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SPRING 2018 - ISSUE #84

The boy and his sand castle

Photo by Michael Baird on Unsplash
Photo by Michael Baird on Unsplash

By Zakaria Amara My beloved 12-year-old daughter

asked me to share my story with you.

I am having a difficult time deciding

what to write and from which point to start. Perhaps I should begin from the present and work my way back to the past. I’ve been in prison for 12 years now. I received a Life sentence after pleading guilty to being one of the ringleaders in the “Toronto 18” terror plot. Thankfully, no one was physically hurt. I was 20 then, I am almost 33 now. In pre-trial custody, I was deemed a radical threat to the inmate population and so I was involuntarily placed in solitary con- finement for 3 years. After receiv- ing my sentence, I was once again considered a radical threat and sent to Canada’s only Super Max prison (Usually, you have to kill or stab someone inside to be sent there). I spent 6 difficult years there before fi- nally getting transferred to Millhaven Max where I currently reside. Based on what you just read, it is easy to imagine me as a tough, violent, angry man with a threatening demeanor. The truth is that I am the exact opposite of that image. Guilty, I am. Radicalized I was. Yet I still find my entire situation incred- ibly surreal. I often go back in time to retrace my steps and figure out how I ended up here. Every time I engage in this exercise, I find a young man who was caught up in a perfect storm of internal and external influ-

ences. The inevitability of it all is what

I find most remarkable.

After any major Terrorist attack, there usually is a fierce debate about what makes individuals susceptible

to Radical ideologies (Unfortunately, this rarely occurs when the perpe- trators are non-Muslims, e.g. Right wing extremists in the U.S). If I had a noose around my neck and the only thing that could save my life was the answer to this apparently dumbfounding question then I would

have to say it is the emotional state of feeling utterly worthless.

I have always felt worthless. I still

struggle with this feeling to this day. Perhaps I feel this way because I carry within me a strong Inner Critic that has been ripping me apart since childhood. Perhaps it is because I

have always felt like an outsider. You see, even though I am a citizen of this country, I have never felt Canadian. That is because ever since I arrived here as a 12-year-old boy, in my mind, to be a real Canadian you had to be white. Prior to immigrating here, I lived in my mother’s country of birth, Cyprus. There too I felt like an outsider since

I was keenly aware that my Arab

features automatically disqualified me from claiming to be Cypriot. Prior to that, I lived in Saudi Arabia where native citizens are infamous for looking down upon all non-Sau- dis. I still remember the words of a Saudi boy who referred to us Pales- tinians as “Phalas-Teezi” (A hybrid word that combines “Palestinian” with the Arabic word for “Ass”). The sad fact that I was sexually molested

while living there could have only

intensified my feelings of worthless- ness and inadequacy. Even in Jordan, my own country of birth, I never considered myself Jordanian since I belonged to a family

that originally came to Jordan as refugees after losing their land to the Israeli Occupation. Many of you have probably won- dered why the Muslim world has pro- duced so many Radicalized individu- als in the modern era. Blaming Islam for it is incredibly simplistic if not

absolutely wrong.

what the people of that region have been going through for over 100 years, I am actually surprised that there aren’t more Radicals not less. I can’t imagine how utterly worthless many of them are made to feel. The culprits are foreign and local govern- ments who systematically strip the people of their dignity. What happens to a street vendor who can’t sell his fruits without having to pay a bribe to a policeman? What happens to a young man or woman who just graduated from university but can’t find suitable

employment because all the jobs have been given to those with special connections? What happens to a peo- ple who have no say whatsoever in how their governments are run and

are treated like cattle if not worse? What happens to a people who have to live under the deadly shadows of Drones? What happens to a person who witnesses their entire family get wiped out by a “precise” missile strike? Desperate for belonging to a people

When I look at

in my teen-age years, these are the only people I ever felt I belonged to, and as they radicalized I radicalized with them. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and its resulting massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis represented the crossing of the Radical Rubicon for me. You can pretty much draw a straight line from there to my arrest in 2006. How does it feel to be radical? You feel worthy, righteous, and heroic. You see yourself as a saviour of your people. Your mind is obsessed with the injustices that they are suffering from and that’s all you wish to talk about. You see the world in strictly black and white terms. Deep inside you suspect that there may be other colours, which subconsciously drives you to engage in constant re-enforce- ment of your beliefs. It is said that those who are most dogmatic are usually the least certain. A vivid de- piction of this internal struggle is that of a boy who is perpetually fortifying the walls of a Sand Castle he built too closely to the waves. When I arrived at the Special Han- dling Unit (Canada’s Super Max) I was willing to give change a chance for the sake of my family, but unfor- tunately the administrators were unresponsive. Feeling rejected once again intensified my radical state and I in fact became more extreme in the SHU than I ever was outside. I adopt- ed a standoffish attitude towards the administrators and refused meeting my parole officer for many years. This state of affairs continued until ISIS declared its Caliphate and news

of its atrocities began streaming in. Prior to ISIS, whenever innocent

people were killed, I would simply tell myself that it was “collateral damage”

if those killed were non-Muslims, or

a “mistake” if they were Muslims.

Every atrocity committed by ISIS was

like a Tsunami that would violently demolish my Sand Castle and leave

no trace of it behind. Yet I kept franti- cally rushing back to rebuild it. Eventually the hideousness of this group led me to periods of depres- sion that followed every massacre. At the time, I did not see my radical ide- ology as separate from my religion and this caused me to fear that aban- doning it would lead to abandoning my faith. I also feared confronting the reality that I may have thrown my whole life away and brought so much suffering upon my family for no good cause. Holding on became harder and hard- er until it finally became impossible and I simply had to let go out of sheer disillusionment. What followed was not a free fall into a dark abyss of disbelief but rather a surprising spiritual ascent that is best captured in a poem I wrote called “Servant of the Ever-Merciful”

If you are not as beautiful as the Sun

When it spreads its light upon the face of lands and seas

If you do not glow as the full Moon

does In the midst of darkness

Illuminating the way for life’s travel- ers

If you are not as graceful as the lofty Cont'd on page 4


2 // bulletin board


2 // bulletin board CELL COUNT//ISSUE 84//SPRING 2018 Land Acknowledgment PASAN's office, where we publish Cell

Land Acknowledgment

PASAN's office, where we publish Cell Count, is on the historical territory of the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and, most recently, the Mississaugas of the New Credit Indigenous peoples. This territory is covered by the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haude- nosaunee and the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the lands and resources around the Great Lakes.

HIV+ Client Services

In order to be a client & access these services you need to have confirmed HIV+ status and be a prisoner or ex-prisoner (all times Eastern Standard time)

Phone Hours: Mon – Fri from 9-5, except Tuesday mornings

Workshops and Programming - Scheduled usually on Mondays or Thursdays, give us a call or check out our website for a complete list of events we have scheduled.

ID Clinic – 1 st & 3 rd Thursday 1:00-2:00 every month - for everyone.

Release Funds - $50 (twice a year max)

TTC Tokens – 2 each for clients who attend workshops

Harm Reduction Materials – Mon – Fri from 9-5, except Tuesday AM (Safer-Crack-Use- Kits, Safer-Needle-Use-Kits, Piercing Needles, Condoms, etc.) - for everyone. Sometimes we and the phones are very busy so please keep trying!

About Cell Count

PASAN publishes ‘Cell Count’, a minimum of 4 issues per year. We are based in Toronto on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat and home to many diverse Indigenous peoples. It is sent out for FREE to Clients & Prisoners in Canada. If you are on the outside or part of an organization, please consider a donation @ $20 per year. We are proud to release our 84th issue to you. We are also grateful for all the wonderful feedback we have been receiving from our readers, and en- courage you to keep putting your two cents in. Our goal is to have most of our content written and produced by prisoners and ex-prisoners, so we highly encourage you to get in touch with us if you're interested in being part of the Cell Count team. Publisher: PASAN 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1R3 Circulation: 700+ - Recirculation: ??? All original artwork, poems and writings are the sole/soul property of the artist and author. Fair Dealing in the Canadian Copyright Act:

Sections 29, 29.1, 29.2: “Fair dealing for the purpose of research, private study, education,

parody, satire, criticism, review, and news re- porting does not infringe copyright.”

A Note about Pen Pals:

We've received a lot of calls and letters asking about Pen Pals, and it's been difficult delivering the sad news that we no longer have the ca- pacity or funds to run it anymore. We know it's been a really important piece of Cell Count, and that it has led to some amazing connections for our readers in the past. We really wish we could continue it, but due to a lack of resources

it is no longer possible for us. We will continue

to keep a running list of alternative places you can send your ads and photos, although some come with a cost. We cannot personally vouch for these options, so please use them at your own discretion:

Canadian Inmates Connect: Currently, there is

a $35/year subscription. Your ad will be placed

on a website, and people with internet access browse through to decide who to connect with.

A point of caution: you are asked to say what

you have been convicted for, and your full name will be published online. Melissa is the person to contact for more information. Write

or call her at: Canadian Inmates Connect Inc.

3085 Kingston Rd, Suite 267, Toronto, Ontario,

M1M 1P1 - (647) 344-3404

Black and Pink: Specifically for queer and trans prisoners. They are based in the United States,

it does not cost anything to be part of the list,

and you don't have to tell them your convic-

tion. Here is how to reach them: Black and Pink National Office, 614 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125


Prison Fellowship Canada: This is a faith- based, Christian organization that connects prisoners with volunteers of either the same gender, or where there is a 15-20 year age difference. The point is for you to have an outlet to express yourself to someone who will

listen. If you are of the Christian faith, this may be a great option for you. You can reach them for more info at: Prison Fellowship Canada - National Office, 5945 Airport Road, Suite 144, Mississauga, ON L4V 1R9


Prisoner Correspondence Project: "

idarity project for gay, lesbian, transsexual,

transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, bisexual and queer prisoners in Canada and the United States, linking them with people who are part of these same communities outside of pris- on." - From their website. Write to them here:

QPIRG Concordia c/o Concordia University

a sol-


de Maisonneuve Ouest, Montreal, QC H3G


Inmate Ink: "Help us bring Hope to a prisoner one letter at a time. Offers memberships from $20 - $40. Your completed ad will be pub- lished on our website for anyone in the general public to view and contact you directly. For an application or more info, please contact Tasha

Brown at: P.O. Box 53222 Marlborough CRO, Calgary AB. T2A 7L9 or www." If you have had success using a pen pal service (other than ours) and would like to share it with other Cell Count subscribers, please write to us or call. We can list it in a future issue.


We were getting about 75 Cell Counts sent back to us each mail-out labelled, ‘Not Here’. Please help us reduce our mailing expenses by letting us know of any address change, ASAP! Thank you for the consideration.


PASAN has been around for over 25 years now and over the years our client population has increased dra- matically. As a result of this increase in workload, clients may not be able to spend as much time on the telephone with staff as we would like. The staff and volunteers are dedicated and committed and will continue to pro- vide the best care possible. Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Calling all artists, writers (fic - tion, non-fiction, short stories, etc), illustrators, cartoonists, poets, journalists (aspiring or otherwise), and other creative types:

We want your submissions! We get lots of letters from our readers telling us how much they love seeing all your work and they’re hungry for more. Send us your stuff and get published in Cell Count. When you send us stuff, please make sure you write a line in that gives us permission to publish your work. Also, let us know if you would like your work returned to you or sent on to someone else! Please also type your work or write clearly if you can! Writers: We get a lot of great work sent in that we are unable to use because of very limited space. Apologies. Please consider the column width & keep articles/poems tight & to the point. Honestly, the first items to go in are the ones that fit nicely and leave space for others – quality and quantity! Also, let us know in writing if it’s ok to edit your work for grammar, spelling and so we can fit it in. Please note: If you do send something to us, please give us a call if you can so we can look out for it in the mail. Also, call us again at least a week after you send it to make sure we got it. If not, if you're sending in a piece of writing, we can transcribe it over the phone for you, so keep a copy of everything you send us! We're especially looking for submissions from women-identified folks! Women are the fastest-growing prisoner population in Canada, but often their experiences are marginalized in conversations about the prison system. We want to hear your take on prison, life, family, or anything else you're interested in writing about. We can guarantee confidentiality, and can publish your pieces under a pseudonym if you want! Please submit your articles, poetry, art, or letters to the Cell Count editor at 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1R3 - in the meantime, check out Concrete Blossoms on page 5.

A note when subscribing to Cell Count

We have been notified by a few different institutions that if you'd like your subscription of Cell Count to make it into your hands, you have to register at the library to receive it first. Please do this before requesting a subscription from us just to make sure! Also, if you are inter- ested in subscribing please contact: Cell Count, 526 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON, M5A 1R3 or call Sena at: 1-866-224-9978 ext 228

Prisoners Justice Day Issue Due Date!

As you have probably noticed, we have been be- hind schedule in sending out Cell Count. We have been trying to adjust to the volume of submis- sions we have been receiving by expanding the number of pages in Cell Count. As well, Sena the editor has taken on more projects, such as visiting federal institutions in Ontario to co-facilitate workshops inside. So the "spring" issue is coming out closer to early summer. We would however, ideally like to get the Prisoners Justice Day issue out to you all before August 10th, so we will need your submissions for that issue to come in by July 15th with the

last submissions being accepted at July 25th.

I know this is extremely short notice and I do

apologize for that, but I'm hoping we will be back

on track by PJD.

I am looking for art work that is PJD-related, as

well as poetry and articles. Thank you so much for your understanding and please call if you have


Obituary Section

After facilitating a grief and loss group at Bea- vercreek Institution in May 2018, and hearing from people about how grief can often be a lonely, isolating experience for people inside, we've decided to dedicate space in Cell Count for obituaries, as a way to express the impor- tance someone you may have lost had to you and others. With this section, we hope to give you an outlet to express your grief so you don't have to experience it alone. You can send in an obituary about someone you may have lost in prison or on the outside. We will start with

a limit of 125 words per obituary and expand

based on your feedback. You can also send in

a photo or art to accompany it.

Bring PASAN to your group

Are you a PEC/APEC worker or part of a Prisoner run group? PASAN regularly visits and holds work- shops at prisons, if you would like to request us to come and be a part of your work give us a call at 1-866-224-9978. It is a free call from any phone and we would love to hear from you!

