podcast: Criminalisation and Harassment of LGBTQ Prisoners in Kitchener's Federal Prison.

In early November 2015, the "Being Queer Is Not Illegal" campaign was launched by prisoner solidarity group GVI Watch. The group, acting in solidarity with the prisoners held at the Grand Valley Institute (GVI), a large federal prison for woman in Kitchener Ontario, was asking people to phone into the prison after prisoner reports of surging harassment , discrimination, and criminalisation of LGBTQ prisoners by guards.
In a November 10th post on the group's webpage, the situation was described as:

"a recent crackdown against LGBTQ2+ prisoners and/or prisoners in relationships amongst themselves. Intimate relationships between prisoners are being attacked by a clique of guards acting without apparent direction or oversight from the Corrections Canada administration."
The post continues: "Harassment of prisoners includes throwing them in solitary as punishment for being in a relationship, threatening them with transfers to remote parts of the country, separating partners by placing them in different parts of the prison, and laying spurious institutional charges that can lead to being locked in the maximum security unit.

Most troublingly, guards have been using physical intimidation and invasions of personal space to harass prisoners who speak up against these practices. In violation of their own rules individual guards have been entering prisoners’ cells at night,with an institutional history of sexual violence and exploitation of prisoners by guards at GVI, this can only be understood as a threat."
The post goes on to describe a growing culture of impunity among guards and prison officials as the jail is without a warden and the federal prison investigator has not had his contract renewed, which GVI watch says is "leaving no one to respond to grievance reports filed by prisoners."

While the prisoners themselves have been organising on the inside, their efforts have been met with repression from the guards. GVI watch reported on November 17th that the pressure from the call-in campaign was working, with prison officials stating they would allow an LGBTQ2+ group to form among prisoners.

While, promising to continue "watching closely to ensure the prison does not go back on their word", and with a win in hand, on December 4th, GVIwatch called for an end to this phase of the call-in campaign noting that:

"The issue of the criminalization of queer prisoners is still ongoing though, so stay tuned!

-There are still prisoners in max because of this, but they’re appealing their transfer from medium
-Many prisoners have been to segregation in the past month, a disturbing trend that’s still ongoing
-Some institutional charges have been dropped against queer prisoners, reducing their daily stress, but some charges remain"
The group concluded their post: "GVI Watch is thinking about the folks inside, and hoping those who are allowed to attend the holiday Family Day event have a great day."

GVI watch also highlighted the re-launched blog of Nyki Kish, a prisoner at GVI, which was launched just prior to the start of the Being Queer is Not Illegal Campaign. The posts are of Nyki's experiences in the prison and her critiques of the system which holds her unjustly captive as woman innocent of the crime she was convited for. For more on Nyki's wrongful imprisonment and to find out how you can support her check
Today AW@L Radio is grateful to present a recording of Nyki Kish reading her piece "The Criminalization of LGBTQ People in the Grand Valley Institution for Women Part I – Our Story" .

I want to thank Nyki for her courageous efforts in documenting her struggle and spreading her experiences and critiques from inside the jail, and thanks as well to those who recorded and sent AW@L Radio this powerful piece of audio.

This has been AW@L Radio, i'm your host @dankellar, thanks for listening.

The Daily GRRR! - May 23, 2014 - Waves Through Walls: Prison Radio

The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for May 23rd, 2014
1. Vancouver Police Officer Pleads Not Guilty In Cyclist Assault
2. Former Cop Convicted of Sexually Assaulting An Underage Women
3. Florida Prison Guards Cook Man to Death in Shower, Attempt Cover-up
4. Ontario’s Privacy Watchdog DIstressed Over Cyberbullying Bill
5. Child Soldier Omar Khadr Being Sued for 50$ Million USD.
6. Economist Decrees Hudak’s Job Cuts Will Be Devastating
7. Jailed Women Organise Petition to Reinstate Literacy Program Coordinator.
8. Pain and Rage in Chiapas - Zapatista Teacher Killed - (audio from Mumia Abu-Jamal).

Midway Music:A Tribe Called Red: - “Wood Carver"

Interview: The Criminalization of Women with Disabilities: An Interview with Bonnie Brayton from the DisAbled Women’s Newtork of Canada by Stephane Bertand of CKUT.

The Daily GRRR! is on weekdays from 9-10am on 100.3fm CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and on the web.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS

Closing Song: Over the Wall by The Dublin City Ramblers.

Kitchener protest in solidarity with Immigration detainees on strike

For Tuesday, October 8, 2013
WHAT: Rally at Correctional Services in Support of Migrant Detainees
WHERE: 73 King St. W., Kitchener
WHEN: 12:30pm, Tuesday, October 8
Kitchener protest in solidarity with Immigration detainees on strike
KITCHENER—Local residents will be holding a rally outside the Correctional Services Office in downtown Kitchener in support of the nearly 200 immigration detainees who have been on strike at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, ON since September 18. The strikers are responding to the worsening conditions of their imprisonment faced since being transferred to the Linsday jail from Toronto-area facilities, and are demanding an end to maximum security detention and an end to indefinite detention.

Ontarians speak out in support of immigrant detainees on strike

Ontario – On October 8th, communities across Ontario are speaking out against prison conditions and indefinite detention in support of nearly 200 immigration detainees who have been on strike in a maximum-security prison in Lindsay, ON since September 17th. Actions are happening across the province (details below).

Smash the State Report: June 21, 2013

Swamping Line 9 in Ontario as sovereignty summer kicks off with the occupation of an enbridge pumping terminal. Another pipeline break in N Alberta w/ the devastation of 42ha of wilderness.

AW@L Radio - Smash the State Report: Feb. 22, 2013

Update from Bookfair in Kitchener, no books for prisoners at the CNCC, a corrupt Judge vs. Idle No More, super-mega-pods and enviro terrorists vs. resource terrorists + drivers. Camover + more!

Hunger Strike Helps Expose Deficient Conditions and Mistreatment at Central North Correctional Centre

Hunger Strike Helps Expose Deficient Conditions and Mistreatment at Central North Correctional Centre

AW@L Radio: Smash the State Report - Feb. 1, 2013

Anti-tar sands day of action targeting pipelines and two row marches in Ontario lead into updates from NOII, duets from Howl, G20 jail, and nuclear Greenland, and more!

AW@L Radio - Smash The State Report: Jan. 25, 2013

support the hunger strike at Penetang prison then listen to news about Honduran mining laws, Mapuche resistance, resource extraction plans in NA, pissed off scientists + more!

AW@L Radio - Smash The State Report: Jan. 18, 2013

We cover "religious freedom," captivity of all sorts, solidarity for teachers and INM updates! Plus blocking pipelines and Grassy Narrows!

Solidarty Against Austerity - Alex Hundert Reads his Article from The Peak, from Jail

Alex Hundert is a communty organiser, land defending activist currently serving the remains of a 20 month prison sentence for his role in building a resistance to the 2010 G20 summit in toronto and his work highlighting the colonial oppression and capitalist exploitation directing the canadian state experiment

The piece this audio was created from Solidarity against Austerity was written for the Sept 2012 edition on The Peak magazine from Guelph which focused on the Quebec Student Strike. This piece looks into the common ground all youth, whether in jail or in school, have in resisting austerity and what the common impacts of this economic disaster will be.

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