Extra individuals might be a part of ongoing starvation strike at Sask. girls’s jail, advocate says

Extra individuals might be a part of ongoing starvation strike at Sask. girls’s jail, advocate says

A girl at a jail in Prince Albert, Sask., is constant her eight-week starvation strike to protest the remedy of incarcerated individuals there, in response to an advocate for inmates.

Religion Eagle is one in all three girls at Pine Grove Correctional Centre refusing to eat, and extra inmates in Canadian establishments would possibly comply with, in response to Sherri Maier, who advocates for individuals in custody and based the help group Past Jail Partitions Canada.

Maier stated she has heard about different individuals at amenities throughout the nation who plan to hitch the starvation strike this weekend, together with at Regina Correctional Centre and on the Atlantic Establishment in Renous, N.B.

“It feels like we’d be capable of have some prisoners out in Ontario jails … hopefully becoming a member of in, too,” she stated. “After which there’s individuals locally.”

Maier plans to be one in all them, whereas one other girl incarcerated on the Edmonton Establishment For Ladies desires to begin a ceremonial quick this weekend, the advocate stated.

Maier beforehand stated she was contacted by Eagle, who’s in custody on the girls’s jail whereas she waits for a trial date, with considerations about alleged racism from some guards at Pine Grove, a scarcity of well timed entry to medical consideration and the standard of their ingesting water. 

Monday will mark Week 8 of Eagle’s strike, Maier stated.

A woman with long dark hair smiles at the camera.
Sherri Maier, an advocate for individuals within the jail system, says different inmates throughout Canada would possibly be a part of a bunch of ladies on a starvation strike at Pine Grove Correctional Centre. (Submitted by Sherri Maier)

“She feels there’s quite a lot of prejudice and discrimination there in opposition to the Indigenous girls,” stated Maier.

“Medical care has at all times been an issue in prisons, whether or not it is … federal, provincial. This has at all times been an issue, particularly psychological well being.”

Province conscious of Pine Grove starvation strike

Maier stated she’s additionally been instructed there’s a girl with tuberculosis on Eagle’s unit who’s allegedly not in quarantine.

A spokesperson with the province’s Ministry of Justice stated they may not touch upon the non-public well being issues of inmates.

Nevertheless, the spokesperson confirmed in an e-mail on Thursday that three inmates are taking part in a “tray refusal” on the provincial jail.

The placing girls are accepting liquids, together with juice and dietary drinks, and obtain “continued medical supervision,” together with physician checkups, in response to the e-mail.

The spokesperson stated the ministry is monitoring the scenario “to make sure the well being and security of the taking part inmates.”

The Saskatoon Tribal Council confirmed that its director of justice, Crystal LaPlante, went to Pine Grove Correctional Centre earlier this week.

Eagle appreciated the chance to talk with an Indigenous girl about her considerations, stated Mark Arcand, the council’s tribal chief.

“Religion has some expectations and a few outcomes that we predict are cheap, and a few won’t be achievable,” he stated.

“We perceive it’s a jail, there are guidelines and laws,” stated Arcand.

“If we now have to vary the system, what does that seem like, and what are these programs that should be modified so there’s good outcomes and outcomes?”

In October, the province and the tribal council introduced a brand new pilot program which is able to present the council with funding for a mission to reintegrate previously incarcerated girls into the neighborhood. 

On Thursday, Arcand stated the tribal council will return to Pine Grove for a followup go to.

‘Constructed on systemic racism’

Sydney Wouters has additionally been monitoring the scenario at Pine Grove as a part of her position as a jail in-reach service employee and performing co-executive director for the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan — a non-profit group that helps girls who’ve been incarcerated.

Wouters stated her group final spoke with Eagle two weeks in the past on the jail in Prince Albert.

“The considerations that I’ve been listening to are revolving primarily round their remedy by employees, particularly the racism that Indigenous girls are going through in Pine Grove,” stated Wouters.

“That is one thing that has been happening for a very long time.… Our justice system is constructed on systemic racism. There’s an overrepresentation of Indigenous individuals throughout the justice system.”

Based on a brand new report from Ivan Zinger, the nation’s high jail watchdog, Canada has made scant progress in addressing the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous individuals in prisons, with some going through even worse situations than they did a decade in the past.

Wouters stated she has additionally been talking with directors on the facility and requested that they make criticism kinds available, quite than requiring inmates to ask employees for them.

She was instructed the director of packages and the cultural advisor would sit down with Eagle to speak about her considerations on Thursday, however Wouters stated Friday morning she hadn’t heard something extra in regards to the assembly. 

“They know that there is points … particularly with remedy of the ladies,” stated Wouters.

Ingesting water examined

The standard of ingesting water was one other concern for the inmates taking part within the starvation strike.

Eagle stated final month the water smelled and tasted so unhealthy she was boiling it, Maier stated on Thursday.

Based on the provincial Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement, which manages and maintains provincial authorities buildings, the water at Pine Grove was examined and despatched to a Saskatchewan Analysis Council lab for evaluation on Oct. 5.

A complete of 30 exams have been completed, and officers on-site didn’t detect any uncommon odour or style within the water, the ministry stated in an e-mail to CBC on Friday.

Assessments within the inmate areas “met the federal government of Canada’s requirements for ingesting water high quality,” the spokesperson stated, whereas a check in a employees space “the place the water is never used was barely above the suitable stage for copper.”

That line has since been flushed, in response to the ministry.

Lack of cultural programming

Each Maier and Wouters additionally say the ladies within the facility are additionally hoping for extra entry to cultural programming and help.

“How are we supposed to assist them make the modifications of their lives in order that they do not find yourself again in jail following their launch with out providing them correct programming?” stated Wouters.

“That is what we’re seeing locally as properly, is lack of programming so that folks do not need to be in jail.”

Maier stated throughout a latest “mass transfer” within the jail, Eagle was positioned right into a excessive safety unit.

A mass transfer includes inmates being moved away from their present unit, and probably locked down, to defuse escalating actions, the advocate stated.

“[Eagle] did say they’re locked up 14 hours a day [in the high security unit] and it is 100 per cent Indigenous.”

When requested in regards to the “mass transfer” and whether or not it concerned girls on starvation strike, the federal government spokesperson stated they may not discuss specifics about deliberate lockdowns, citing safety causes.

Maier stated she final talked with Eagle earlier this week, and was instructed she has been capable of see an elder since she got here to the brand new unit.

“No person ever wakes up and says, ‘Hey, I wish to go to jail right this moment,'” stated Maier. “They’re nonetheless human.”

Most people she works with “know that they should be there,” stated Maier.

“They name it a authorized obligation. They simply wish to serve their time with dignity.”

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