Contact Numbers

If you are in any Federal/Provincial Institution or Detention Centre call us only with this #:

Toll-free 1-866-224-9978

ID Clinic

The Partners for Access and Identification (PAID) project opens doors and breaks down barriers for individuals who do not have a fixed or permanent address. The ID Clinics are held at PASAN on the 1 st & 3 rd Thursday of each month, 1:00-2:00pm The project operates at various sites across the city of Toronto. The PAID project also connects individuals and families to other services, such as: primary health care facilities, sources for housing, sources for food & Legal Aid. We also provide guidance and awareness regarding other programs that are available, including community-based support services. For more information, please call: Neighbour- hood Link Support Services at 416-691-7407. Also at the Toronto South D.C. Put in a request to see them.

Prison Radio

KINGSTON AREA - CFRC Prison Radio airs every Wednesday evening from 7-8pm on 101.9 FM. CFRC is the Queen's University communi- ty radio station and every last Wednesday of the month. CFRC can be heard from Millhaven Institution, Collins Bay Institution, Joyceville In- stitution, Bath Institution, Frontenac Institution, Pittsburgh Institution, and Quinte Detention Centre. MONTREAL AREA – CKUT Prison Radio airs on 90.3 FM on the second Thursday of every month between 5-6 pm as part of the Off the Hour show and on the fourth Friday of every month between 11am and 12pm. It can be heard from Bordeaux, Rivière-des-Prairies, Centre de formation fédéral, Leclerc, Montée St-Francois, Centre de détention pour les immi- grants, Archambault, Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, and Cowansville institutions. VANCOUVER AREA – Stark Raven Collective runs the CFRO Prison Radio show on 100.5 FM as part of Vancouver Co-operative Radio. It broadcasts on the first Monday of each month from 7-8 pm Pacific Time HALIFAX AREA - Dalhousie University's CKDU at 88.1 FM. Listen or call in for poetry and rap on the Black Power Hour, which airs Wednes- days from 1:30-2:30pm , and is co-hosted by former Halifax poet laureate El Jones. The show focuses on social and cultural issues relevant to Black communities, but is open all listeners.

New Indigenous Program Coordinator

We are happy to announce that Bear Charles has accepted the position of Indigenous Program Coordinator here at PASAN! Please give him a call if there are ways you think he can support you while you are inside. To get in touch with him, please give him a call at: 416- 920-9567 ext 235

3 // from inside


“We Rise”

By Bless

Black people rise, no matter how far we may fall Our pride keeps our heads high, it keeps us standing tall You, me, us, we are champions With a powerful drive, strength and


They say things “used to be hard” because of the colour of our skin But it doesn’t seem like much has

changed since then Racial profiling, because of how we look, or what we’re driving Or because we live in low-income


Leaving us at a disadvantage to those with privilege So we learn to make due with what we have Through our trials, we come together Through the struggles, we help one


With each other we conquer and

overcome tribulations Elevating each other to receive God’s


Even though you may be struggling


Know that there is light at the end of each and every one of your tunnels So continue to rise, rise high like a tower of power Because it’s not just a hashtag, it’s true that Black Lives Matter.

This poem is re-printed because we did not present it in it's entirety in the last issue due to an editing error. We deeply apologize to A.V. for this mistake and thank you for your patience with us.


By Forgotten Warrior

Buddha girl, I was ready to ride with


Rob with you, get high with you and die for you

I believed in a life with you, lived my

life for you Held my head high, cause of you Gave up the game for you Lived a life I learned to love with you And marrying you gave me pride to be with you Now you may have the thunder But I be the lightning that destroys

The Cancer of Resentment

By Zakaria Amara How could you be when all I see is suffering? When all I see is orphaned children cry in pain wondering How could you let their innocence be robbed away in darkness How could you let their blood flow like endless streams it’s madness

How could you be when ones who claim belief in you are faithless They walk around self-righteously with vanity it’s nonsense They play with blood as casually as they would with water The only thing that’s on their mind as they awake is


I rest my case, I end my speech and

now I sit in silence Waiting on you to answer me if you exist your highness

I heard your words I always do and

now here is the answer You’re not the first nor are the last to have this common Cancer That kills the hearts and blinds the eyes from seeing all the wisdom In all my works, in all my deeds through- out my endless kingdom When I first made your father Adam all the Angels questioned Will you bring forth those who kill and spread evil corruption They failed to over- look the many evil ones and see A few humble hearts whose very being is mercy They feed the poor, they help the weak, and heal the sick and wounded They wipe the tears, they mend the hearts and act as I commanded They offer thanks and speak with words that are always tender And when they pray they bow their

heads in humble surrender

Had every inch of earth been filled with every kind of crime And one such soul remained behind I would allow them time

Can you not see that nothing could be without its other pair Without a North there is no South and such are Good and Evil I gave you all the will to choose and thus you chose to be And now you turn around and point your finger blaming me

A chance to be

By Zakaria Amara

If you are sitting all alone Wondering

how life took this tum Asking yourself

what went wrong? Wondering where all the colours have gone Thinking now all is lost

Sensing the end is nearing fast Then

I ask you to ponder over What you have not what you lack What you gained not what you lost What could be not what could’ve


Can’t you see my dear friend

That the wheels of life always spin

That every trial is but a chance

A chance to be who you should have



By Kyle King This void Swallows the noise and, The tears that roll down my face Victories, mistakes Triumphs, disgrace It hurts to know

That I’m in need of this place That’s where all the feelings I chase Go to


Its there I see my Mother and, Re- member in her time of need I left her

After I stressed her Right to her limit To the void

Is where those feelings are living It

takes and takes I’m giving and giving Willing so willing Thinking its helping This game is called death and, I’ve been dealt in High stakes but, Death is welcome How can I appreciate life When I have never had 1? There is no way to escape The void is my destiny


By Kyle King

I know what’s required I swear I’m

just tired of, Waking everyday to Rekindle this fire but, It’s the heat of its flame That keeps me inspired To be great

In the face of, Being promised a day

That’s determined by fate It’s the time and the place That, from my mind has escaped It’s late and, My body needs sleep You see what you need and, Deny what’s beneath Ignore what’s real and, Rely on beliefs I hope you find what you seek What’s

lost must be found

Whether you’re searching in a cave or, 6ft in the ground

Falling from the sky or, Getting lost in

a crowd being Drawn to the sound,

The cries and wails Pain leaves a trail Trying to survive but, I try and,

I fail

Thru Poetry I cry…

By Tylor Beggs (Lucky) Thru Poetry I cry… Both Mother and I Inside my beating heart, then trav- eled to my mind; I just want to leave Born from my eyes, tears came alive;

then lived and died on my cheek It’s sorrow I reap and it’s love I seek; Again, I weep myself to sleep. My life as a child, consisted of no laughter For I was the victim of two parent’s


But sometimes my mother tried to, Love this little bastard However, she did not prevent, our life with the master Instead we slowly stepped, high on

the ladder

Caught in his web, where we did not


Fake video moments were crafted,

but truth never captured For it did not show, Mother and I being battered

I remember crying and being ground- ed for days Weeping away, my life into plays

I felt like a lamb, to a wolf I am prey As Mother and I both walked, through two shades of grey Walking on eggshells and everyday was the same At night mother screamed; in the morning she’d yell

Taking her pain out on me, because she survived hell Sometimes it took weeks for her to break the spell She’d carry the facade she was doing fine and just well

“Make sure you stay quiet and please don’t ever tell” But I understood very well, why she would need To be alone in the house where she would dream “Get Out - Go Away” is what she would scream

My presence was suffocating and she just needed to breathe “A ride or more money” - Gimme Gimme to me - Just for today, won’t you just let me


And why the fuck do I never hear the word PLEASE?” So I would leave - and alone again I would be My poppa always sang of the birds and the bees to my Mom, to my cousins, he would sing it to we “Tell me a story, tell me a story, Tell me a story, before I go to bed”

Now Grama’n’Grampa and aunt, are

all fuckin’ dead

Just like my soul that I sold, or maybe the devil stole But gone is gone and that much I


I say bad things ya know, everything’s


Sometimes I wish, that it was me


Like I am being missed - I never get


I was the second, retarded born kid

Yesterday I was a child, today I am old, ugly and grown And I have so much pain, inside of

my brain and deep

in my bones

Wooden spoons, the belt, and fists were even thrown Hey mom, your black eye matches my bloody nose

This is our story of two Sad and Sorry


And it does not matter who got it


Because in my house, abuse was a


And I was the only kid that Abuse didn’t ignore So now my dreams consist, of one wish, to have never been born

I drown in the liquor I make outta

sugar and corn

All I am is a shadow, so there’s no need to mourn

For where is my Princess, to love and


Now all I am is a convict, that once was a child who could never do wrong No excuses are sung, as I cry through my song

A broken life lived too long, you can

see it in my Sad blue eyes Thru Poetry I cry… both Mother and I


By Larry Cardinal – Sometimes my eyes deceive me My eyes play make-believe with me Sometimes I go blind Looking at the sunshine Then I can’t find

Anyone to believe in me So no matter how hard I try People still ask me why Sometimes time stands still Most times, time flies by No time to kill No matter what

My eyes always seem blurry Like a voice Where nobody hears me

Not unless I scream And with eyes It’s never what it seems To be… Unless it’s truly a sight To see…

And then we’re in trouble And then it’s time to pretend We couldn’t see it all Too blind to see to stand From pedestals we’ll fall


Oh, don’t worry as no matter We would never ever perish We wouldn’t die no way No need for early graves On time, the manner, place …On times from years as days


By Larry Cardinal

An eerie shape Forms from a cloud’s shadow Upon a wall of myth Who is it with? And who has not Only a stars lines We’ll decide what time

A prophet will be right

And even more at night

As Eve devoured the fruit Now we use it to compute

If 13 is bad luck

Then what is our Lord A fruit we can’t afford

As fruition incites pride That eerie shape

A weary sight

And so I lied To sheep as flock As wolves at night As loaves multiply

And wine

From rain And blood To life…

And on

I’m all that’s left

By Jeremy Hall Here I am balancing on the edge of

all that’s left. You’ve never seen me vulnerable like


& even though it hurts -

I clench my teeth down on my fist My heart beats wildly in my chest My eyes Burn Bright I’m all that’s left. The horizon burns in front of me The wind beats on my back My heart is on the loose and I know

There’s no getting it back

False Hope

By Jeremy Hall There is no forever baby

Every night dies with the morning


There is no forever babe No matter what Every dream comes undone. Forget about forever baby Press your red hot lips to the barrel of my smoking gun Fuck the dream about forever babe Fuck it all & fuck everyone! There is no forever, baby. There is no forever for anyone.

True Beauty

By Zakaria Amara How often have you seen a man whose beauty brings delight yet whose ugly character makes you run with fright how often have you seen a girl whose looks are not so fine yet each word that leaves her lips makes the whole world shine

Truly Free

By Patrick J.M. Dowdell

You can lock a person up in an Insti- tution physically But mentally and spiritually it is


That hold this key To this fine line of sanity or insanity! To let them control this would be a

loss, but when you are in control, it is

a victory

Because within us is a vault contain- ing our greatest memories And it is these memories that can get us through even our darkest of days

Whistling in Prison

By Philipe Poisson Whistling? Why write about whis- tling? Who cares about whistling? You’d be surprised. Most federal inmates (about 85%, say) know the answer to these questions. And for those of you who don’t know, here’s the answer, that could just save your life Back in the old days when inmates were sentenced to death in prison, they were put on the infamous “Death Row.” Death row was a hard life. From what I’ve read and from what I’ve been told, death row inmates were locked down 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. Every day they were offered one hour outside, and every other day, a 15-minute shower. If you went into death row at a

very old age, then you had it all right cuz you were knocking at death’s door anyways. But if you went into death row in your 20s or 30s, well

good luck buddy; you had a lot of years ahead of you. You are allowed a television in your cell, as well as a pen, paper, commissary (what is canteen now-

adays), books, jigsaw puzzles

cigarettes. You could smoke back then. And, although you were living in an age where hangings were not happening anymore, lethal injection wasn’t happening yet. You are sat in a straight-back chair, imagine this if you will, your arms and legs are strapped to the chair and a wet sponge is placed on your head, followed by a metal bowl with leather straps and it’s strapped under your chin. You look straight ahead into a windowed observation room with

wooden chairs lined up like bleachers

at a football game. And it’s not just anyone sitting there. You’re looking

into the faces of those who love you:

mother, father, brother, sister, wife

God forbid, your children.


And the whole time all of this is happening: your last meal (whatev- er you wanted, within reason), last smoke, walking out your cell down the hall and into the electric chair where they strap you in and, looking into your loved ones faces, the whole time, that one guard who always loved you for this or that reason, is whistling away as if he’s on a Sunday stroll through the park. Back then it was like getting punched in the face again, and again, and again. And being unable to do anything about it. The the whistling stops. In walks

a priest to give you your last rites of

passage and to hear your last confes- sion. Then he leaves. And then you’re no more, as the guard throws the switch and 20,000 volts of electricity course through your body. Every time someone whistles, whether it be a guard or fellow inmate, remember all your friends or family who have passed away that you have cared about. And imagine it was one of them sitting in that elec- tric chair. While imagining this, I dare you to whistle and not feel anger or disgust with yourself. That, is why we don’t whistle in jail.


4 // from inside


Sand Castle

con't from cover story


Spreading shade over life’s scorched


Raining water upon their parched lips Bringing life to their dead lands Then I am afraid You have misunderstood What it means to be

A servant of God

I felt liberated to finally be able to

see the world in its true colours. This feeling only intensified as I slowly took the shackles off one by one. This process began a few years ago and continues to this day. How do I view my experience? De- spite its hardships and painful losses,

I see it as a blessing. Sometimes I tell myself that I am acquiring a PHD in Life Studies from the University of the Incarcerated. I live a very mean- ingful life despite living behind bars and I am incredibly optimistic about my future. To God I am ever grateful for all of this.

I ask the Canadian public to forgive me for betraying their trust and welcoming arms.

