Art behind bars

The Edmonton Journal is running a series this week on art in prisons in Alberta.

Today’s article is about piano lessons at EIFW. (Anyone got a spare electric keyboard kicking around…?)

I don’t like how they incorporate the crimes in to the stories, but I suppose it’s to be expected and it’s not as sensationalist as it could be. It’s nice to have some positive stories like this getting out.


Novel approach: reading courses as an alternative to prison

A library trustee in Saskatoon who attended our CLA presentation sent this link along.
Novel approach: reading courses as an alternative to prison
In Texas, offenders are being sent on reading courses instead of prison. | The Guardian – July 21, 2010

Prisoner Correspondence Project

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.

Prison Justice Day orders

Here are the forms and information on ordering clothes for Prison Justice Day.

Add two dollars to each price. The women get the clothes at cost, but we thought it would be nice for us to do it as a bit of a fundraiser. All of the money will go to the Social Committee at EIFW, which puts on socials and events for the women.

Moyra and Liz D. are the money contacts. The deadline listed is for the women at EIFW.

Remand Centre Donations Wishlist

The attached wishlist was created following a community fair-style event at Remand Centre earlier this spring. Fellow EPL community librarian, Heather Sentes, and I gathered this information during the two-day event. We met with three or four women’s units; however, the majority of the time was spent talking with the men’s units. That said, this wishlist, in large part, represents the reading interests of men at Remand Centre. Hopefully it gives Cathee and the Committee some insight into the general condition of Remand books and can help with selecting donations for the women there.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’ll give a copy of this document to Cathee on my next EPL borrowing visit (July 21).


June 21, 2010 meeting minutes

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!