The GELA Women’s Prison Library and Reintegration Subcommittee and the Edmonton Public Library invite you to attend the screening of Books Behind Bars on March 31 at 7 pm in the Theatre of the Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton.
Books Behind Bars is a short documentary film that follows the development and growth of the library, its programs, and the people inside the only multi-level women’s prison facility in Western Canada.
Over the past few years, the Subcommittee has grown from a group of four librarians to a group of over twenty active volunteers, who organize many projects, such as books clubs, book drives, and borrowing projects. Among these is the Storybook Project, where the volunteers record women reading to their children, and send the recordings, along with the books, to their children.”
A panel discussion will follow the presentation. This event is being held as a fundraiser to support the on-going library projects at the prison and to purchase materials for the prison library – anyone can attend for free but the suggested donation is $10 or whatever you can afford. Other donations will also be gratefully accepted.
Today, CBC’s The Current ran a segment about Women’s Prisons in Canada:
The Federal Government is considering a bill that would bring in mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes. That would mean more people in Canada’s prisons. And according to the Correctional Investigator of Canada, that’s a big problem … especially for women.
You can listen to the podcast of the interview with “Rachel” a woman on parole who speaks very frankly about her experiences in Grand Valley Prison in Ontario, as well as an interview with Howard Sapers the Ombudsman for Corrections Canada.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
Back in October, Senator Grant Mitchell attended one of our fundraising events and spoke to a number of our committee volunteers about the work we are doing at the Edmonton Institution for Women. Inspired by that event, Senator Mitchell rose in the Senate in December and delivered the following statement:
Please see Jocelyn’s private post from September 24 about the email contact list. I just added a bunch more names – so please use that list as the most recently updated one!
And remember that the post with the list is set to private so you need to be logged in as an administrator to see it. Contact Jocelyn to hook you up with the all-powerful admin status!
Thanks to Jorden for being awesome minute-taker!
The minutes of the meeting are here: 25_10-2010 Minutes
Please be aware of all ACTION items in the minutes (they are highlighted in red) – also, there are a few volunteer opportunities to be aware of (also highlighted in red):
- Volunteering for Storybook project
- Volunteering with bookclub(s)
- Volunteering with the EPL book borrowing project
- Volunteering on the fundraising committee to put on a art show/fundraiser at Latitude 53 in the new year
Thanks to everyone who attended and to all those who submitted reports/regrets!
Please join us for this exciting fundraiser, held to support the work of GELA’s Prison Library and Reintegration Committee. Tickets are $10 and include a free drink before 10pm.
When: Friday, October 8th 2010 from 6-10 pm (raffle draw at 9pm)
Where: Celis’s Irish Pub – 10338 109 St NW
What: Raffles (art, restaurant and golf prizes)
Why: Meet other information professionals, and find out more about GELA, LISAA and the Prison Library and Reintegration committee.
While we encourage you to reserve advance tickets by emailing Tara (email@example.com), a limited supply will be available for purchase at the door.
This event is generously sponsored by GELA and LISAA. For more information:
One of our newest committee members, Marcus is about to become a penpal with an incarcerated individual through the Prisoner Correspondence Project - he told me that they are interested in stepping up their outreach efforts into prisons across Canada and wish to connect with people or organizations that do work on the inside of the prison system.
Some information about the project:
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a collectively-run initiative based out of Montreal, Quebec. It coordinates a direct-correspondence program for gay, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, gendervariant, two-spirit, intersex, bisexual and queer inmates in Canada and the United States, linking these inmates with people a part of these same communities outside of prison. In addition, it coordinates a resource library of information regarding harm reduction practice (safer sex, safer drug-use, clean needle care), HIV and HEPC prevention, homophobia, transphobia, coming out, etc. The project also aims to make prisoner justice and prisoner solidarity a priority within queer movements on the outside through events like film screenings, workshops, and panel discussions which touch on the broader issues relating to criminalization and incarceration of queers and transfolk.