I ask the Muslim community to

forgive me for causing them so much

apprehension by helping to cast

them under a dark cloud of suspi- cion.

I ask my dear parents to forgive me for breaking their hearts.

I ask my brother and sister to forgive me for causing them so much stress and sadness.

I ask my ex-wife whose loss I never

recovered from, to forgive me for

abandoning her and devastating her

in such a way.

I ask her entire family to forgive me

for turning their lives upside down.

I ask all the young men who became

involved because of me to forgive me for everything.

I ask their families for forgiveness

as well. Last but not least, I ask my beloved

daughter to forgive me for leaving

her without a father. Princess, when

I see you in my dreams I hold you in

my arms and weep, and weep, and weep ‘till I wake. Beloved, knowing what I know now, if I could go back in time to be with you, I would be there

in a heartbeat. But grieve no more,

for I once heard that “the Truth shall set you free” Now I know that what I heard is true.


By Gregory J. McMaster For the second consecutive year, my wife and I spent Christmas together in what Heidi affectionately calls our Time Share in Eastern Ontario. Actually, it’s a small three-bedroom duplex with a living room, kitchen

and full bath. The duplex is in a shel- tered spot, off the beaten path, far away from the frenzy of vacationers and holiday party enthusiasts. It’s not entirely isolated, there are several duplexes just like it nearby so we do have neighbors. Although the neighbors are different each time, we all have one thing in common due to our similar situations. Heidi and I utilize our Time Share twice a year for a much-needed week

of intimacy. For the rest of the year,

we live apart, separated by several thousand miles. Essentially, we have

the classic long-distance relationship, though we stay in constant contact through phone calls and letters. Heidi is a lawyer, an Appellant Specialist in the hectic arena of Criminal Law. Her daily life is filled with snarling Judges, conniving Prosecutors and prisoners desperate

to have their Appeals heard. Heidi’s

work often leaves her feeling as if the weight of the world is resting upon her 5’10” willowy frame. When we walk through the front door of our

Time Share I can see the wear and tear melt away. Once we unpack and put the

groceries away Heidi and I kick back

and relax without a single concern. In between the cuddling and passionate love making we eat whatever strikes our fancy. We both enjoy cooking and each day the heavenly smells of seasonal delights permeate every room. Apple

pie, oven roasted turkey, Scottish short bread and chocolate chip cook-

ies are all on the menu.

life doesn’t afford us the opportunity

for these luxuries so we tend to go all out when we get the chance. Under the circumstances, we natural-

ly treasure our private time togeth-

er, particularly during the holiday

season. Simple acts, routine with couples who live together full time, like snuggling on the couch or playing

Scrabble at the kitchen table, take on

a whole new meaning for us. In fact,

during our Christmas vacation, Heidi and I spend more time together than most couples would in two months.

We’re together every minute of the day, 24 hours a day, for the entire week. Some might consider that a

nightmare, but for us, it’s Utopia. We become so caught up in ourselves and our special time together that we continuously forget where we are. At set intervals the kitchen phone

rings three times per day, this being the only intrusion on our solitude.

We exchange a knowing look as I pick up the receiver. The conversation never varies. “Hello?” “McMaster, you and your visitor step out for count.”

Every day

“Yeah, sure.”

And I hang up. The communica- tions are always short, if not sweet.

We put on our bathrobes, push open the screen door and step out onto the small cement porch. Standing

under the watchful eye of the gun tower’s surveillance cameras, we wait for the guard to make his rounds. It’s count time at Collins Bay Peniten- tiary.

As a Lifer with 22 years of incarcer- ation under my belt I’m accustomed to it all, but I often wonder how Heidi internalizes the sights before us. The gun tower resembles the turret of a castle and is so close it could be hit with an apple. The massive perim- eter wall, with its razor wire, looms

directly in front of us.

yard, caged in, with a padlocked gate, rounds off the picture. We exchange niceties with the prisoner and his family next door through the open links of the fence that separates us. They’ve received the same abrupt phone call. And, though we can’t see them, there are four other prison- ers stepping out onto small cement porches with their loved ones, wait- ing to be counted. There is a total of six Private Family Visiting trailers at Collins Bay. We call them trailers, but in reality, they’re small duplexes, all huddled together in one comer of the prison. They are surprisingly nice considering their

location. Heidi and I affectionately refer to Trailer #6 as our Time Share. During this trip Heidi and I hung homemade decorations, watched the

first big snowfall of the season, and set out treats for the family of mice that live under the sidewalk. We cuddled in the living room, watched rented videos, listened to some of our favourite music and, worked to- gether in the kitchen on devilish food fantasies. On clear nights, I would carry the living-room reclining chair outside to watch the moon and stars. For two decades, I had never seen

the twinkling of a star or watched the moon as it traversed the night- time sky, so I find myself naturally mesmerized by these celestial gifts. To celebrate the last full moon of the millennium, Heidi sat bundled up in

Our small

my lap as we roasted marshmallows over the flaming hibachi. For Heidi and I, the true spirit of Christmas is the giving of ourselves to each other. All too soon, our time together is over. With our happiness comes the distinct sense of pain and depression that follows each of our separations. We shed our tears. and bury the ache deep inside as we remind ourselves that our cup is half full, not half empty. The wonderful memories of this time will sustain us until we’re together again this summer. Conjugal visits are often seen by the public as an indulgence to prisoners, but I can emphatically state that our week-long visits have changed my

life. They put an end to 19 years of enforced celibacy, and have allowed me to re-enter the realm of human beings. Those 19 years without companionship, or the simple act of human affection expressed through

a caress, had a devastating affect on me. Before my first trailer with Heidi,

my self-respect had been based on being a solid, stand-up con. That’s all

I could aspire to be in this concrete and steel fortress. It helped me

survive, but that’s all it did. It’s not ex- actly something that will impress the

Parole Board.

say, I’m just a man, a man who feels,

shares, gives and loves. Heidi and I had to wait seven years for our first

opportunity to be alone. Now we only wait six months. It’s still a long time, but not the eternity it used to be. I’ll be applying for Parole in 2002, 24 years after I first walked through the front doors of a maximum-security penitentiary. There is nothing in life that could have prepared me, or anyone else, for this inconceivable journey known as a Life Sentence. Ironically, it was within prison that

But now I’m proud to

I found the skills, humanity and

compassion necessary for my suc- cessful re-integration into society. Over the years I made many of the necessary changes on my own, but

I never would have evolved into a

fully rounded human being without the benefit of a loving partner and accessibility to the Private Visiting Family Program. For those that would criticize con- jugal visitation, l would suggest they re-think their conclusions. A man can walk out the front door of a peniten- tiary with a belief system based on being a solid con, or he can return to that special place called home, where he’ll find stability, support and a com- mitted partner. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who you’d rather have walking the streets and living in your neighborhood.


By Kyle King We refuse to acknowledge the right in a way that promotes recognition and insist on accepting the wrong giving the illusion that it’s the norm. Ask yourself when the people that appear to be the strong pick on the weak who should be wearing what shoe? The strong are supposed to protect the weak not victimize them which begs the question if it’s done as a show of strength the person with the bad intention is most likely trying to bring someone down to their level. The bottomless pit of scum sucking hatred for oneself and everything around you that you feel that the only way to make yourself feel better is to be as ignorant and insufferable as you can be. It’s not only what you say it’s how and just as important where and to whom you say it to. Words my friends are as painful as any physical blow. If we construct the wall strong and high enough you’ll isolate yourself. Isolation is dangerous it’s written so much in history yet we repeat the same practices of the

foolish men, generations and even kings of the past. In a nutshell what they’ve taught us is that we all need somebody: the shoulder to cry, ear to listen or the security a hug provides when we feel lonely. It is fear that inhibits us and sets internal limitations hindering us from seeing people for what they are. Their true intentions whether they have your best interest at heart or their ulterior motives. Differentiat- ing between someone having good intention and bad is important and should never be confused. Know your friends and recognize your enemies. Understand and ac- cept the people in your life that may be different from you they’re still your friends and there for you and your perception of them shouldn’t change because you choose to ignore the writing on the wall. Never make an enemy of a friend because there is no limit to which they’ll go to show you the mistake you made. Cherish what you have because to lose it could mean losing

everything. Only the strong survive they say but sometimes you need 2 play the sucker to create a sucker and falling into the trap could be your demise. Don’t fall victim to pride and the thought of how you’re perceived by others.


By Nolan R. Turcotte

I am from

the bloodline of Revolutionaries the ones who got their plots hon-

oured in the cemeteries they’re alive in my veins but forever


can’t call bullshit on this one

Louis Riel the greatest Metis known to mankind

Who’s great-great-great-great grand- father was Sioux war chief Standing Moose from Minnesota?


Rising up for Our People’s in my family tree So I smudge and thank Creator just for planting the seed As I sit and ask myself, “Why follow when I can lead? Why run when I can bleed? Why eat when I can feed? Why take what I don’t need?” And the answer is, “I come from a loyal breed.” My name is Stands with the Wolves and I’m an Indigenous man with an ingenious plan. I’m willing to vision quest and protest against what’s against Our teachings from Our land!

I ride for what is right

If I fall when I fight I will get up and fight harder

I could use a tomahawk but I think my mind’s a little sharper I’ve been called heartless

but my heart goes out to every Mur- dered and Missing Indigenous son and daughter

I find it ironic how I’m a leader, but I’m following in the footsteps of my ancestors. Those are big moccasins to fill

I got a big buffalo to kill But still

I will.

Whether the results are minor or major I’m still playing my part One thing I can promise, I won’t stop once I start My voice will be heard like a drum But actions speak louder than words

So my acts will be seen like the artifacts Discovered under Mother Earth…

I am from… The bloodline of Warriors.


By Nolan R. Turcotte

They’re calling us savages

calling us savages


women and raping our children and



they are the

They’re the ones killing our

stealing our land

My name is Stands with the Wolves and I’m taking a stand

I come from the Kopahawakenum Band

Fuck Parliament they eliminate hope

Word to the rope around Louis Riel’s


They weakened us with diseases, alcohol, diabetes, false treaties then conquered us because they

couldn’t win in a fair fight, forced us to believe in Jesus! They disrespected the Mother that’s beneath us and slaughtered buffalo, to control the way they would feed us, Mistreat us! They made it look like we needed them but they need us To feel superior, important, we were peaceful, they were morbid We only took what we needed they wanted more of it to make profit, they were greedy, they “gifted” us with sugar, then they sugar coated those treaties We offered them tobacco and squash and taught them how to trap beaver They gave us guns so we can kill each


The trees we used to make tipis were chopped down so they could make


That way they can say to the future generations that we were the crooks We gave to them, they took from us, now tell me who’s truly crooked!?

A portion of the Black Hills was trans-

formed into four ugly ass faces of the white race after they took it. Was that racist? I don’t care.


to make hunting easier

They created racism in the first place.

I practice Truth because Turtle Island’s my birthplace! O An idea developed by Je Craig
I practice Truth because Turtle Island’s
my birthplace!
An idea developed by Je Craig

Cell Count contributor Jeff Craig came up with "Prison Tweets." A "tweet" is a super short quote, shoutout, piece of wisdom, thought, update, or anything you can come up with! Mail us or call with a tweet, and you might see it in an upcoming issue. Let's see what you got!

Kyle King Tweet

+ Appreciate what you have before it becomes what you had.

Nick Paccione Tweets

+ Keep in mind that whenever you undermine another person's hu-

manity by, say, calling or referring to

that person as a cunt, a pig, a fag, or

a n----r, you lose a part of your own humanity in the process."

+ Whatever you give your attention

to, you give power to. So be very careful what you give your attention

to, and be very smart by giving it to kindness and positive change."

Forgotten Warrior Tweets

+ We learn what we live & we live

what we learn

+ You first have to do you and the right things will fall into place

+ When I left all I took with me was my scars

+ You cannot kill what you did not


+ This is where dreams & nightmares


+ I know you’re mind altering, but are

you life changing

+ The love that I lost wasn’t worth what it cost

+ I’m not here to love my twisted soul into your life

+ Days turn into nights, nights into


+ My horizon is limited to the next day’s struggles

5 // news on the block


What's New in Prison News?

Needle exchanges coming to 2 Canadian prisons

By Rafferty Baker CBC News, May 14, 2018 Inmates at two federal prisons who use injection drugs will have access to clean syringes beginning in June, with the Correctional Service of Cana- da planning to roll out the service at other institutions next year.

The correctional service has pre- viously made needles available for inmates with diabetes who require insulin and for people needing EpiPens, but this is the first time drug users in Canadian prisons will have access to clean needles. "Correctional Service Canada's prison needle exchange program

is an initiative that will strengthen

ongoing efforts to address infectious

diseases in federal penitentiaries and

in our communities," said interim

commissioner Anne Kelly in a written statement on Monday. Phase 1 of the needle exchange

program will begin with one men's institution, the Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B., as well as one women's facility, the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, Ont. A correctional service spokesper- son said the prisons were selected because they have the highest rates of injection drug use and needle sharing, based on routinely gathered health information. According to the service, HIV rates

in prison are 200 times higher than in

the general population, and hepatitis

C rates are 260 times higher. For

both diseases, the rate within prisons has decreased considerably in the past 10 years. Long overdue, advocate says The announcement was welcomed by harm reduction advocates on Monday. Sandra Ka Hon Chu is director of research and advocacy with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. She said the plan to make clean nee-

dles available in two institutions is a positive step, but that it should have come two decades ago. The organization is one of five groups and individuals that launched

a lawsuit against the correctional ser-

vice in 2012. Chu claims the lack of clean injection equipment is a denial of prisoners' rights to health. "It's been over five years [since the

lawsuit was launched] and I think this is sort of the tragedy — in that five- plus years, numerous people have been infected with HIV and hepatitis C," she said. Prison report urges needle ex- change programs Lawsuit seeks needle exchange pro- grams for prisons According to Chu, prisoners who use injection drugs go to great lengths to create and share make- shift syringes, sometimes made out

of things like pens

"It's quite terrible," she said. "I've heard stories from prisoners using one needle that's been used by 30 or 40, up to 50 people, just shared because there's so little access." Chu said she's concerned about the needle exchange model the cor- rectional service is planning to use, which requires inmates to return a needle to get a new one. She said there should be a diversity of needle distribution models, and making prisoners hand in a syringe to obtain

a clean one reduces overall access. Prison guards object The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said in a written statement

that it is concerned about the launch

of the needle exchange programs in

two prisons, which it claims are being implemented without new training or safety measures for correctional officers.

