in a cemented conviction in my own not to cling to or to reject them, but instead to
Inside, my condition would only worsen, with potential for recovery and positive change. calmly and momentarily observe them, always
my thoughts becoming increasingly dark & Of course, with personal positive change returning the attention to the rhythm of the
violent. I was haunted by and would come to comes personal social change, the two of which breath.
believe the words of the Crown-aligned psychi- are inseparably linked & mutually reinforc- Training the mind is a little like training a pup-
atrist at my D.O. trial, who declared that in his ing. In fact, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a py to sit: Every time it wanders, you gently bring
30 years of practice he had never met anyone Buddhist, it’s that we’re all interconnected & it back... The mind, like the puppy, eventually
more potentially dangerous than I, and that I interdependent, and that my own happiness & gets the point and learns to do your bidding,
was, to use his word, “untreatable.” suffering is thus inseparably tied to the happi- rather than the other way around. Every mo-
I eventually developed a warped sense of ness & suffering of others - all others, regard- ment of mindful awareness has a strong impact
pride in and would wrap my entire identity less of creed, colour, gender, sexual preference, on the harmful reactive tendencies accumu-
around my being an untreatable and particu- and all other superficial & ultimately irrelevant lated in the unconscious, so the more you
larly dangerous “dangerous offender.” Indeed, distinctions. practice mindfulness, the more will you think
I derived so much validation from this identity This is why I now firmly align myself with the & act in ways that are positive for yourself and
that I intentionally began to behave in ways revolutionary but non-violent social activist for others, and the freer and more in charge of
to defend & reinforce it. The more fear I could camp, and why too I think that kindness & your life will you become.
provoke, the better. respect towards others, including towards Is positive change easy? Hell, no. In fact, it’s
As I continued to create and to experience those we might dislike or be fiercely at odds probably the toughest thing you’ll ever do. But
much suffering, I would come increasingly to with, is always and absolutely essential if we’re it’s also the most radical thing you’ll ever do, for
feel as if I were being torn apart from the inside to move in a positive direction, both personally in rebelling against your mind’s long-held de-
by two seemingly opposite Nicks - a sensitive & socially. structive habits, you’re practicing what former
& tender-hearted “good” Nick with an ear Of course, the process of positive change addict and punk-rock nihilist-turned-Buddhist
very finely attuned to what the poet William does not come with any guarantee of success, Noah Levine calls “cognitive disobedience,”
Wordsworth described as “the still, sad music but there are all kinds of things you can do which represents the highest and most noble
of humanity,” and a depraved & coldly-calculat- to increase your chances at success, such as form of revolution - the inner revolution.
ing “bad” Nick given to dark & evil thoughts and taking responsibility for past actions; address- So if you really want positive change in your
passions. It became almost more than I could ing risk factors & psychological/emotional life and in the world as a whole, then be a true
bare. issues with honesty; examining your lifestyle revolutionary and become the change. You can
Sadly, I felt utterly helpless to do anything and exploring ways to make it more positive do it!
11 // WRITINGS ON THE WALL
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
Beginning of of drawing and painting. In 2005,
myself and another inmate had an
the end: tattoo interview from a representative of
Ottawa art gallery. This interview was
pilot program for the possibility of displaying our
artwork. I do not present myself well
Continued from cover story on in interviews when under stress nor
tattooing inside did I take my best work with me. Fact
doing my tattoos because I seen my is I was not interested in showing my
work in a gallery at the time.
body as a book that needed its pages As time went on, other opportu-
filled, read and understand. nities arose for me to showcase my
As time progressed, I learned to work. My art was published over 65
build a tattoo gun out of add parts, times. The publications ranged from
sharpen needles from guitar strings, covers of books, magazines and
and make ink by burning paper. As greeting cards. My art was placed in
time went on, I got a source for new calendars and I was asked to create
bottles of real ink regularly. The posters for health-related issues. In
rules of the institution did not permit 2011, I was approached by Kings-
tattooing and I learned quickly that ton museum to display some of my
if I did tattoos, I was going to be art, this lead to other galleries and
centered out for doing them. I was museum showings across Ontario
branching out into other provinces.
charged and fined many times, had I’ve even done work creating logos
drawings confiscated, even lost for a concert promoter and other
personal property from searches the groups. However, the work I most en-
guards conducted of my cell. Now it joyed being involved with is the work
became even more important to me I did for the following issues to raise
to have my tattoos. I saw them as a funds or awareness for HIV/AIDS,
possession that NO ONE could take HepC, breast cancer, prostate cancer,
away from me, unlike all my other suicide and depression as well as the
belongings. treas4justice campaign for Missing
With the prohibition on tattooing and Murdered Indigenous Women
in prison, I had to work in unsanitary and Children.
