By Paul Wright
In our last issue of PLN (See "Oppression and Resistance at Canada's Prison for Women" page 7) we reported on events at the Prison for Women (P4W) in Kingston, Ontario, in which some 20 women prisoners had refused to lock up in their cells after in protest of abysmal prison conditions that have led to the suicides of five native prisoners in 18 months.
On March 4, 1991, the women prisoners who had been placed in segregation began a no food and water hungerstrike unless one of the prisoners in segregation was given a furlough to visit her mother who is dying of cancer and that a commission of inquiry be established to examine conditions at P4W and the effects of the criminal justice system on womens lives. By independent the women mean independent of the prison system and the solicitor general.
On March 6, 1991, the prisoners called off the hungerstrike after the warden granted a furlough so the prisoner could visit her mother and due to the hospitalization of several prisoners. March 7, 1991, saw the attempted suicide of yet another prisoner.
The women prisoners' mail is being censored and they aren't allowed contact with supporters, Native elders, etc. They still seek an independent commission of inquiry to be established and that the Native programs and visits with Native elders be reinstated immediately.
Letters of protest to support the prisoners can be sent to: Pierre Cadieux, Solicitor General's Office, House of Commons, 452 Confederation Building, Ottawa, Canada, K1A OA6, Canada.
For more information on the prisoners struggle at P4W or on women in prison, write: Wimmin's Prisoners Survival Network, P.O. Box 770, Stn. P, Toronto, Ont. M5S 2Z1,Canada; and /or Through The Wire, 472 Albert St., Kingston, Ont. K7L3W3, Canada.
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