"This program represents a dangerous turning point. Correc- tional Service Canada has decided to close its eyes to drug trafficking in our institutions. It has chosen to encourage criminal activity inside the walls instead of investing in the care and treatment of inmates who are drug addicts or carriers of infectious disease," union president Jason Godin said. "We are also wondering what's happening with CSC's zero-tolerance policy on drugs?" Godin expressed confusion about the role of correctional officers who witness inmates using the needles to inject contraband drugs, and wheth- er they're expected to intervene, or

permit drug use. He also claimed the new program will be a threat to officers and put

inmates' lives at risk with the risk of overdose, and that the correctional service's role should be to continue to reduce the supply of drugs. According to the correctional ser- vice, "The safety and security of staff, the public and inmates are of utmost importance when making decisions about CSC programs and policy."

Will Hamilton's jail death inquest bring change? Law - yer fears another 'toothless' response

By Dan Taekema, CBC News, May 22, 2018

A lawyer who has appeared at several inquests into the deaths of

Ontario inmates says the massive examination of eight overdose deaths at Hamilton's jail may not produce the change family members hope for. After a six-week inquest, the jury pro- vided a list of 62 recommendations for the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on Friday, and family members said they were hopeful the inquest would mean their loved ones didn't die in vain. But Kevin Egan, who represented the family of one of the victims at the Hamilton inquest, said he has his doubts the government will listen. "There was a certain level of eupho-

ria after such extensive recommen- dations from the jury Friday," said the lawyer. "I really hate to burst anyone's bubble, but it may not mean anything. Egan speaks from experience. He said one of the recommendations — the need for real-time monitor- ing of surveillance cameras — was something he's seen suggested at two other inquests, first in 2011 and again in 2015. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services didn't end up adopting it in either case. "They basically ignore [inquests] or feel no compulsion to respond," said Egan. "There's no guarantee of any

kind of meaningful response." In a statement to CBC News, ministry spokesperson Andrew Morrison rejected the lawyer's claim, writing, "Recommendations from inquests over the years have led to numerous positive steps in developing new policies and procedures." Inmates openly used drugs During the inquest, the jury heard how inmates, including Marty Tykoliz (Egan represented his family), openly snorted drugs off a table in a day room of the Barton Street jail. Video

evidence also showed inmates using string as a "fishing line" to pass something between two cells over the course of several hours. On Friday the jury called for better

video equipment, including mon- itors and cameras that would be monitored by staff in "real-time" in order to detect "high-risk situations that involve the presence or use of

contraband." Egan said he's been waiting for real-time monitoring in Ontario's jails since a 2011 inquest into the death of Kenneth Randall Drysdale who was killed at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC). That was the first time Egan saw real-time monitoring as a recommen- dation. During the 2015 inquest into the sui- cide Keith Patterson, another inmate at EMDC whose death was caught on camera, real-time monitoring was again recommended. "The [ministry] basically ignores inquests or feels no compulsion to respond," said Egan. "There's no guarantee of any kind of meaningful response." Ministry has already made changes Morrison said the ministry already made several changes to the way things are done at the Hamil- ton-Wentworth Detention Centre during the inquest process, including making overdose-antidote naloxone available in all correctional facilities for suspected overdoses and setting up a dedicated team to search cells and collect information about contra- band at the Hamilton jail. "Coroner's inquests contribute to that ongoing work and the ministry carefully reviews jury inquest recom- mendations directed at the ministry and strive to implement changes to improve its policies," he added. Here's a look at some of the other recommendations the ministry will consider:

•Increased canine searches. •Upgrades to surveillance cameras and real-time monitoring of inmates. •Creating inmate check lists and logs to track relevant information about health and history when it comes to contraband. •Reopening the jail's gym to inmates with four dedicated recreational officers. •Providing CPR training to interested inmates.

Protesters want better commu - nity support, not bigger jail

By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, April 27, 2018

A year ago, Ontario announced

that Ottawa and Thunder Bay would get bigger jails after years of over- crowding in the current jails. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services arranged to meet some community groups in Ottawa Friday, but postponed that meeting a few days ago. Instead, several dozen protesters stood near the downtown Marriott Hotel at Kent and Sparks streets, where the meeting was scheduled to take place, to voice opposition to a bigger jail. They say the problem lies in putting too many people in jail in the first place. Most of the prisoners at OCDC are awaiting trial, not serving sentences. “Building community requires doing more to address inequalities contributing to social harm,” said Justin Piché, a criminology professor from the University of Ottawa. “Jail expansion takes resources away from this work.” The money should be spent on treating drug addiction and giving support to people who have none in this city, he said.

In her early 20s Charlotte Smith

was in and out of OCDC. She was homeless and was taking drugs. Now 29, she is finishing degree at Carleton University and says that help through Rideauwood Addiction

and Family Services did what the jail could never do for her. “There’s a perception in society that criminals are bad people who do bad things and they get what they deserve,” she said.

“I didn’t see bad, evil people (in

jail). I saw wives, mothers, daughters,

people with families waiting for them on the outside, and some people who had not a single soul waiting for them or who cared about them.” The jail did nothing to help her overcome her life of living from crisis to crisis, she said.

“Help is not what you get in OCDC. We couldn’t access mental health supports, housing supports, (or) supports for addiction.

“I didn’t meet a single person there who didn’t have a strong desire to change their life but there was simply no help … And you can’t solve it in jail. When you’re released, you are worse than when you went in.”

Smith said she began to feel that there was a steel wall separating her from “decent society,” a feeling she overcame only when Rideauwood counsellors spent a year helping her fight addiction, find stable housing and eventually get back into school.

“We’ve organized this event today so that different community groups can come forward and talk about dif- ferent alternatives to incarceration,” said Lydia Dobson from the Criminal- ization and Punishment Education Project.

“There are going to be a lot more beds in the new jail, and what we would like them to focus on is in- stead of putting more people in jail, looking at different ways to prevent people from ending up in jail.

Supreme Court rules prison risk assessment tools may dis - criminate against Indigenous people

By Alex McKeen, StarMetro Vancou- ver, June 13, 2018

A Métis man who has been incar-

cerated in Canada for over 30 years feels he may finally have a fair shot at parole, and escorted temporary ab- sences from prison after a Supreme Court of Canada decision Wednes- day threw a wrench in Correctional Services Canada’s use of statistical risk assessment tools, concluding the

practice may discriminate against Indigenous inmates. Jeffrey Ewert, who was raised in Surrey, B.C., is serving two concur- rent life sentences for second-degree murder, attempted murder and escape from custody. The high court accepts Jeffrey Ewert’s challenge of assessment techniques to gauge the risk of reof- fending and potential for violence. The high court accepts Jeffrey Ewert’s challenge of assessment techniques to gauge the risk of reoffending and potential for violence. As is procedure for Canadian inmates, he participated in a number of “risk assessment” tests adminis- tered by Correctional Services Cana- da when his incarceration began. Those tests included the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (PCLR) and the Static-99 test for sex offenders, which are designed to predict an inmate’s risk to public safety based on person- al characteristics and crime history. The tests are used to help Cor- rectional Services determine things like whether the inmate should go to minimum, medium, or maximum security prison, and when they are

eligible for parole. But the validity of using those tools to predict risk for Indigenous offend- ers has been in question for decades, largely because of a lack of research testing their applicability among Indigenous inmates, whose repre- sentation in adult federal prisons was nine times that of their representa- tion in the public in 2014-2015.

In a case brought by Ewert and sup-

ported by the BC Civil Liberties Asso- ciation and the Union of B.C. Indian

Chiefs, three levels of court heard that Correctional Service of Canada knew the tests may not be valid at predicting Indigenous offender risk as early as 2000. Canada’s top court Wednesday, in a 7-2 decision, found that use of these tools for Indigenous inmates may be discriminatory, because Correctional Services Canada had, in Ewert’s case, failed to fulfil its obligation to ensure it used the most accurate infor- mation possible to make decisions about inmates. The majority of the Supreme Court found that obligation extended to ensuring the reliability of the assess- ment tools themselves. In the same decision, the court found Ewert did not prove that his Charter rights had been violated due to the use of the tests. A spokesperson from Correctional Services Canada said the department “is reviewing the decision and will determine next steps.” Jason Gratl, Ewert’s lawyer in the case, said the department will have both immediate and medium-term obligations as a result of the deci- sion. “The immediate concrete obligation is to conduct statistical research to assess the validity of these tools as applied to Indigenous inmates,” he said in an interview with StarMetro. Then Correctional Services will have to determine to what extent, if at all, it will use the assessment tools for determining Indigenous inmate risk in the future. The Supreme Court decision’s implications extend beyond the assessment tools, Gratl said. It also confirms that Correctional Services Canada has “a broad obligation to remedy historic injustices against In- digenous people and work to remedi- ate overrepresentation of Indigenous inmates.”

That obligation comes from the Corrections and Conditional Releases Act, which directs Correctional Ser- vices Canada to “advance substantive equality in correctional outcomes for Indigenous offenders,” the decision found. The decision was welcomed by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, which released a statement saying it had intervened in the case in order to ask the court to ensure the Gladue principles — which require courts to consider the unique circumstances of Indigenous people — extend to prisons too. “Today’s decision is a step forward in the fight to reduce the over-incar- ceration of our people,” said Chief Bob Chamberlin, UBCIC vice-presi- dent in the statement. With files from The Canadian Press.

Summary of Report on Health care in provincial correction - al facilities

By Brendan Arnott, May 3, 2018

This is a summary of a submission by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HALCO and PASAN

This report says that we need to

• Implement needle and syringe programs;

• Offer opioid substitution therapy for anyone who needs it

• Give direct access to naloxone for all

• Offer training that gives the facts about HIV

• Never segregate prisoners for any


• Develop a program for safe tattoo- ing in prisons

• Offer people with severe chronic

pain the equal treatment they'd get in the community Health care in provincial prisons:

This report looks at 3 major strate- gies to improve the health of people in prisons. Legally, prisoners deserve

the same level of health care that's available in the community, but the

Continued on page 9

6 // news on the block


Part II: “Why” Restorative Justice?

Photo by Katy Belcher on Unsplash
Photo by Katy Belcher on Unsplash

Hello fellow sentient beings, Welcome to part two of my Restorative Justice article By Michael Hector I think I should once again mention that I am in no way advocating an end to Retributive Justice, I genuinely believe that the two (Restorative and Retributive Justice) should move together through our Justice system. The reason I say together, is quite simple. I believe that we cannot have or find Justice without balance and we will never find balance with the implementation of only one or the other. Now having said that I think it only fair, at this point, that I qualify the word simple. Just this past week I started a new Restorative Justice Principles group with the Chaplain from the minimum side of our institution (BCI). In that session as we began discussions on just what Restorative Justice is by breaking down the words Restorative and Justice, in doing so, some of the discussion brought to light, that the principals, as they are, seem “simple”. This is where we need to make the distinction between “simple” and “easy”, because as we have learned, simple and easy may seem the same but there are many times when something may be “simple” to under- stand but not necessarily be “easy”

to do. This is an extremely important distinction to be made when going through the Principles of Restorative Justice. So hold that thought we will come back to this in a few minutes. The question today is “WHY” Restor- ative Justice? Restorative Justice should be the go to, because it was how we, as a species, meted out Justice before we became too big as a society to handle our own difficulties and frailties. Again, this is not a panacea and may not necessarily be the first step in a crime as horrendous as murder but I can assure you, even in that case, it could be invaluable one day. But let’s start this discussion with an example of a break and enter. A man breaks into a house and steals some of the homeowners’ valuables. Let us first focus on the victim of this crime, as we should. Only a few days later, the perpetrator of the crime is arrested and placed in custody for the Break and Enter. Only some of the items stolen have been recovered and the victim has to place a claim with his/her insurance com- pany. Keep in mind this is a second- ary thought for the victim up until the point of the perpetrator being caught because until he is caught the victim fears that the person may come back. Think of how that might feel because that is one of the mitigating factors when it comes to deciding Restorative Justice is some- thing that should be utilised in this situation. Here is where we start to apply the principles of simple vs easy. Some of what comes next may be simple in principle but I can assure you from both sides of this equation it is not easy. And, I will leave it up to you as an individual to decide the value. Let us get back to the problem at hand, the victim has experienced fear and now that the criminal has been caught, does that end the victim's fear? Unfortunately, it is only the beginning. Sure there is a moment

where the victim is relieved to know the perpetrator has been caught and even somewhat relieved to get some of his/her things returned but what is to follow? The person who committed the crime is now “in the system.” The victim is able to observe some of the process but inevitably, the perpetra- tor of the crime is going to be dealt with by people who are being paid to mete out “Justice”. They have no real connection to the crime, other than to decide, “What law has been broken, Who did it and What do they deserve?” At the end of this process how is the victim reassured? How is the victim able to move on without fearing retribution? Why would the victim fear retribution, you ask? Well, it really is a matter of how Retributive Justice is meted out. The victim and the perpetrator of the crime have not really had any contact to this point and this lends itself to the fact that the victim has no way of knowing if the perpetrator feels any animosity toward the victim for having been arrested. Is that a rational thought?