conditions. Hiding my equipment ev- Please keep in mind, prison is not
ery hour when the guards would do set up for someone to succeed in
their goals. With the odds against all
their rounds, sometimes I would just inmates in this suppressive environ-
place my tattoo gun under my desk ment and where opportunities are
or bed. This was/is not ideal for being limited or non-existent, it is easy for
hygienic and in fact raised my risk people to give up trying. If you need
of getting infections. However, I was a reminder of this, you need not look
determined to tattoo myself. At this any further than the actions of sui-
point I was not tattooing others so I cides that take place within the walls,
did not need to worry about diseases or the tone of depression in the voice
as much, such as HepC or HIV. I nev- calling you on the phone from pris-
er worked or shared my equipment on. For many in prison sometimes,
with others and I always cleaned my Cell Count Cover art after tattoo pilot program was ended by the federal government in 2006. Drawn by Tim Felfoldi it is hard to find the strength to get
workspace and equipment before I through a day, let alone helping
critical information. A saying I like is, issues, such as the 15 year review “Hepatitis C: the virus in the steel.”
tattooed myself. Prison is not a place others out.
“Whoever controls the information, process for eligible lifers, the rise of The videos were shown in many Art and tattooing not only kept
you wish to get sick, so I took every controls the outcome of events.” HepC in the prison setting as well as Canadian prisons, at national and me grounded, but also gave me an
precaution I could. My involvement This could become a life and death the new scourge of HIV/AIDs. international meetings, at several outlet to vent and work through
with tattooing would grow a few matter, keeping in mind, this is in By this time (in 1996), I had be- U.S. prisons and were used by AIDS many of my problems. This led to me
years later once I was transferred addition to, in the 1980s-90s very come well known as a good tattoo organizations across Canada as edu- becoming more sociable and tolerant
to Joyceville (the Ville). So would my little was known about HIV/AIDS artist, among the 3 best within the cational tools. of others, even more compassion-
concerns and risks associated with other than it was a death sentence institution which housed just over In 2003 following Laurence’s ate. It gave me opportunities to help
the activity. untimely death in the Haven (1998), others in larger society. This is not to
for people who contracted the virus. 560 inmates (Willy was another one). Laurence’s efforts along with ours
As I started to tattoo other inmates This led many people to react to I was not just known for my art but reiterate the other blessings already
were recognized by Human Rights stated. However, more importantly
I noticed many people where those infected with the virus in a the fact I would explain to others the Watch. Laurence’s family was pre-
requesting tattoos as a form of re- fearful and inhumane manner. Many importance of keeping their tattoo my art and tattooing led me to forge
sented an award for his action on friendships that led to me meeting
minder to a situation or event in their times, people did not disclose their clean as well as their equipment. HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Further
lives as well. Which led my thoughts my wife.
illness out of fear of being treated Willy and I produced an article called, to this the videos where also shown So, to conclude the question:
to; tattoos are a form of personal differently or even segregated. To “Tattooing and you: The safeguards at the 2004 Toronto Prisoners Film “Whether or not it was worth it
expression or therapy for others be segregated meant to be placed in within prison.” The article was done Festival. This led to more pressure on considering all factors of events?”
as well. That is when it dawned on solitary confinement for an undeter- to educate the inmate population on CSC and the federal government to The real questions should be: did our
me, I was not alone dealing with mined amount of time. harm reduction practices that could address the harm reduction issues of campaign and efforts benefit you?
haunting pasts and I started to see The exchange of information to the reduce the spread of new infections. tattooing in prison. In Sept of 2004 I Did it save you or someone you know
people with compassion. In my case, masses was never really a priority, This article was published by PASAN was placed in segregation on allega- doing time from getting an infection
reports from psychology make note and to hold a large assembly ran the tions I was in breach of a behavioural of HIV/AIDS or HepC when the pilot
for about 15 years in every edition contract with regards to tattooing, 2
to the importance of visual art and risk of a charge of inciting and/or an of Cell Count. People knew within program was active? If so, it was
months later (after further investiga- worth it then. Yet, if not, it shows the
tattooing in my life, as is noted by C. involuntary transfer. The transfers the institution I would not tattoo just tions from regional headquarters),
Hynot, MSW, RSW. I quote; “Mr. Fel- were enacted for the good order anyone, especially if they would not importance of art and safer tattooing
it was determined the allegations within prison. If re­-implemented, the
foldi suffers from a learning disability of the institution, under section 31 take care of previous work done on to place me in the segregation were
which makes it very difficult for him (3-a) of the Canadian Conditional them. About this time, Laurence, program would save others’ lives too.