The Prisoner Correspondence Project is a working group of the Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) at Concordia University and an affiliate group of the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy.
If any other committee members are interested in this initiative, contact Marcus or the Prison Correspondence Project for more information.
We had a very productive committee meeting at the prison on June 21, 2010. We were lucky to have Cathee at the meeting to answer many of our questions and contribute to our plans and discussions. Thanks to so many of our committee members coming out – we had 16 in attendance!
Our plan to host the next meeting at the prison again – stay tuned for the suggested date and time (probably in September.)
You can read the minutes of the meeting here: 21_06_2010minutes
Thank you to Laura for being the awesome note-taker!
The Greater Edmonton Library Association (GELA) Women’s Prison and Reintegration Subcommittee is having a Book Sale May 8 and 9, from 10 am – 6 pm (weather permitting) to raise funds for the EIFW library. Feel free to drop by, even to just to say hi and learn more about our committee.
There will be several of us volunteering, but the more, the merrier. Bring friends, distribute our poster, and feel free to invite anyone that we’ve missed!
If you are on Facebook – you can check out our event page for the booksale.
Thank you for your support!
The next general meeting of the GELA Prison Library and Reintegration committee will be held: Thursday, February 25th at 5:30 pm at Henderson Hall at the University of Alberta.
For those of you unfamiliar with Henderson Hall - you can access it from the Rutherford South Atrium entrance at the University of Alberta. There is some street metered parking as well as surface lots (rates drop after 4:30 pm)
Agenda items include:
- reports from subcommittees:
- CLA presentation,
- bookdrive (wish list etc)
- technological literacy for the women
- fundraising ideas
You can read the minutes from the December 2009 meeting here.
See you next week!
The GELA prison library and reintegration committee received two beautiful cards from some of the EIFW women last week. One is from Cathee who addressed it to “all of our volunteers and supporters from GELA” . Wishing us a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2010, she also wrote:
On behalf of the women at EIFW, I’d like to thank you for all that you’ve done for us. Your generosity and support are greatly appreciated. Happy Holidays!
Another card was addressed to “all of our Storybook Volunteers” and is signed by many of the Storybook Project participants with the message:
”Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you very much for bringing us closer to our children.”
We will have these cards to show all of you at the next committee meeting.
Thanks to everyone who was able to make it out to the meeting last week – we had 11 people show up and it was great to see some new faces! Welcome everyone!
Laura was awesome and took minutes – thank you Laura! You can read them here: Minutes2009_12_10
The next committee meeting will be this Thursday, December 10 at 5:30 at the Legal Resource Centre (201, 10350-124 Street.) We will try to keep the meeting to about 1 or 1 1/2 hours.
Hope to see you there!
Howard Sapers released a report last week entitled Good Intentions, Disappointing Results. The report is critical of the government and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) saying that the federal government needs to take “urgent action” to improve support programs for native prisoners or face a potential crisis. “Today my message is clear — given the urgency of the situation, I call upon the service to do the right thing and immediately appoint a deputy commissioner for aboriginal corrections,” Sapers said in a statement.
Howard Sapers was appointed the federal Correctional Investigator in Feburary 2004. The primary function of the Office of the Correctional Investigator is to investigate and bring resolution to individual offender complaints. The Office as well, has a responsibility to review and make recommendations on the Correctional Service’s policies and procedures associated with the areas of individual complaints to ensure that systemic areas of concern are identified and appropriately addressed.
Sapers has been a Board Member of the Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd. since 2007.
You can read his full report here:
Crossposted at Blogosarus Lex.
Author: Wilber Smith
Author: Wendy Markham
Aboriginal Books of any kind
Avenue Magazine has just named Tanya one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 – with a shout out to the Greater Edmonton Library Association and her work with the EIFW bookclub!
The article about Tanya (which you can read here) explains why she was chosen as a top 40: ”For making complicated and often intimidating legal information available to those who need it most.”