I can’t tell you because I have only

been on the perpetrator’s side of this equation but I know from numerous conversations that it is something that the victim goes through and fear no matter the motivation is in many ways debilitating. But let us move through this scenario to the point where the perpetrator has been

found guilty given a chance to apolo- gise to the victim (through the court), and he does. If for no other reason than to be able to move on and it was something that was expected of him, according to his lawyer. Now he receives his sentence, and is sent to

a facility to do his time. The victim is

still left to wonder if the perpetrator will come back after he gets out? The victim may also be wondering if the person who broke into their house is going to get the punishment/help they deserve. This depends on the victims personal perceptions. Some-

thing I can mention at this point is

that there is not too much available for the perpetrator inside the system to give them a better chance to succeed upon release (compared to

a couple of decades ago) but that will

be a discussion for a different article. There is no way to know if the victim

will ever get closure when it comes to being the victim of a break and enter and in that, no way to know if the fear will ever completely go away with time. We also can’t know if the debilitation created through fear is going to have a lasting effect on how they interact with family, friends and people they come into contact with in passing. I can tell you from the nu- merous conversations and an abun- dance of literature that there are considerable effects to all of these interactions that I have mentioned, due to fear. Please keep in mind that this is only one of the many variables that can be perpetuated through being a victim of a crime. Now let us consider for a short time the difference if we infuse Restorative Justice into this equation

by using the Three Pillars; “Who has been harmed, What are their needs, and Who’s obligation is it?” We know who has been harmed and what their needs are as well we know who’s obligation it is. It really is simple in this case to figure all three of those things out, isn’t it? But remember earlier when I mentioned simple versus easy? Well here we

are, it is just that simple to figure out the answer to all three Pillars but it

is not that easy. We know who has

been harmed and how it happened. We think we have an idea of what the victim needs, now that we know that

the victim is fearful of the perpe- trator possibly coming back. And we know without a doubt that the person who broke into the house is obligated to do something to make amends for their transgression. The not so easy part of this equation is to somehow try to bring the “stakehold-

ers” together so they can come to some form of reconciliation. Perhaps the person who broke into the house will need to repair any damage that was done, maybe some added yard

work to help make up for some of the pain of suffering (Yes I said that right: of not and). As well an opportu- nity to apologise for all the victim was put through and within the apology the victim might get to hear why or how the perpetrator ended up in a situation that could allow them to do something so hurtful to another person. This in turn affords the per- petrator an opportunity to gain some insight into how much pain they have caused in just one shameful act. Will this be the end of crime for this particular person? I don’t know but I do know that we have been able to give some emotional and physical relief to the victim and in the process and we have also saved the taxpay- ers a considerable sum of money. So regardless of your motivation Restor- ative Justice can bring considerably more to the table of Justice. I would be remiss not to mention that there will be times when one or both parties have no interest in Re- storative Justice and when that is the case Retributive justice will have to do. However, I hope I have been able to help you to see how Restorative Justice is able to bring so much more to the Justice table and its value to all of us as a Community. As I sign off for a second time, I would like to tell you that I owe my new found sense of community

to my involvement in Restorative Justice. As well, the principals I have learned from my involvement in various Restorative Justice Groups are principles I use in my everyday life. There is something powerful and prized to living Restoratively. Which is something I endeavour to share at every opportunity and if you have read my first article on Restorative Justice you can see (I hope) just how much that means to me and “why”.

Taking care of yourself when you're LGBTQ2S and in prison

Good day “Cell Count” readers, last issue I received the honour to see my article “sticking up for my LGBTQ2S community” in print and now I am proud to say that my article was very well received. I was approached by many friends, peers and strangers and congratulated, high fived and had my ego stroked. To the ones who I thought were friends and ignore me – “grow up”. And to the (only) one to walk past me outside the gym and pointed his finger at me in a mock gun position and pulled the trigger – LOL… “trix are for kids” and you do not scare me. Now! On to important matters. As I sit here in my cell with my beautiful trans cell partner, I am listening to Slipknot’s first album with a million things swirling in my head, and most importantly I’d like all to know that my new drug is activism and non-profits and I love the fact that my voice can be used to help or save someone. I’m here for my community 1000% and I’ve got a ton of riends who know how important my word is to me. So, since PASAN published my last article, my LGBTQ2S group grew by 7. To some, 7 may not seem like much, but in this joke of a prison, with the homophobic population running the show, 7 is awesome and I am super proud of those 7. Next step, a Pride event this summer and a paid advo- cate and support position. If other joints don’t have an LGBTQ2S group and you are like me and want to start one, it’s easier than you think. Put a request in to “Social Development” and a second into the

Photo by not brittany shh pls on Unsplash
Photo by not brittany shh pls on Unsplash

warden stating that you don’t wish any special treatment, you’d just like to start an LGBTQ2S support group so that the community in your prison has somewhere to vent, to ask for help, to feel safe or to find others like yourself so others know that they are not alone. It’s no different than any other group, no matter if it’s BIFA or Euro-Canadian, etc. You are entitled to this privilege just like all the other groups. Then write a proposal covering why you think cons would benefit from such a group. Anything you hold close to your heart is feasible, don’t be afraid to open up and try to get a list of signatures from friends, confidants and others who would support this idea, this would be very helpful in your struggle. The rest boys and girls will fall into place, it’s a human rights issue, trust me, CSC wants to refuse you. I en- courage you if you care considering this – like any other race, community,

religion or belief, it’s not OK to hurt or belittle us. Our suffering falls in line with all others who have suffered. Our pain does not play second fiddle to anything and just how racism spews bullshit and cowardly non- sense, so does homophobic hatred and violence. If someone doesn’t un- derstand our hearts and minds work, that’s OK. Just ask, just don’t listen to the uneducated, cowardly haters. Before I move on with my raging and raving, I’d like to give a shout- out and a silent hug to a couple of cons that have passed away as of late. Stephen Hill, Mike “Fallsy” Fall and “The Henke” brothers. You will be missed, you are loved and thank you for being a part of my life. Now, moving on to all my sexually active cons in federal custody. On the mar- ket right now is a medication called “Truvada” (PrEP). At first it was used as a treatment for HIV. I think it was simply a part of the cocktail given to patients. But now, through science,

testing, etc…yada yada, it proves to be a good preventative medication. Like condoms and everything in this world, there is never a guarantee. But! Truvada has proved itself able to prevent the transmission of HIV-1. Great strides have come in fighting this disease, and now a preventative medicine even. Speaking from experience, the side effects are minimal to none (on me at least). I am negative, I am also on Truvada and intend to continue it. Now! Does CSC cover it? YES! They do and don’t let them tell you differently. Only 2 more things I’d like to touch on, the first being “PASAN/ Cell Count”. Listen! These people have helped me and held my hand through a ton of shit over the last 14 years. Every call returned, every letter as well, and every question answered.


Bay by some mail thief that read my mail was easy, I’m here to tell you differently…But some super sick

you think being outed in Collins

friends and PASAN got me through and to the level of Pride I now am at, so if you can ever give back to PASAN or help in any way…Do so! Last item on today’s (this issue’s) rant. Homo-/transphobia is not a dis- ease. I don’t feel sorry or respect any of them. It is a learned or followed behaviour. At best, in my eyes, some- one can be confused or just not quite understand homosexuality, but are willing to try to. But, you wanna talk shit about me/us, jump and hurt me/

us or belittle or assault us, then that is not confused nor is it a disease. It is the behaviour of a coward or a follower who doesn’t have a mind of their own. Like I’ve said a million times before: “I am kind and gener- ous, I’m not a rat or sexual predator and I don’t have a debt in any joint in Canada or anywhere else.” Beyond that, my word is fucking gold. Those are the points I should be judged upon. As a gay man, and as much as

I got picked on and beat up because

I am gay…I’m still alive for a reason.

I am not afraid of anyone and am

proud to be the man that I am. We all should be. Something that just popped into my head – sorry, last thing I prom- ise – there is no such thing as gay for pay or gay for the stay. Male or female, if you have any kind of sexual contact with a member of the same sex; if you, or they cum and it is truly consensual, you are bicurious at best… True story my phobic friends.

Just cuz it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s true LMFAO. Stand Tall Stand Proud, You’re not alone.

7 // news on the block


Black History in America

By Christ Kennedy The civil war that devastated the fledgling American republic and ravaged its countryside resulted in southern reconstruction, the KKK, Jim Crow laws and black emancipation. Yet a century later African Americans had only traded their iron shackles for the shackles of poverty. America’s black leaders rose up and spoke out. Men like Elijah Mohammad, John

Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr. took center stage in a fight for a better life, better housing, jobs, health care and education in what history calls the Civil Rights movement, a movement that united the black community in a fight for equal rights. The police brutality that erupted into L.A.’s Watt’s Riot incited Huey Newton and his Black Panther Party to take advantage of California’s open-carry laws to arm themselves and intimidate the police to ensure that black men were not brutalized during routine arrests. Rather than destroying their own neighborhoods in riot, they demanded better hous- ing, education and freedom from police brutality while remaining with-

in the law. The Black Panther Party’s

community mindedness, which had been previously adopted by black gangsters as fierce as Chicago’s Vice Lords in the 1950s, brought badly needed lunch programs and health clinics to their neighbourhoods. While the sons of WWII veterans were needed to fight in the jungles of Vietnam, black celebrities began

to rise for their due of acclaim. And when Corporate America compared the threat of teenagers being influ- enced by black artists like Fats Dom- ino, James Brown or Chuck Berry, to seeing leaders such as an articulate black militant like Malcolm X or an educated leader as charismatic as Martin Luther King, Jr. and his powerful ‘I had a Dream’ speeches, ‘My Ding-a-Ling’ won the contest and ‘Johnny B. Goode, who never ever learned to read or write so well’ be- came the cultural images approved by the white corporate promoters, just as Malcolm X had recognised when he said that black people were “scientifically manoeuvred by the white man into a life of poverty”. As James H. Cone reports, it was the fear of a Black Muslim uprising that kept Malcolm X from destruction at the hands of white Americans who loathed the thought of an organised and educated black tide in America. The northern black perspective of Malcolm X’s militant and violent call to arms is what made Martin Luther King, Jr.’s southern pacifist mes- sage palatable but when Malcolm

X criticized capitalism, his bombed

out home and other gentle warnings became lethal. In the age of McCa- rthyism, Roosevelt’s New Deal had Corporate America, feeling neutered by the sudden appearance of the EPA & SEC, co-opt Christian America into painting socialist programs that help the poor, as a sin against God’s 8th Commandment, ‘thou shalt not steal’ and that a poor man decry- ing his poverty committed the sin of coveting his neighbour’s house. While Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, and his pillar of strength Jerry Falwell, gave the Koch brothers’ message of greed a Christian bent, Malcolm X could speak against Chris-

tianity calling it a tool used to enslave black people and not suffer too dire

a reprimand from the white man. But

when Malcolm spoke of ‘capitalist blood-suckers’ in November 1964, the Nation of Islam’s estranged and

continued on p. 8

Dead Memoriez #2

Islam’s estranged and continued on p. 8 Dead Memoriez #2 By Forgotten Warrior I just stepped

By Forgotten Warrior

I just stepped outta the cab, here

I was Main & Hastingz, one summer

day heading 2 count 4 a soft case. I ran into one of the girlz I knew from

the dope housez of east hastingz street. I was clean & sober, had a nice house. My friend, she had been up 2 many dayz. I ran across her heading

2 court, she was up 2 long, looking 2

nest up. I asked her if she wanted 2 forward 2 Nanaimo 2 the house I was renting out, and have a rest from the game, get a grip on her health, and get some much-needed rest. Now this was a rider! A money

maker, a solid Katty who had a heart of gold. Her and I used 2 sit in the bar and have deep conversationz 4 hourz for the life we led. She was one of the many who you couldn’t judge by the lookz, her sad story was the same one thatz occurring every day across Klanada. Every day dirtbagz are de- stroying beautiful innocent livez and feeding the shreetz lost soulz.

I alwayz reminded her of her

brainz, how connected she was 2 social issuez. We’d do a smash of down, hit a hotel room and nod out 2gether, talkin and talkin and more talkin, alwayz talkin, about every- thing, about the streetz, the trickz who were dangerous, the dope, who had good, who to stay away from, then about our own livez, what was goin on. It was as beautiful 2 know someone so deep and trust with no questionz. I was her sounding board, someone who wasn’t alwayz trying some way 2 get something from her. Her friendship, companionship was enough. She was always someone who no matter what, could always have a good conversation, a breath of fresh

air in the streetz so when I asked her if she’d forward 2 my crib, she was

2 deep in the dope. Had me spend

the day with her gettin into deep topicz while we were high. After we

spent the day 2gether, she spoke

of forwarding to the crib on the next trip 2 court, so I gave my girl a big hug, a kiss and told her that no matter what, that she was loved and always had a place 2 chill any time she wanted it. Just page me and it all be good.

So then the day forwarded 4 me 2

hit court once again and after hit the bar lookin for my friend, well nobody seen her around, here I am wander- ing the block paging peepz. Then I saw it, taped 2 a telephone pole – her picture, her information, her pres- ence! All down 2 wordz on a paper taped 2 a pole in a city of sorrow and pain. Another dead memory in my head the pain and loss of true friendz

– the friendz we lost, true friendz,

peepz who were old school, depend- able and good 2 their word- gone unjustly. Gone before their time, many friendz and family left behind 2 bare the pain of their loss, the loss

of friends that are never 4gotten, the hurt of wordz left unsaid, doubt of wondering if enough was done 2 prevent their fate. Another friend gone, another dead memory within my head, dead memoriez that will never be forgotten or eased by time, always in my thoughtz every year round the time whe went gone, so much pain 2 much 2 express! Just no way in put- ting it into wordz, always tell those in your life what you feel, what they mean 2 you. Don’t hold back you never know what fate might hold, love when you can love and never let go of love cuz there may come a time when 2morrow may never come. Then itz 2 late, and lastly 2 all of our Native women, you will never be forgotten, you touched 2 many livez with your power. Respect always my

Red sisterz – Forgotten Warrior xxx

Love & Generosity

By Grizzly Bear All my life I have loved with all my

heart, mind, body and soul. Every woman

I have been with you see, loving people

comes naturally to me, like breathing. When I fall for a girl I fall hard and truthful- ly. I have had many relationships - most have ended or been put on hold due to me going to jail or prison, some I have started when on the run from the law on my way to jail. A few could be considered like Bonnie & Clyde type relationships, where it ends up with me in the back seat of a cop car, and in court, taking all the charges for the lucky girl I was with. In all my years of crime, love and pain, I have broken a few hearts. Mine for years was shattered and I built a brick wall out of

the pieces and put it around what was left

of my heart. There are still a lot of those girls grown into women & ladies who have families of their own, that still hold a soft spot for me in their heart, others are still in love with me, but all of them still miss me. You might read this and think

I’m conceited but it’s the truth. Why? Cuz

I treated them all with love and respect.