unfounded. It took another month All I can tell you is my struggles
to read and write. He has always, Release Act (CCRA) which states; Kenny and Willy asked if I would to get out of segregation (in Decem-
therefore tended to use visual art as within life are shared by many. More-
“For attempting to act or intends to like to be interviewed for one of ber). However, in January of 2005, over, we all have made mistakes in
a means of thinking and expression. act in a manner that jeopardizes the their videos they were producing on six pilot tattoo shops were approved our lives, it’s called being human. As
Mr. Felfoldi has used his tattoos as security of the penitentiary or the tattooing. This led to my involvement to be opened across Canada in the a human, we need to communicate
a way of carrying his history forward safety of any person.” People did not in the educational videos on safer following year. The very day this was and express ourselves in order to
and marking, literally, the important really band together unless it was tattooing within prison. The videos made public (on the 27th) I found grow as a person. To imperil that
and formative events in his life. His called upon for major changes or were done with harm reduction at myself placed in segregation once ability or experience, can be a form
tattoos are not simply decorative but again. Commensurate about an hour of passing a death sentence onto
events. Other than that, information the forefront. later a Toronto Sun newspaper article
are highly symbolic and meaningful. was mostly shared through word of At the same time, we started to pre- another human being.
was slid under my cell door by a staff
For years this was his only way of try- mouth between groups of friends. pare to conduct the second HIV/AIDS member. The headline read: ‘Cons EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite Mr. Felfoldi’s
ing to process the more difficult and In the 80’s, most federal institu- and Hepatitis C study of the inmate get cheap tattoos: pilot program will dyslexia in excess of 35 hours were
troubling aspects of his experience.” tions in Ontario operated an internal population at Joyceville institution cost Taxpayers $3.7 million’. Two required in preparing this document
To understand the importance for video platform run by inmates. The with Dr. Peter Ford of Queens Uni- months later I was transferred out with the assistance of a comput-
harm reduction in regard to tattoo- purpose of this was to both entertain versity. Once the studies were made of segregation to a higher security er-reading program called “Word Q”;
ing within prison, we must start at setting under Section 31 (3-a) of the however, accommodations are still
and inform inmates of upcoming public, the studies showed alarming problematic and inconsistent for Mr.
the beginning. For anyone that is or events or past ones. The videos rates of infections in both Hepatitis CCRA. Noting, I was never charged
with an offence, but the claim once Felfoldi within CSC. This is another is-
has been incarcerated they know would be played on the inmate C as well as HIV/AIDS within the sue he is currently engaged in trying
first-hand; prison is a suppressive television station (channel 4) like population (HIV & Hepatitis C studies again was tattoo-related behaviour.
Although the newly elected federal to address. No small task!
environment and is an incubator for sporting events played between in­ 1993/1998). Sadly, a few friends of To put it into perspective a study
potential infections. To see health house teams. ours committed suicide after learning Conservative government, led by
Stephen Harper, cancelled the pilot cites, “60% of American prison
care takes forever and most often In the mid 90’s when I left the they had contracted HIV. CSC’s re- inmates are illiterate and 85% of
you are sent away with ibuprofen. program a year later (2006-07). I
Haven (J-unit) I went to the Ville. The sponse to all of this was to segregate would like to believe our efforts re- all juvenile offenders have read-
Fact is, prison is not a clean and lifer’s group at the Ville ran and oper- some of us and transferred Laurence duced the spread of new infections, ing problems,” U.S. department of
sterile environment and it seems hu- ated the video production platform and Kenny back to the Haven. CSC which in turn, lowered new cases education. http://www.nemours. org/
manity takes a side step at the gates for the inmate population. These cited Section 31 (3-a) of the CCRA. of HIV/AIDS and/or Hep C released service/preventive/brightstart/dyslex-
of the prison. members of the lifer’s group were my Unbeknownst at the time, two of back into society. Laurence, Willy and ia/statistic.htlm.
A tactic used to control or dis- friends as I stated earlier. While Lau- the videos we produced became Dave, did not live to see our efforts In Canada that would equate to
courage inmates from exercising rence was at the Ville, he co-founded ground-breaking HIV prevention become reality. about 9 thousand (give or take 100)
their rights or accessing appropriate Big House Production and started videos made by and for prisoners. As the tattoo campaign drew near inmates on any given day that are in
measures is to withhold or censor making documentaries on inmates “Tattoo: art beneath the skin,” and its ending, I went back to my roots a need of accommodations.
