What happened to Prisoner Justice Day? is a podcast mini series about the history of prisons in canada focusing on differences in the prison system in the 1960s-1980s versus today. The podcast features interviews with former and current prisoners, as well as supporters on the outside; the miniseries is all available at http://prisonhistoryca.libsyn.com — here is the episode-by-episode breakdown:
Episode 1, The Backstory of Prisoner Justice Day: Bob Gaucher, a former prisoner and retired professor at the University of Ottawa who talks about his experiences inside in the 1960s and gives some historical context for Prisoner Justice Day.
Episode 2, Prisoner Justice Day on the Inside: Papi, who spent 29 years in prison in canada. He talks about conditions on the inside in the 1970s and 1980s, including what it was like to be in prison for Prisoner Justice Day back then. He also talks about prisoner resistance and changes implemented by the federal prison system and how they impacted prisoners.
Episode 3, Prisoner Justice Day, Inmates Committees, and Resistance on the Inside: Gene, who started doing time in canadian prisons in 1972. Gene talks to us about the early days of PJD on the inside and the role that inmates committees and outside support played in prisoner resistance in the 70s and 80s. He talks a bit about protective custody or PC, and how changes to protective custody policies in federal prisons undermined solidarity.
Episode 4, Prisoner Justice Day from the Outside: Marie Beemans, an outside activist and organizer who has been supporting prisoners since she was a teenager. Marie was particularly active with a group called the Office des Droits des Detenues (or ODD), which was affiliated with the Ligue des Droits in Quebec until they were kicked out of the Ligue des Droits for supporting prisoners in the aftermath of the 1982 riot in Archambault Penitentiary. In the interview, Marie talks about what drew her to prisoner support and prison abolition organizing, what that organizing looked like, and the underlying values that drive her organizing.
Episode 5, Prisoner Justice Day in the Prison for Women: Ann, an anarchist who was arrested in the 1980s for participating in an underground guerilla group called Direct Action. She ended up getting a life sentence and doing 7 years in Kingston’s Prison for Women (P4W), which is now closed. She also got her parole revoked on two separate occasions, once in 2006 and once in 2012. Ann talked to us about the differences between doing time in the Prison for Women in Kingston versus GVI – the Grand Valley Institute (in southern Ontario), one of the regional federal prisons for women that was built after P4W was closed. She also mentions Quinte – which is a provincial prison, where she also did a bit of time.