In some cases I was the knight in rusted

armour that saved them from trouble or

a bad boyfriend or abusive father or took

them away from their troubled life for a time and treated them like royalty and showed them a great time. My generosity has no bounds, even though most of my money came from crime or drug dealing,

I still spent it with or on all the “friends’

around me. I share everything, even today, 11 years into a 24 year sentence in a Max Prison, I am kind, respectful and generous with what I do & have. I wear my heart on my sleeve, my right arm is covered in tattoos of family members, some lost to the sky, some still struggling in the streets, others have been blessed with kids and a family of their own. You see the way the Roussau family was raised is to be polite, respectful, and to never raise a hand to a woman or be disrespectful to elders, or anyone. In truth, even in my life, I was still the guy to help with carrying someone’s heavy bag or to open the door for an old lady. I’m quick

concrete blossoms
concrete blossoms

A column for self-identi- fied women, genderqueer and non-binary folks.

By Mary Ellen Young This photo is of me. I’m 37. I’ve lived in Winnipeg, Crosslake, and Bloodvein, Manitoba and can speak both the Soto and Cree languages.

Because my parents went off to university while I was at a young age,

I lived with my auntie. There was a

lot of abuse in my auntie’s home, and to escape it I’d go to my granny’s place to tell her, or I’d just run away completely. My cousins would be sent to look for me but they could never find me. When my mom finally came back

I was so relieved and happy. During this time, my mom enrolled me in a school where I met the daughter of one of the teachers. The daughter was a fancy dancer and she taught me how to do it too! It became my dream to get an outfit, regalia and dance at a Pow Wow. I finally went to one in Sioux Valley! I had a beautiful fancy dance outfit that my Granny

made for me and I won first place! This was the happiest I’d ever been

growing up. Things started to get worse after my mother decided to leave my father. When I was 11 or 12 and living in Crosslake, I saw my mom at our home rushing around packing stuff up. She told us to get in the car. I hid in a bush instead because I didn’t want to leave my dad alone like that. She called out my name and looked for me but I didn’t come out. So, she drove off. I went inside to tell my dad that mom had left him with the other kids and our things, but that I had stayed. My father is an alcoholic to this day, and during the year I stayed with him, while he was out drinking, I would drink and smoke weed. Eventually, my mother came back and took me to Winnipeg. I contin-

ued to drink and smoke weed. I’d

also hang out at an arcade called Las Vegas and a bar called Club Morocco.

I met people quickly when I hung

out at these places and it wasn’t long before I got involved with gang members and their house parties. I ran in these circles for some years

until I got pregnant for the first time at age 15. I got my own place and lived on my own until I was 17. I was independent, and eventually I had 5 kids. I have two grandchildren now. The father of my first kids took off to Saskatchewan when I was 18. He took the kids with him without telling me. I waited for them at home and when I realized they weren’t coming back, I cried and cried. He never even called.

I went out to a bar and ended up

meeting a guy named Shortman. I told him I wanted weed but he said he only had some back at his place, so I went there with him. I ended up with a crack pipe in my mouth. We also ended up in a relationship for

the next several months. Once all of his dope and money dried up, to the point where he couldn’t pay the rent, he told me I had to find somewhere else to stay. At this point I went off to the street, where I saw how girls made money as sex workers. I wanted

crack, so when I guy called me over I agreed to stay at his place with him for the night. The next day I was on my own again, so I built up the ener- gy to become a sex worker. I told my- self that it’s so simple and that I could do this. I would stand on the corner and get picked up, do my thing, and

get paid. I didn’t mind it for awhile. It felt like easy money and I met lots of cool people in the drug scene. There were a few close encounters where I almost died though. One guy sexually assaulted me and threatened to kill me when he was done. He told me he had killed before. He tried to kill me but I defended myself and luckily survived.

I have an appeal coming up and

am going for manslaughter. I would get out after time served, maybe in a year or less. I don’t want to go back to the same lifestyle. I’ve never had

a job or even a driver’s license. I hav-

en’t finished school either. All I know is straight street life. I only know

how to make fast money. I want to

learn to live a different way though because I don’t want to come back here. Thanks for reading my story,

I hope you learned a little bit about me from it.

because I don’t want to come back here. Thanks for reading my story, I hope you

with a smile and a “good morning” or “good day”. In fact, I have learned to say “good morning” and “good night” in 10 languages. When it comes to love & generosity, I’m loyal to both. I love to a fault and will liter- ally give the shirt off my back to someone in need. I have put others first my whole life. I have taken charges and done most of my life in prison for crimes that were in some ways to “help” my friends. This last sentence almost cost me my life, in more ways than I can write. When I love, I love

hard, when I’m in love I love my life and all around me, love is one of the most powerful feelings one can feel. The love of a mother to a child is one of

the most cherished and unconditional, like

a diamond. The love of a father to a son is

one that can and will stay true, like a rock. The love of siblings is love of respect, trust, faith, built stronger with time, troubles and tribulations. The love of a husband & wife is only one step away from the love of your life. The love of God should be the love of your life.

8 // news on the block


Harm, State Intervention & a New Social Order-Let’s Talk

By Nick Paccione The other day I received from a friend a letter containing a question for me to ponder. I offered a re- sponse with which I was, and remain dissatisfied. In further thinking about the matter, I realized how relevant it was to complex issues dealing with both personal and social trans- formation and how much I could potentially learn from you, and we from one another. You will therefore find below both the question and my response, in relation to which you are invited to share your thoughts and ideas, whether through a printed article or a letter sent directly to me at the address provided. Question This question is about Ella [not real name], who is a poor, brown trans- woman who’s been around for over 10 years in the queer & activist com- munities. Ella has sexually assaulted and harassed numerous women during these years. She targets queer, feminist women because of their unwillingness to report violence at the hands of a poor transwoman of colour. The survivors have dis- closed their experiences anonymous- ly to a few organizations who tried to enact restorative justice methods instead of resorting to the injustice system, but Ella’s always played coy. When privately confronted about her actions, she minimizes everything and shifts the topic to her own expe- rience with oppression. No accountability methods have worked. The police are not an option because it would mean discrimina- tion and violence, which has been my own experience with the police as a white, middle-class transwoman and activist - so imagine someone like Ella! Plus, I’m an abolitionist. The only idea we’ve had is to shun

her until she changes her behaviour, and to spread the word that she can’t be trusted. She’s already been banned from a few places, but I think

this might make things worse. I hate this. We all do. Ella is fundamentally

a good person who’s done tremen-

dous work in the community and has helped many, but she obviously has a very serious problem that has caused her to hurt many as well. This must stop. What can we do? My response Re: Ella - oof, that’s a tough one. Mutual support and protection are obviously essential. Also, you might consider lovingly approaching Ella with a series of op- tions for help (she might be an out- of-control sex addict, in which case the option of Sex Addicts Anonymous could be included) and then offered

the choice of opting for help or facing police intervention and therefore possibly prison. At the very least, she must be made to understand that while you all want to help her, her harmful behaviour will no longer be tolerated. “But Nick,” you might be thinking,

“I told you police intervention isn’t

an option.” Yeah, I know, but I’m not sure I agree. Look, I agree that police and prisons are at their root, all about oppression and control and that we must speak boldly about abolishing these systems as they currently exist. But we must act prudently. We must erode the power of the state to violently intervene in our lives in proportion to the degree that we de- velop the community power to make us independent of the state and its false solutions to social problems, otherwise we end up with chaos and possibly even worse evils. This restructuring process re-

quires that we look beyond the old reform-abolition dichotomy or resist seeing reforms uniquely in terms of their amenability to corruption by oppressive elites, and that we instead advance reformist methods strategi-

cally towards the long-term revolu- tionary goals of abolition and social transformation. Each little reform,

each little victory, makes us stronger, bolder, more demanding and less willing to compromise on matters essential to freedom, equality, and justice for all -until, before we know it, the walls of power are pushed far back enough to allow for a new social order to spread and to eventually supplant the old. The development of this new social order requires our challenging and finding remedies to structures of oppression (patriarchy, capitalism, racism, ableism, militarism, hetero-


violence. Crucially, more work needs to be done to address sexual domination

and the glorification of violence, with the interplay of mass media and op- pressive structures clearly implicat-

ed, and with the patriarchal nuclear family loudly called out for what

it is - the central site of sexualized

violence and of learned heterosex- ist and domineering attitudes and behaviours. Relatedly we need a wider diver- sity of familial arrangements, chosen to suit individual needs and freed of the imposition of standardized roles and routinized relationships. Not unrelatedly, we need more building of community ties, of com- munity trust, of community support systems. We need to multiply centres of community life and press for a reshaping of the social order along decentralized lines so that more non-


that foster social harm and

violent and non-oppressive actions can initiate the revitalization of the community. We also need to do more work on breaking old patterns of domi- nation and creating new patterns of mutual exchange and democratic decision-making; on transmuting old energies based on hate, indifference, and prejudice into new energies based on a real sense of community; on cultivating human resources like love, trust, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, confidence, imagination, leadership, responsibility, under- standing, self-control, self-reliance and kindness. All this work and so much more besides is required if we hope to create a more just, humane, and genuinely democratic social order. But it is a process, and it requires prudence. And it is in this spirit of prudence that, in the case of Ella, I suggest police intervention as a last re- sort. If Ella’s like most people, she probably wants help but is too proud, ashamed, afraid, addicted, traumatized, or whatever to seek or accept it. A “firm nudge” in the right direction could help.

But if police intervention is re- sorted to, then it is crucial that you smother Ella with love and support because she’ll need it! And in court, double down on that love and support. Include the survi- vors. You mentioned their willingness to enact restorative justice process- es. Now’s the time to really press for this. Have the survivors themselves speak against punishment and pris- on and instead plead for restoration and healing, welcoming the state in the role of facilitator, if need be. Let them themselves suggest alterna- tives to incarceration - alternatives

that, along with restorative justice processes, might include partial house arrest, monitoring, counsel- ling, and sex rehab/treatment in the community. Convince the judge that the community is fully prepared to help in Ella’s rehabilitation in whatev- er way possible. Talk about the intersectional expe- rience of oppression and the trauma it could cause and has caused Ella. Use the court as a platform to voice grievances and to highlight condi- tions of oppression. The media will eat it up, with the masses getting an edifying glimpse of the deep human- ity of the community and of what a more humanitarian form of justice could look like. Of course, there’s always a chance that Ella gets locked up. If that happens, you hunker down on your love and support. You write to her regularly, visit her, send her money as well as useful & helpful literature (if she can’t receive books, photocopy them dozens of pages at a time), contact relevant persons on the in- side (warden, chaplain, psychologist, parole officer) to voice your support and to initiate restorative justice pro- cesses, find treatment for her on the outside - in short, you do everything you can to support and encourage Ella and to help her to come out and to stay out. Well, that was it - my response, about which I continue to sec- ond-guess myself. I’m especially bothered by my having suggested police intervention as a last resort, but I’m not sure it was entirely wrong in this case. What do you all think about this - about any of it? I’ve already learned so much from you all and look forward to learning so much more and evolving in the process. Peace and love.

A look at Black History in the United States of America

cont'd from page 7 wayward son was assassinated in February, before the end of the next financial quarter. That left Martin to travel north with his dream and finally witness the truth about desegregation and equality in the squalor of Malcolm’s nightmare of black Chicago, Detroit and New York. His soft stance on communism became a cry for Dem- ocratic Socialism when he criticized America for spending $500,000 to kill one foreign enemy in Vietnam while refusing to spend more than $50 to raise one American child out of poverty predicting that “the nation would be destroyed by its own moral contradictions”. With Malcolm’s rhetoric silenced, Martin’s recent warming to Dem- ocratic Socialism would soon see him shot. The day after he was shot, the memory of the Watt’s Riot still fresh, James Brown’s Boston Garden concert was televised nationwide by the Johnson administration to manoeuvre the black community into staying home to watch the concert on TV rather than protest in the streets. Anyone who may have been inclined to take to the streets in pro- test against the wrongful shooting of a popular black leader was invited to watch his television set where the injustice carried out against his own community was promptly dulled by the appearance of a black man playing Rock n’ Roll on white televi- sion. And so ended the Civil Rights Movement. Since the police brutality that opposed the activism of the freedom riders and peaceful protesters in Montgomery brought sympathy to the plight of the black community,

state violence was unlikely to quell the protests once they’d started. Better tactics were needed to keep lawful social activism from becom- ing an effective means of change and when the riot police and their attack dogs proved to be too bloody to remain effective an alternate dream was proffered to break-up the Civil Rights movement. What better dream could be offered to disband a united community than fame when fame is the only public resource, that is wanted by all, but cannot be equitably shared. What America fears most is an ed- ucated, organised black community armed with the truth to fire its anger. Television, and its obvious power to influence the people became the stage which divided the commu- nity like slaves who worked in the master’s house vs in the fields. But instead of all the slaves in the field picking cotton feeling resentment for the ‘pampered’ house slaves, youths of today can look up to, admire and wish to emulate the rich, glamorous pop-idols they see on TV that look like them and come from the same ghettoes as them. Art’s power to control life was experienced with the power of the media to control the images and back stories of the select few stars who are glamour- ized, idolized and, most importantly, imitated so that kids watching can buy the pipe-dream of stardom sold by the rich pop-stars who shunned education and slam honest labour. TV, commercial radio and Hollywood, promote the ghetto-life in music videos and movies for kids to see their favourite artists and believe that what they need to do to attain

the easy life of fame, fortune & glory

is to be gangsta, sling crack, pimp

hoes and flash their rock bejewelled pipes in their own poverty-stricken

neighbourhoods. While a dozen are plucked from poverty, shown life beyond the tracks and kept tethered to their promoters by promises of success if they stay in line while being reminded of the tragic endings of Tupac & Biggie, the glamorous images of the very few seen by the very many encourages millions of

young kids from the ghettoes, to take

a fast track to life in prison, death

row and the morgue if only to prove Malcolm X wrong when he said, “you can’t get anywhere in life without an education.” MTV has seen black-on-black vio- lence escalate since its inception. By promoting uneducated black art- ists who rise from the ghetto, unedu- cated black kids wishing to attain the status of their heroes, throw the dice at life on the streets, shun school themselves and look for ‘respect’ from their peers as they are manoeu- vred to compete against each other in their crack-infested, gun addicted neighbourhoods. The common op- pressor of poverty remains faceless, economic slavery is fulfilled and freedom is dreamed of in pop songs, which encourage the disenfranchised to brutalize each other reaching for the slender crust of pie. There just isn’t enough for everyone and it wouldn’t be the same if there was. So while black Africans see America as an oasis from their plight of poverty, African-Americans throw away their birthright to the free basic education and honest employment, the Black Panther Party and other Civil Rights

leaders fought for n the ‘60s, for the

mirage of hip-hop fame. Gone are the Freedom-Songs, replaced by the powerful voice of hip-hop, which has fractured into glory seeking individu- ality the once united community that formerly had its eye on equality. Once convicted for any felony crime, such as simple drug posses- sion, a felon is unemployable with no right to collect food stamps or vote to try to change his economic plight outside the realm of the criminal world. Where the old Jim Crow

was blatant and overt, as Michelle Anderson reports, ‘Whites Only’ segregation was transformed into the semblance of equality of the New Jim Crow. Crack, which is flooded into the ghettoes to manoeuvre black youths to shoot each other in gang wars for its lucrative street-level control, is 100 times less expensive than cocaine, 100 times more harshly convicted than cocaine, and results in 100s of 100s times more blacks being labelled felons for consuming it than whites for consuming cocaine. The War on Drugs has resulted in a disproportionate number of black men incarcerated inside super-pris- ons located in white suburbs. Prison populations being counted in the white suburban communities where they are located artificially inflate the populations of those communities which are then reflected in the coun- try’s representational government and electoral colleges. Not only do felons in the US not vote but the dis- proportionate number of black men in the prison system gives the rural white vote more weight and allows a white demagogue like Donald Trump get elected president of the United