12 // art
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
13 // art
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
14 // art
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018

Artists
Page 12 clockwise: Conan Park, Jonathan Jennings,
Steven W. Zehr
Page 13 top to bottom: Nolan Turcotte, Clayton
Anness
Page 14 clockwise: Gerard Saulnier, Alex Gaudreau,
J. Martineau
15 // health and harm reduction
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
Suicide, Drugs and Lack of Support on Release Drug dependency and getting meds in prison Should Canada decrimi-
By Jason Bevan planning, these can be good rein- nalize all drugs? 'Portugal
forcements in one's life that will help model' gaining traction
I’d really like to help our fellow to stay off dope. Again, people need
cons in every way that I can so I joy in their lives, things that excite CTVNews.ca Staff
hope whatever I tell you may help them to replace old and bad habits. When Portugal decriminalized
possession and consumption of all
some in the future. There have I believe things like that could help drugs in 2001, some feared that the
been a great deal of changes to our reform being behind bars. Having radical change would transform the
prison system and it’s all crap for us these health fairs once a year or European nation into a paradise for
as convicts. For us, crap runs down even 2 times a year to every prison drug users.
hill and we’re at the bottom. is one of the best things the jail That never happened. Instead,
A lot of people think that once system has done. When it comes to Portugal has seen major drops in
in prison we’ll get beck on certain the reduced rates of HepC and HIV drug-related overdoses, HIV infec-
type of meds and it’s not like that transmission, it’s getting better for tions and hepatitis infections. From
anymore, and now other cons have people living with these infections, 2000 to 2008, drug-related court
been caught being short. Some to the point where other people cases dropped 66 per cent.
people that come to jail think that are loosening up a bit more and With legal recreational cannabis
they should get every pill they are not being so uncomfortable around sales in Canada beginning next
on and in their home bucket or from others. Wednesday (editors note: they've
already begun), some health officials
their street doctor. I’m sorry to have A lot of people in the world need and politicians have urged the fed-
to be the one to say this but unless a really good reason to want to eral government to go further and
you’ve been taking your lyrica or change their lives, a reason to stop decriminalize possession of all drugs,
morphine for many years and your the use of drugs, a reason not to pointing to Portugal as a success
doctor has the proof of the reasons commit crimes, there’s got to be story.
why you’re on those meds then you some thing in place for a filler. Among those supporters are public
are going to get back on them in due Otherwise people will fall back in health organizations in Toronto,
time ‘cause even as I came in here that vicious cycle that some are so Montreal and Vancouver. They say
once again I was still weaned off and used to. the best way to fight the ongoing opi-
then cut off until I seen the proper The big killer in prison and on the oid crisis, which killed nearly 4,000
doctors. Only then did I get back on streets is Fentanyl and how can Canadians last year, is to treat drugs
some of my meds so no matter what other people have a better chance as a health issue, not a crime.
state you’re in unless you had some Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh
on living from a fentanyl overdose has vowed to decriminalize all drugs,
serious injury or you have good in prison. I think if the COs were and he’s called on Prime Minister
documentation for your problems trained how to use the naloxone Justin Trudeau to do the same.
then in time you could get back on kits and if these kits were in reach The federal government has said it
your pill. This is for those that are for the COs to grab and administer is not interested in decriminalizing all
doing time, or have been in CSC, and it would mean saving lives. Now to drugs. Trudeau has said widespread
dealing with aches or a great deal get CSC to have their officers trained decriminalization is not the way to
of pain whether it’s physical or psy- to use these life saving kits could do deal with the opioid crisis.
chological. There are so many doors a lot of good in the jail and prison But, in some Liberal circles, the
that could have come to the jail. systems. Portugal model already has traction.
The better part of people that are If you are a con who is trying to Liberal supporters at the party’s
in the jail/prison system have been get back on meds, or start back on April convention pushed the party
going through so many different them, you’ll need to be on those to adopt a resolution calling for the
government to adopt the approach.
problems that, at the best of times, pills for a long time and have a good The resolution failed, with Health
we either are too complicated, Doctor that has done the proper Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor say-
By Phillipe Poisson whereas before I had suicidal or have too many disabilities and testing that allow you to be on those ing that the model may not work for
On October 6th, 2017, at 7am ex- thoughts every single day! there's not enough time to fix all of meds. You need proper documenta- a country of Canada’s size, where 10
actly I attempted suicide. Again. Only For the many things I am grateful our problems. tion to stay on anything like Lyrica, provinces oversee the delivery health
this time I was affected both physi- to be living for, Cell Count is but one. It’s so so sad to see us keep gabapentin, morphine, T-3, T-2, services.
cally and mentally in severe ways. Cell Count plays a big part in my life. coming in and out of these places. byfenten. So if there is anything in It’s also worth noting the scale of
Now I am in constant pain all day I am honoured to be able to write This is a big reason why so many your med file stating your thoughts Portugal’s drug crisis. Before the pol-
and all night. My every move is for them. Not only does it allow me people have misused drugs on the of saving/hoarding meds, then those icy was implemented, an estimated
plagued by crippling nerve pain. Plus, to talk about important issues, but street, so for us to even have a good chances are next to nill. So don’t go 100,000 people in Portugal were ad-
my spine always rubs in extreme it also allows me to talk about the chance of staying away from dope to the nurse short with your pills dicted to illicit drugs. That’s a whop-
pain and discomfort against the 12 things that are bothering me. and keeping ourselves from going when they ask you to bring them. ping 1 per cent of the population.
stainless steel surgical rods implant- For this article, It’s about the very back to jail we need something to Don’t be punching your pills out Penalties for dealers, counselling
ed into my spine to help me walk important issue of Release. Those for users
take the drug's place. before you’re supposed to because Today, drugs are still illegal in
and move my arms once more. that are released on Day Parole, Full There is going to be a big gap left health care will randomly come ask
As for my brain, that didn’t fare any Parole, and their Statutory Release Portugal, and criminal penalties for
open once some one leaves drugs to see your meds. Don’t misuse your drug dealers and traffickers are still
better. My memory has been severe- Date, they still have the government behind. We need to find things that meds and if you are on any type of in place.
ly hampered and I suffer from head- to support them through CSC. But will make us happy, that makes us pills in the pam family or velum fam- But Portugal changed the law for
aches day in and day out – that is to what about those people who are re- want to get out of bed, when one ily you will not get at all in Ontario drug users so that, instead of jail
say, all the time! I have trouble re- leased on their Warrant Expiry Date? finds that hobby or trip they're prisons. time, they are automatically sent
calling something without someone I was released on my WED on Sep- to counselling and offered access

Self-care on the inside
else’s prompting and intervention. As tember 7th, 2017. I had a probation to treatment. A special “dissuasion
for my memories of childhood and order but no one to check in with! commission” – a drug court, of sorts
teenage years? Virtually non-existent. So what was the probation for? I got – was established with psycholo-
Now as to what led me to the sui- drunk and the cops would get called Cell Count would like to thank the Syl- gists and social workers to hand out
cide attempt: on October 5th, 2017 because I’m being a public nuisance. How old am I? What season is it? It is treatment or administrative fines
via Rivera Project in New York for giving
sometime late in the night, I was What do the cops do? Do they breach okay if you do not know the answers to anyone caught with even small
us permission to re-print this excerpt amount of drugs.
with my dealer and we were snorting me? You would think so, but no! They to these questions. If these questions
from their publication: 'Self-care on the Portugal’s model also includes
lines of speed from a new batch. An drive me to the Shepard’s of Good are difficult, you may want to try
inside guide' written by Everett Redente prevention. In Lisbon, a white van
argument and fight ensued. After- Hope to sleep it off! I sober up, walk another activity listed in this guide.
Grounding Techniques: drives around every day delivering
words, we both left on our bikes, me out the door and the same thing hap- Description Game: methadone to about 1,200 people.
Grounding is an exercise that helps
following him back to his place, but pens the next night. And the next, Plant your feet firmly on the Many of those people are former
keep you in the present moment
somewhere halfway to his place I and the next. ground. Physically hold an object addicts who describe the deliveries
and in reality. It can be helpful in
blacked out. The Government doesn’t want and try to describe each detail of it as life-saving.
From here I had to put things to- to help us but sweep us under the managing overwhelming feelings,
out loud like you wanted someone “There’s no craving anymore. No
gether from people I talked to a few rug and ignore us until we go away! intense anxiety, or nerves. It can also feeling that I need heroin again,” one
help you regain control of your men- on the phone to be able to see it. Try
weeks later. First off, I gave my bike Unfortunately, Portugal got it right by this with a comforting object like a man told CTV’s Paul Workman.
away. FREE! The guy I gave it to did decriminalizing all drugs and there- tal focus from a place of intense or Joao Goulao, a drug policy director
high emotion. Grounding techniques blanket or a favorite shirt. Now try it in Portugal, said the country was
not touch it for three whole days un- fore stopping the “War on Drugs”! with an object that is cold. Try it with
til he was sure I wasn’t returning for Now, there are fewer crimes and can also help bring you back to the united in approaching drug users
physical space where you are. When an object that is rough. with compassion.
it. So he sold it out of town. Secondly, deaths due to drugs!
memories of trauma make you feel Get Creative: “My son is not a criminal. My son is
eye witnesses said at precisely 7am Doesn’t make sense does it? On the someone in need of help. And this
on October 6th, 2017, I was seen contrary, it makes perfect sense! outside of your body, these activities Whether it’s writing, drawing, or
making music, expressing our story was the mindset of the common
stepping onto the railing of MacKen- Imagine if you will that your Brother, can bring you back. Here are some citizen,” he said.