States. Today’s open-carry laws allow any- one to arm themselves with the most powerful weapon an oppressed com- munity can have, the mobile phone and its ability to record the police. As police brutality in the ‘60s fuelled the anger of the Civil Rights move- ment, so again today it has resulted in the Black Lives Matter movement, which has rallied black people across America into demonstrations not seen in decades. But consider this, the half dozen unforgiveable deaths of black men at the hands of white police each year, as tragic as they are, are but a drop in the ocean of violence plaguing American streets today where black youths kill each other in gang warfare at a rate of several hundred gun-related deaths daily! It is then no wonder that the white dominated NRA is the single most powerful voice blocking gun legislation, because such legislation could help prevent young urban kids from feeling the crack-like instant gratification of power the act of holding a heavy piece of cold steel as addictive as a gun can have, instead of striving for the life-long empow- erment of the good education black community leaders once dreamed of before everybody’s heads were turned by crack, guns, gangs and the unattainable fruit of fame.

Some book suggestions:

New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Anderson Martin & Malcolm, James H. Cone One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Made Christian America Malcolm X

9 // art

CELL COUNT//ISSUE 84//SPRING 2018 Prisoner health report summary Continued from page 9 reality is far
Prisoner health report
Continued from page 9
reality is far different. Over half of
almost 4000 complaints received
from those incarcerated in Ontario’s
prisons in 2016–2017 were about
health care, including lacking access
to doctors, delays in treatment, or
problems receiving medication. It
suggests three solutions to these
unfortunately common complaints.
1) Harm reduction & substance use
The reality is that drugs can, and do
enter prisons, in Canada and around
the world, and so this report touches
on harm reduction measures that
can improve health of people in
prison. One way to do this is through
needle and syringe programs, which
reduces sharing of drug equipment.
This, in turn, reduces transmission of
HIV and HCV, reduces overdoses, and
doesn't increase drug consumption.
These programs also support people
who are failed the most by the sys-
tem, such as Indigenous prisoners.
Another harm reduction effort is
opioid substitution treatment - taking
substances like methadone or subox-
one that can help people transition
out of using drugs. The problem is
that there's no way to start treatment
in prison settings unless you're preg-
nant- a huge and unacceptable gap
between the treatment people get in
the community vs. in prison settings.
The use of naloxone is another im-
portant piece of harm reduction. The
opioid crisis has reached the level of
public health disaster, with 4000
Canadians dying of overdose in 2017
alone. Naloxone can temporarily
reverse overdoses, and people in the
community are encouraged to carry
it, even if they're not drug users.
That's not the case in prison. Ensur-
ing all people in prison have access
to naloxone and training on how to
use it will save lives.
2) HIV, Stigma & Discrimination
Even though about 1–2% of men
and 1–9% of women in prisons are
living with HIV, fear & discrimination
causes misinformation that make
getting the facts about HIV transmis-
sion difficult.
This report suggests trainings that
dispel myths about HIV be available
to everyone, and that prisoners are
never segregated for any reason,
including on their HIV status. As well,
prison interrupts access to doctors or
specialists, causes delays in treat-
ment and problems with receiving
medication for people living with HIV.
3) Safer Tattooing & Chronic Pain
Sharing needles, tattooing and pierc-
ing equipment contributes to high
rates of infection for things like HIV
HCV, but no action plan for safer
tattooing in prison has been put in
place, even though it's been proven
through studies to reduce harm
and enhance the health and safety
of everyone. The report urges the
government to start safer tattooing
programs that listen to people with
lived experience on the subject.
As well, chronic, disabling pain is a
reality for many people in prison, and
even though it's been recognized as
fundamental human right in the
community, people in prison trying
to access pain meds get labelled
as 'drug seekers'. Inappropriate
withholding of pain medications is
an infringement of prisoners’ human
The gap between the healthcare
people have access to in prison vs
the community is still so devastat-
ingly huge. Completely missing are:
needle programs, opioid substitu-
tion therapy, naloxone for all, safe
tattooing programs, pain manage-
ment programs and non-stigmatizing
approaches to HIV education.
"Peace of Heart" © Gerry Saulnier©
Louie Rebelo

10 // art

CELL COUNT//ISSUE 84//SPRING 2018 © Jeremy Hall
© Jeremy Hall

11 // health and harm reduction


PASAN fundraiser 'Save Our Skins' a big success

By Sena Hussain Tattooing inside is no small feat:

the risks involved, getting the equip- ment together, and going under the radar in a place where it is banned. Because artists inside do not have access to the proper equipment and inks, the risks of transmitting blood- borne illnesses such as HIV and even more so, HepC are much higher in- side of prisons than in studios on the outside. Many tattoo artists on the outside are unaware of the risks that artists inside have to take, as well as those who get tattooed. This is where Save Our Skins comes in, to bridge the knowledge gap between tattoo artists on the

to bridge the knowledge gap between tattoo artists on the Tattoo on Lauren Moses-Brettler by Lazer

Tattoo on Lauren Moses-Brettler by Lazer Wizard

outside and what the circumstances are for those in prison. Over the month of May 2018, PASAN recruited several artists and studios to partici- pate in a fundraiser for our orga- nization, as well as an awareness campaign around prison tattooing. The campaign ended up raising just under $5000. Through social media sites like Instagram and Facebook, as well as talking to artists and their clients in person, we showed work that was sent in from artists inside and started conversations to connect the outside tattoo communities in Toronto with what is going on inside prisons. "Safer tattooing means so much to me. When I heard there was an

initiative toward progressive efforts for tattooing in prisons and ex-pris- oners to mark their skin in safe ways I was definitely on board. I am so happy to say my participation in this

on board. I am so happy to say my participation in this Tattoo by soft point

Tattoo by soft point

fundraiser has raised awareness amongst my following and friends as well as patrons who came to me without knowledge of participating and a percentage of the payment going to the cause. I hope to contin- ue to support these efforts!!" said

crybabyqlub, a participating artist. On Instagram, scratch pepper wrote: "I raised a totall of $270 for donation to SOS over the course of the fundraiser! Thank you so much to everyone who participated, clients and fellow artists alike. This cause really hits close to home and I am so grateful for the opportunity to support PASAN's efforts in some small way." "I'm a nursing student and imple- menting anti-oppressive practices

is something I'm truly passionate

about!" said Kieran, someone who got tattooed as part of Save Our Skins. "I got a tattoo by rat at Wild World Ink for Save Our Skins. When I first heard about it I knew I wanted to

participate. It's a cause I truly believe

is important. Especially in prison

there is so little to do but a lot of prisoners find art, if it's music, poetry or tattooing is a big culture, and no one deserves to get infected while

getting art on their body to get them through a hard time or remember loved ones. I think regardless all humans deserve respect, especially those that some people in society shun," said another participant. Artists inside sent their works to us so we could display the type of talent that we see inside. Jeremy H., Brendan R., Kyle Inkman, Forgotton Warrior, Joey T., Brian K., Patricia C. and Louie R. all kindly contributed art, which we featured on our social media pages, website and at a fund- raising party. We talked to some folks inside about their reasons and/or meanings

to some folks inside about their reasons and/or meanings Tattoo by crybabyqlub behind their tattoos, and

Tattoo by crybabyqlub

behind their tattoos, and this is what they had to say:

"I got bored, there was nothing to do so I started tattooing myself," said Nathan M. "My tattoos on my face all repre- sent someone who died. People think that the teardrops on my face mean that I killed someone. They don't.

on my face mean that I killed someone. They don't. Tattoo on Jack by rat Tattoo

Tattoo on Jack by rat

that I killed someone. They don't. Tattoo on Jack by rat Tattoo on Hala by Tee

Tattoo on Hala by Tee

One represents my son passing away and the other is about losing my hero, my dad," said Dan H. "I got my all my kids' names, I've got two tattoos for my mother who died. I got a ram because I'm Aries. Every one of mine means some- thing," said Luke B. "The skull represents the loss of our brothers and sisters inside over the years. The guns represent even though we're locked up, we're still fighting for our rights. The bars are broken because we still have a chance for freedom," said Fred. "I got mine in Sask Pen and it's the 7 Grandfather teachings. I like to walk the red road in a good way. I fol- low the 7 teachings: honesty, respect, trust, wisdom, humility, bravery and love," Pathways member and aspir- ing youth councilor, Kevin H. Kevin H. added: "to the youth inside: there's a different pathway you can take to get out of this cycle. It's better for yourself to do your own time and work on yourself inside because it's better in the long-run. Believe me." "I got a cross but I didn't like it on my hand, so I got a guy to use char- coal as the tattoo pigment to cover up the cross. And now you can't find it anywhere. My dad has 175 tattoos on his body," said Albert G. "Everything I've gotten represents my family or my children. I came in with 3 and I have 17 now. It feels like they're with me, giving me strength," said Bobby G. "All my tattoos represent things I've done in life, culture, the things I've done. I can explain my life story

through my tattoos. I'm Aboriginal so I have a lot of Aboriginal tattoos," Nolan T. "I got praying hands for my mom and dad because I'm always praying for them. For their health. I'm in for life so I want them to be ok because I'm not there with them to help," said Froggy. "It gives me a release. It gives me

a way to make money and putting

a nice piece of art out there," said Epson. PASAN would like to thank all the

there," said Epson. PASAN would like to thank all the Tattoo on Kieran by Tee artists,

Tattoo on Kieran by Tee

artists, inside and out, who helped make Save Our Skins such a success. We are excited to continue having these discussions and pushing for a harm reduction approach towards tattooing inside, which would in turn help reduce the disproportionately higher rates of HIV and HCV inside prisons. It also creates skill-building opportunities and artistic outlets that benefit mental health, feelings of self-expression and self-worth inside. We want to thank all the artists inside, as well as those who par- ticpated and volunteered: Soft Point, Rat666tat, Toby Sicks, Joey Ramona, Sedated Reality, rat, Scratchpep- per, Rowan Aurora, Sister Piff, Tee, Inkdigenous Tattoo, Outcast Club, The Okey Doke and Crybaby Qlub," said a PASAN statement about Save Our Skins.

PASAN will continue to update the Save Our Skins Instagram page with art that you submit to us. Just make a note that you would like to have your art featured and how you'd like to be credited."