zie King Bridge in Ottawa, and then Sister or Best-friend is a Heroine grounding activities to try: or experiences can be an important
In 2017, the Liberal government
stepping off to the road bellow. I addict. Would you rather that person 54321: tool to help us let go of emotion, sent two of its top ministers – former
missed the tailgate of a pickup truck buy their dope from a “dealer” in a Name 5 things you can see in the pain, and/or trauma. Creative ex- health minister Jane Philpott and Jus-
by roughly 6 inches. The height from crack house? Dope made with God pression can use our whole body and tice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould
knows what and sold to anyone? Or, room with you, 4 things you can
the railing was 15 meters (46-feet)! I physically feel against you, 3 things brain and this helps us to remove – to Portugal to learn more about the
would you rather it where a trained, approach.
broke my T-12, L-1, and L-2 verte- Professional Dealer is selling legiti- you can hear right now, 2 things you trauma from where it may be stuck
brae. I was a quadriplegic for 1 ½ can smell right now, and 1 good thing inside of us. When we create some- In a statement following the trip,
mate dope made with safer ingredi- Wilson-Raybould said Portugal could
days while waiting for surgery. ents? Dope sold only to those 19 and about yourself. thing, we have the option of sharing
Fortunately for me, God wants me teach Canada a “great deal” about
older! NOT KIDS!!! If I had that choice Questions: our art with our community. Whether viewing drug use through the lens of
here on Earth! Why? I don’t have the I would’ve chosen the latter option. Ask yourself questions to help bring it’s a beautiful drawing or a letter, public health.
slightest clue, but I am forever grate- Thanks for listening to me about my you into this moment. Where am turning our pain into creativity can be With files from CTV’s London Bureau Chief Paul
ful. Also, for some reason I don’t thoughts on these all very important a powerful experience – both for us
I? What day is it? What is the date? Workman, The Canadian Press and The Associated
have anymore suicidal thoughts, issues! and for others.
What is the month? What is the year? Press
16 // resources & about pasan
CELL COUNT//ISSUE 86//FALL 2018
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1G51-800-561-4009, 506-459-7518 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, M5A HIV & AIDS LEGAL CLINIC OF ON. 4611 50th Ave, Red Deer, AB, T4N 3Z9 Ottawa, ON
AIDS PEI 1R3 416-924-5256 (HALCO) 403-346-8858 K1P 5H3
Take collect calls AIDS COMMITTEE of CAMBRIDGE, Accept collect calls HIV EDMONTON (613) 238-2422
2-375 University Ave, Charlottetown, KITCHENER,WATERLOO & AREA 55 University Avenue, Suite 1400 9702 111 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB, BRAIN INJURY ASSOC OF CANADA
PE, C1A 4N4 902-566-2437 Accept collect calls Toronto, ON, M5J 2H7 1-888-705-8889 T5G 0B1 1-877-388-5742 440 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 200
AIDS SAINT JOHN Have a toll-free number HIV/AIDS REGIONAL SERVICES (HARS) KIMAMOW ATOSKANOW FOUNDA- Ottawa, ON K1R 7X6 Toll-free: 1-866-
Don’t accept collect calls 2B-625 King St E, Kitchener, N2G Accept collect calls TION 977-2492
115 Hazen St, NB, E2L 3L3 506-652- 4V4 519-570-3687 (Collect), 1-877–770– 844-A Princess St, Kingston, K7L Accept collect calls CATIE
2437 3687 1G5 613-545-3698 (Collect) RR 1, Site 1, Box 133, Onoway, AB, T0E 1-800-263-1638
HEALING OUR NATIONS: AIDS COMMITTEE OF GUELPH ONTARIO ABORIGINAL HIV/AIDS 1V01-866-971-7233, 780-913-9036 555 Richmond St W #505, Toronto, ON
1-800 565 4255 Accept collect calls, prefer that people STRATEGY NINE CIRCLES COMMUNITY HEALTH M5V 3B1
3-15 Alderney Dr, Dartmouth, NS, B2Y use their Accept collect calls CENTRE
2N21-800-565-4255, 902-492-4255 89 Dawson Rd, Unit 113, Guelph, N1H 844-A Princess St, Kingston, K7L 705 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0X2 Prisoner-Specific
MAINLINE NEEDLE EXCHANGE 3X2 1-800-282-4505; 519-763-2255 1G5 613-549-7540 (Collect) 1-888-305-8647
Calls from within Nova Scotia are free PEEL HIV/AIDS NETWORK PRISONERS UNITED ORGANIZATION
(Collect) PLWA NETWORK OF SASKATCHEWAN Created by and for prisoners in the
Don’t accept collect calls AIDS COMMITTEE of NORTH BAY Accept collect calls No collect calls