Harm Reduction a lot of internal pain and shame. What I have noticed with these
Harm Reduction
a lot of internal pain and shame.
What I have noticed with these
ple featuring recipes, stories, images, and more!
Ideas for Cookbook Contributions:
By Reginal Nixon
I have done a lot of time to think
and one thing that keeps coming
up is one common thing people
say, “what causes a person to do
self harm, and how can we change
the outcome.” I have spoke with a
lot of people that had an addiction
to either drugs or alcohol, and I ask
them why they do it? I have also
asked them if they realize that Harm
that they are doing to themselves
and they asked me what I meant, and
why I care?
The one problem that I see with
especially with people that abuse
prescription drugs because they
don’t realize the harm that they are
doing, not only to themselves but
to the person that’s medication that
they are taking. I find that a lot of
people that have an addiction to pre-
scription drugs were introduced to
the medication at a young age. I also
deal with people that do cutting of
themselves and they are dealing with
people is to try and find out what is
going on inside of them and become
their friend and show them that you
care. One of the biggest causes of
self-harm is bullying, which causes
•Food stories and memories
•Poetry or creative writing about food, cooking, or
sharing meals
•Commentary on food and access to food within
jails and prisons
a lot of people to become abusers
of drugs or alcohol and some of
them even get so overwhelmed and
discouraged and ashamed that they
kill themselves and far to often the
person is a youth.
I have spoke to some people in
jail and on the street that live the
GAY life and they have told me
about some of the members of the
LGBTQ community that do self harm
to themselves because of a lack of
help and no respect from family
and friends because of their lifestyle
choices, and they have asked me
what to do.
What I decided to do for the
people on the street was send them
addresses of organizations in their
area and give them names of people
that work there, that will help.
•Drawings or illustrations
•Collaborative works of writing/art
•Other ideas are welcome!
How to Submit
To contribute to the COOKBOOK, please give
your contribution to your contact (whoever told
you about this opportunity), or, if you have access
to email or snail mail, please send the original
document, or a photo/scan of your work to:
Chloe Taylor
Share Your Recipes & Food Stories!
By Chloe Taylor
While working with currently or
formerly incarcerated people, we have
learned about the restricted access
people within prisons have to quality
food, as well as the creative ways in
which incarcerated people share reci-
pes, ideas, and skills around food within
the walls of the institution. Inspired
by the imaginative ways in which food
knowledge and memories are shared,
as well as tasty meals, we hope to
compile a COOKBOOK co-authored by
currently or formerly incarcerated peo-
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
University of Alberta
1-17 Assiniboia Hall
Edmonton, AB T6G 2E7, Canada
In addition to your recipe, food story, food
memoir, commentary or artwork, please include
your name, contact information, and a brief
biography (a few sentences or paragraphs) telling
us about yourself.
We will try to find a publisher for this Cookbook! If
we find a publisher, we will ask for the individual
consent of all contributors to publish their work
and you will have the chance to approve of the
COOKBOOK in its final form before it is published.
You will also receive an author’s or artist’s copy
of the book once it is finished. If you are being
transferred or released, make sure to leave your
address so that we can send you a copy. We will
also contribute copies of the Cookbook to the
institutions from which we are soliciting contribu-

12 // resources & about pasan





Queen Street East, Toronto, M4M

FED - 1-877-900-2437 (#’s approved


1 est, rue Sherbrooke, Montréal, H2X 3V8 514-844-2477 COMITÉ des PERSONNES ATTEINTES du VIH du QUEBEC (CPAVIH)


2075 rue Plessis bureau 310, Montreal, H2L 2Y4 1-800-927-2844


2-SPIRITED PEOPLE of the 1ST NA- TIONS Accept collect calls

145 Front Street East Suite 105 Toron-

to, Ontario M5A 1E3 416-944-9300 AFRICANS in PARTNERSHIP AGAINST AIDS

No collect calls, call PASAN

526 Richmond St E, Toronto, M5A

1R3 416-924-5256 AIDS COMMITTEE of CAMBRIDGE, KITCHENER,WATERLOO & AREA Accept collect calls Have a toll-free number 2B-625 King St E, Kitchener, N2G

4V4 519-570-3687 (Collect), 1-877–770–



Accept collect calls, prefer that people use their 89 Dawson Rd, Unit 113, Guelph, N1H 3X2 1-800-282-4505; 519-763-2255 (Collect) AIDS COMMITTEE of NORTH BAY and AREA Accept collect calls 201-269 Main St W, North Bay, P1B 2T8 705-497-3560 (Collect) AIDS COMMITTEE of OTTAWA 700-251 Bank St, Ottawa, K2P 1X3 613- 238-5014 (Collect) or Toll Free (ON & QC only) 1-800-461-2182 AIDS COMMITTEE of THUNDER BAY

574 Memorial Ave, Thunder Bay,

P7B 3Z2 1-800-488-5840, 807-345-

1516 (Collect)


Accept collect calls from registered clients (Recommend that you get a case man- ager to get registered with them)

111 Church St, St Catharines, L2R

3C9 905-984-8684 or toll free 1-800-


ANISHNAWBE HEALTH AIDS PRO- GRAM No collect calls 255 Queen St E, Toronto, M5A 1S4 416-


ASIAN COMMUNITY AIDS SERVICE When prisoners call, they offer them small bursaries to cover their calling fees

107-33 Isabella St, Toronto, M4Y 2P7 416-963-4300 (Collect) BLACK COALITION for AIDS PREVEN- TION Accept collect calls

20 Victoria St, 4th Flr, Toronto, M5C

2N8 416-977-9955 (Collect) CANADIAN HIV/AIDS LEGAL NET- WORK Accept collect calls

1240 Bay St #600, Toronto, M5R 2A7 416- 595-1666 (Collect) FIFE HOUSE Accepts collect calls

490 Sherbourne St, 2nd Flr, Toronto,

M4X 1K9


HIV & AIDS LEGAL CLINIC OF ON. (HALCO) Accept collect calls

65 Wellesley St E, Toronto, M4Y

1G7 1-888-705-8889

HIV/AIDS REGIONAL SERVICES (HARS) Accept collect calls 844-A Princess St, Kingston, K7L 1G5 613-545-3698 (Collect) ONTARIO ABORIGINAL HIV/AIDS STRATEGY Accept collect calls 844-A Princess St, Kingston, K7L 1G5 613-549-7540 (Collect) PEEL HIV/AIDS NETWORK Accept collect calls

160 Traders Blvd, Unit 1, Mississauga,

L4Z 3K7

1-866-896-8700, 905-361-0523 (Collect) PETERBOROUGH AIDS RESOURCE NETWORK (PARN) Accept collect calls 302-159 King St, Peterborough, K9J 2R81-800-361-2895, 705-932-9110 (Col- lect) STREET HEALTH CENTRE Accept collect calls Hepatitis C Treatment Program 235 Wellington St, Kingston, K7K 0B5 613- 549-1440 (Collect) THE AIDS NETWORK (TAN) Don’t accept collect calls 101-140 King St E, Hamilton, L8N

1B2 905-528-0854 toll free 1-866-563-



Accept collect calls

277 Victoria St, Toronto, 416-392-0520


Accept collect calls from clients

200 Gerrard St E, 2nd Flr, Toronto, M5A

2E6 416-506-1400 Toronto Community Hep C Program Accept collect calls

by institutions and are NOT Collect Calls) Positive Living Society of BC Leita McInnis, Prison Outreach Worker

1101 Seymour St, 4th Floor, Vancou-

ver, BC V68 0R1 Fed: 1-877-900-2437 Prov: 604-525-8646 LINC 33270 14th Ave, Mission, BC, V2V 4Z7 1-877-424-4242 (BC only)


CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF ELIZA- BETH FRY SOCIETIES (Women) 701-151 Slater St. Ottawa, ON K1P 5H3 (613) 238-2422


440 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 200

Ottawa, ON K1R 7X6 Toll-free: 1-866-




555 Richmond St W #505, Toronto, ON

M5V 3B1

Prisoner Initiatives

PRISONERS UNITED ORGANIZATION Created by and for prisoners in the Canadian federal correctional system. Our purpose is to explore the ways in which both the experience and the outcome of incarceration may be enhanced. We welcome everyone to visit our website at prisonersunited. org. We encourage you to share your stories on our forum (prisonersunited. and our facebook page (

to shed light on the current practices and problems within the Canadian correctional system. BLACK INMATES & FRIENDS ASSEM- BLY

2518 Eglinton Avenue West

Toronto, Ontario M6M 1T1 ph (416) 652-3131 OUT OF BOUNDS MAGAZINE

6000 William Head Rd, Victoria, BC

V9C 0B5 JOURNAL OF PRISONERS ON PRIS- ONS c/o Justin Piché, PhD, Associate Profes- sor, Dept of Criminology University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5 PRISON FREE PRESS PO Box 39, Stn P Toronto, ON, M5S 2S6


Take collect calls

150 Bentinck St, Sydney, NS, B1P

1G6 902-567-1766 AIDS COALITION of NOVA SCOTIA Accept collect calls

1675 Bedford Row, Halifax, NS, B3J

1T11-800-566-2437, 902-425-4882 AIDS COMMITTEE of NEWFOUND- LAND & LABRADOR Take collect calls

47 Janeway Place, St. John’s, NL, A1A

1R7 1-800-563-1575 AIDS NEW BRUNSWICK

65 Brunswick St, Fredericton, NB, E3B

1G51-800-561-4009, 506-459-7518 AIDS PEI Take collect calls

2-375 University Ave, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 4N4 902-566-2437 AIDS SAINT JOHN Don’t accept collect calls 115 Hazen St, NB, E2L 3L3 506-652-



1-800 565 4255 3-15 Alderney Dr, Dartmouth, NS, B2Y 2N21-800-565-4255, 902-492-4255 MAINLINE NEEDLE EXCHANGE

Calls from within Nova Scotia are free Don’t accept collect calls

5511 Cornwallis St, Halifax, NS, B3K

1B3 902-423-9991


150 Bentnick St, Sydney, NS, B1P

6H1 902-539-5556 (Collect) SIDA/AIDS MONCTON

Accept collect calls as long as they’re HIV related

80 Weldon St, Moncton, NB, E1C

5V8 506-859-9616


6061 University Ave, PO Box 15000

Halifax, NS, B3H 4R2



Accept collect calls

1300 rue Sanguinet, Montreal, H2X

3E7 514-847-0067 CENTRE for AIDS SERVICES MONTRE- AL (Women) Accept collect calls 1750 Rue Saint-Andre, 3rd Flr, Montre- al, H2L 3T81-877-847-3636, 514-495-0990 COALITION des ORGANISMESCOM- MUNAUTAIRES QUEBECOIS de LUTTE- CONTRE le SIDA (COCQSIDA) Accept collect calls

416-461-1925 (Collect only on Tuesday & Friday, 11am-5pm) Once out, please call 416-417-6135


HIV COMMUNITY LINK Accept collect calls

110-1603 10th Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T3C 0J7 403-508-2500 AIDS SASKATOON

1143 Ave F N, Saskatoon, SK, S7L 1X1306-

242-5005 1-800-667-6876


4611 50th Ave, Red Deer, AB, T4N 3Z9



9702 111 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB,

T5G 0B1 1-877-388-5742 KIMAMOW ATOSKANOW FOUNDA- TION Accept collect calls

RR 1, Site 1, Box 133, Onoway, AB, T0E 1V01-866-971-7233, 780-913-9036 NINE CIRCLES COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRE

705 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0X2



Box 7123, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 4I1 306-



320 21 St W, Saskatoon, SK S7M 4E6


PRINCE ALBERT METIS WOMEN’S ASSOC. No collect calls 54 10th St E, Prince Albert, SK, S6V 0Y5 306-763-5356 RED RIBBON PLACE (ALL NATIONS HOPE AIDS NETWORK) 2735 5th Ave, Regina, SK, S4T 0L2 1-877-210-7622 STREET CONNECTIONS No collect calls 705 Broadway Ave, Winnipeg, MB, R3G 0X2 204-940-2504 WOMEN: 50

Argyle, Winnipeg, MB, R3B 0H6 204-




Accepts collect calls. 713 Johnson St,

3rd Flr, Victoria, V8W 1M8 250-384-

2366 or 1-800-665-2437


1107 Seymour St, Vancouver, V6B

5S8 Toll Free: PROV - 604-525-8646 STAFF PASAN is a community-based HIV Service organization that
5S8 Toll Free: PROV - 604-525-8646
PASAN is a community-based HIV Service organization
that strives to provide community development, educa-
tion and support to prisoners and ex-prisoners in Ontario
ON HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV) and other harm reduction
issues. PASAN formed in 1991 as a grassroots response
to HIV in the Canadian prison system. Today, PASAN
is the only community-based organization in Canada
exclusively providing HIV and HCV prevention, education
and support services to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their
Outreach & Education
Chaman Agarwal
Prison Education Programs:
Office Coordinator
PASAN conducts HIV prevention education programs in
many adult and youth institutions in the southern Ontario
region. This program includes a Peer Educators Group,
whereby ex-prisoners living with HIV are educators for
current prisoners.
PASAN conducts free training for those working with
prison-affected and drug using populations. Training
topics include:
Eveline Allen
Regional Prison In-Reach Coordinator
Nikki Browne
Women's Program Coordinator
Sena Hussain
Lead Editor
Janet Rowe
Cell Count Supervisor
Brendan Arnott
Cell Count Volunteer
Zakaria Amara
Gregory J. McMaster
Bear Charles
Indigenous Program Coordinator
Support Services
▪ HIV & Prison
▪ Harm Reduction
Individual Support Services:
▪ The Impact of Segregation
▪ Individual support & counselling
▪ Stigma & Discrimination
Seth Clarke
Federal Community Development Coordinator (on
▪ case management
Systemic Advocacy
▪ pre-release and post-release planning
Zachary Grant
Federal Hep C Program Coordinator
▪ referrals
Since our beginnings in 1991, PASAN has always
▪ advocacy for medical services
maintained a focus on systemic issues of HIV/AIDS and
▪ housing supports
Some has been involved in many systemic
Trevor Gray
Community Programs Coordinator
▪ phone support through collect calling
advocacy efforts including:
▪ Prison Needle Syringe Project (2014/15)
▪ emergency financial assistance (limited budget for fees
▪ Advocacy against the use of segregation
Sena Hussain
Communications & Resource Dev Coordinator
related to identification and prison release. Application
requirements exist)
▪ Presentation to the Canadian Human Rights Commis-
sion (2001)
Lindsay Jennings
Provincial HepC Program Coordinator
Community Support Services:
▪ Advocacy for male-to-female transsexual/transgendered
prisoners and HIV (1999)
Claudia Medina
PASAN also provides support AIDS Service Organizations
and community groups across Ontario. This includes:
▪ Presentation to the Presidential Advisory Council on
HIV/AIDS in Washington DC (1998)
Program Manager
Nick Paccione
Philipe Poisson
Michael Hector
Mark Zammit
Forgotten Warrior
Christ Kennedy
Mary Ellen Young
Grizzly Bear
Reginal Nixon
Mark Zammit
▪ resources & educational materials
Janet Rowe
▪ training
▪ Presentation to the Parliamentary Subcommittee on
AIDS (1996)
Executive Director
▪ assistance to set up prison outreach and support
▪ HIV/AIDS in Youth Custody Settings: A Comprehensive
Strategy (1996)
Cherisa Shivcharran
Provincial Community Development Coordinator
▪ strategies to develop referral “hubs” for HIV positive
▪ Organization of the first National Workshop on HIV/
AIDS in Prison (1995).
▪ networking for the development of a continuum of care
for prisoners transferred between regions
▪ HIV/AIDS in Prison Systems: A Comprehensive Strate-
gy (1992)
Aanya Wood
Federal Community Development Coordinator
Poetry: A.V., Forgotten Warrior, Zakaria
Amara, Kyle King, Ty;or Beggs, Larry Cardinal,
Jeremy Hall, Patrick J.M. Dowdell, Nolan R.
Art: Jeremy Hall, Gregory Saulnier, Louie
Let us know if we mistakenly forgot