5511 Cornwallis St, Halifax, NS, B3K 160 Traders Blvd, Unit 1, Mississauga, Canadian federal correctional system.
and AREA Box 7123, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 4I1 306- Our purpose is to explore the ways
1B3 902-423-9991 Accept collect calls L4Z 3K7 373-7766
SHARP ADVICE NEEDLE EXCHANGE 1-866-896-8700, 905-361-0523 (Collect) in which both the experience and
201-269 Main St W, North Bay, P1B OUT SASKATOON the outcome of incarceration may be
Accept collect calls 2T8 705-497-3560 (Collect) PETERBOROUGH AIDS RESOURCE 320 21 St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 4E6
150 Bentnick St, Sydney, NS, B1P NETWORK (PARN) enhanced. We welcome everyone to
AIDS COMMITTEE of OTTAWA 1-800-358-1833 visit our website at prisonersunited.
6H1 902-539-5556 (Collect) 700-251 Bank St, Ottawa, K2P 1X3 613- Accept collect calls PRINCE ALBERT METIS WOMEN’S
SIDA/AIDS MONCTON 302-159 King St, Peterborough, K9J org. We encourage you to share your
238-5014 (Collect) or Toll Free (ON & ASSOC. stories on our forum (prisonersunited.
Accept collect calls as long as they’re QC only) 1-800-461-2182 2R81-800-361-2895, 705-932-9110 (Col- No collect calls
HIV related lect) boards.net) and our facebook page
AIDS COMMITTEE of THUNDER BAY 54 10th St E, Prince Albert, SK, S6V (www.facebook.com/prisonersunited)
80 Weldon St, Moncton, NB, E1C 574 Memorial Ave, Thunder Bay, STREET HEALTH CENTRE 0Y5 306-763-5356
5V8 506-859-9616 Accept collect calls to shed light on the current practices
P7B 3Z2 1-800-488-5840, 807-345- RED RIBBON PLACE and problems within the Canadian
EAST COAST PRISON JUSTICE SOCIETY 1516 (Collect) Hepatitis C Treatment Program 235 (ALL NATIONS HOPE AIDS NETWORK)
6061 University Ave, PO Box 15000 Wellington St, Kingston, K7K 0B5 613- correctional system. PO Box 30009,
POSITIVE LIVING NIAGARA  2735 5th Ave, Regina, SK, S4T Greenbank North PO, Ottawa, ON,
Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2 Accept collect calls from registered 549-1440 (Collect) 0L2 1-877-210-7622
THE AIDS NETWORK (TAN) K2H 1A3
QUEBEC clients STREET CONNECTIONS BLACK INMATES & FRIENDS ASSEM-
(Recommend that you get a case man- Don’t accept collect calls No collect calls
101-140 King St E, Hamilton, L8N BLY
CACTUS ager to get registered with them) 705 Broadway Ave, Winnipeg, MB, 2518 Eglinton Avenue W, Toronto, ON,
Accept collect calls 111 Church St, St Catharines, L2R 1B2 905-528-0854 toll free 1-866-563- R3G 0X2 204-940-2504 WOMEN: 50
0563 M6M 1T1 ph (416) 652-3131
1300 rue Sanguinet, Montreal, H2X 3C9 905-984-8684 or toll free 1-800- Argyle, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 0H6 204- OUT OF BOUNDS MAGAZINE
3E7 514-847-0067 773-9843 THE WORKS 943-6379
Accept collect calls 6000 William Head Rd, Victoria, BC
CENTRE for AIDS SERVICES MONTRE- ANISHNAWBE HEALTH AIDS PRO- V9C 0B5
AL (Women) GRAM 277 Victoria St, Toronto, 416-392-0520 WEST COAST 
(Collect) JOURNAL OF PRISONERS ON PRIS-
Accept collect calls No collect calls AIDS VANCOUVER ISLAND ONS
1750 Rue Saint-Andre, 3rd Flr, Montre- 255 Queen St E, Toronto, M5A 1S4 416- TORONTO PWA FOUNDATION
Accept collect calls from clients Accepts collect calls. 713 Johnson St, c/o Justin Piché, PhD, Dept of Criminol-
al, H2L 3T81-877-847-3636, 514-495-0990 360-0486 3rd Flr, Victoria, V8W 1M8 250-384- ogy University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON,
COALITION des ORGANISMESCOM- ASIAN COMMUNITY AIDS SERVICE 200 Gerrard St E, 2nd Flr, Toronto, M5A
2E6 416-506-1400 2366 or 1-800-665-2437 K1N 6N5
MUNAUTAIRES QUEBECOIS de LUTTE- When prisoners call, they offer them PLBC - PRISON OUTREACH PROJECT PRISON FREE PRESS
CONTRE le SIDA (COCQSIDA) small bursaries to cover their calling Toronto Community Hep C Program
Accept collect calls 1107 Seymour St, Vancouver, V6B PO Box 39, Stn P
Accept collect calls fees 5S8 Toll Free: PROV - 604-525-8646 Toronto, ON, M5S 2S6

ABOUT PASAN STAFF CELL COUNT TEAM
PASAN is a community-based HIV Service organization Outreach & Education Chaman R Vashishtha Sena Hussain
that strives to provide community development, educa-
tion and support to prisoners and ex-prisoners in Ontario Prison Education Programs:  Office Coordinator Lead Editor
Janet Rowe
ON HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV) and other harm reduction PASAN conducts HIV prevention education programs in Eveline Allen Cell Count Supervisor
many adult and youth institutions in the southern Ontario
issues. PASAN formed in 1991 as a grassroots response Regional Prison In-Reach Coordinator Fiona Bennell
region.  This program includes a Peer Educators Group, PASAN Placement Student
to HIV in the Canadian prison system. Today, PASAN
whereby ex-prisoners living with HIV are educators for Aaron Bowerman Brendan Arnott
is the only community-based organization in Canada
current prisoners.   Peer Health Navigator Coordinator Cell Count Volunteer
exclusively providing HIV and HCV prevention, education Raine Liana
PASAN conducts free training for those working with
and support services to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their
prison-affected and drug using populations.  Training
Zachary Grant Cell Count Volunteer
families.
topics include:
Federal Community Development Coordinator Tim Felfoldi
Writer and Artist
Support Services ▪ HIV & Prison Trevor Gray Emily O'Brien
▪ Harm Reduction Community Programs Coordinator Writer
Individual Support Services: ▪ The Impact of Segregation Nick Paccione
▪ Individual support & counselling ▪ Stigma & Discrimination Sena Hussain Writer
▪ case management Communications & Resource Dev Coordinator Philipe Poisson
▪ pre-release and post-release planning
Systemic Advocacy Writer
Lindsay Jennings Nolan R. Turcotte
▪ referrals  Since our beginnings in 1991, PASAN has always Writer
Provincial HepC Program Coordinator
▪ advocacy for medical services  maintained a focus on systemic issues of HIV/AIDS and Mark Zammit
▪ housing supports prisons.   Some has been involved in many systemic Claudia Medina Writer
▪ phone support through collect calling  advocacy efforts including: Program Manager Jason Bevan
▪ emergency financial assistance (limited budget for fees ▪ Prison Needle Syringe Project (2014/15) Writer
▪ Advocacy against the use of segregation Stephanie Moulton Nolan R. Turcotte
related to identification and prison release.  Application
▪ Presentation to the Canadian Human Rights Commis- Harm Reduction Outreach Coordinator Writer amd Artist
requirements exist)
sion (2001) Janet Rowe Poetry: Bless, Brian G. Kerr, Dakota Rain Man-
▪ Advocacy for male-to-female transsexual/transgendered
Community Support Services: Executive Director itowabi, Zakaria Amara, Nolan R. Turcotte,
prisoners and HIV (1999)
PASAN also provides support AIDS Service Organizations Tylor Beggs, Billy D, Madelein Prinsloo, Mr.
▪ Presentation to the Presidential Advisory Council on Cherisa Shivcharran Valley, El Presidenteeh, Trap Boy Sunny, S.
and community groups across Ontario.  This includes: 
HIV/AIDS in Washington DC (1998) Provincial Community Development Coordinator Halliday AKA G, Dwight (KC) Luke Nicholson,
▪ resources & educational materials
▪ Presentation to the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Alex Gaudreau, and Forgotten Warrior
▪ training
AIDS (1996)
Aanya Wood Art: Jeremy Hall, Tim Felfoldi, Gerard Saulnier,
▪ assistance to set up prison outreach and support ▪ HIV/AIDS in Youth Custody Settings: A Comprehensive Federal Community Development Coordinator Conan Park, Jonathan Jennings, Steven W.
projects Strategy (1996) We are located at: Zehr, Nolan R. Turcotte, Clayton Anness,Alex
Gaudreau, and J. Martineau
▪ strategies to develop referral “hubs” for HIV positive ▪ Organization of the first National Workshop on HIV/ 526 Richmond St E
prisoners AIDS in Prison (1995).  Toronto, ON M5A 1R3 Let us know if we mistakenly forgot
▪ networking for the development of a continuum of care ▪ HIV/AIDS in Prison Systems: A Comprehensive Strate- Call us toll free at: someone!
for prisoners transferred between regions  gy (1992) 1-866-224-9978