Friday, July 10, 2015

Prisoners' Justice Day 2015 on Algonquin Territory / in Ottawa: Planned activities and call for contributions

August 10th 2015 will mark the 40th Prisoners’ Justice Day (PJD).  PJD emerged as a prisoner-initiated day of non-violent strike action to commemorate the death of Eddie Nalon in the segregation unit of Millhaven maximum-security penitentiary on August 10th 1974.  It was first observed in 1975.  In 1976, the prisoners of Millhaven issued a communication “To All Prisoners and Concerned Peoples from across Canada”, calling for one-day hunger strikes in opposition to the use of solitary confinement and in support of prisoners’ rights, in memory of Eddie Nalon, as well as Robert Landers, who also died alone in ‘the hole’.  Since that time, PJD has become an internationally-recognized day of solidarity and action, both inside and outside the prison, to commemorate deaths in custody and reflect upon other human rights atrocities behind bars.

"PJD" by Neal Freeland (1995)


In the month leading up to August 10th, this blog invites current and former prisoners, their loved ones and families, and allies to contribute written statements and artwork on any theme related to PJD.  Please indicate whether you would also like these contributions to be read or showcased during the PJD events on Algonquin Territory / in Ottawa (for details see below) and/or included in a future issue of the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons.  Send your writing and art to Justin Piché by email at or by mail at the following address:

Prisoners’ Justice Day on Algonquin Territory / in Ottawa
c/o Journal of Prisoners on Prisons
Justin Piché, PhD
Department of Criminology
University of Ottawa
120 University Private, Room 13049
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 6N5

Written works and art will be posted on this blog throughout this month to generate public awareness about PJD, deaths in custody and human rights abuses behind bars.  Please return to this website frequently in the month ahead to learn more.

ON AUGUST 10th 2015
This year, the PJD organizing committee on Algonquin Territory / in Ottawa are putting together a private event and public march to commemorate the lives lost and denounce the continued abuses taking place behind bars.  Bus tickets will be provided as needed and $20 honorariums will be offered to those with lived experiences of imprisonment who speak or have their writing and artwork shared at the private or public events. 

The first event (private) is an afternoon of solidarity with the criminalized and imprisoned from 2:00pm to 6:00pm in room 101 of the Jack Purcell Community Centre located at 320 Jack Purcell Lane off Elgin Street.  The venue is wheelchair accessible. 
  • Former prisoners, people with loved ones and family members who are in prison, and allies are welcome to make statements to express their unity with current prisoners and resistance to state repression in a safe space with no media present.
  • Groups and organizations that work with criminalized persons are invited to setup information tables so that members from the community can learn about your work and access resources.  Those interested in tabling are asked to call or text Sam Rice at 613-552-4407 or email
  • Those present will also be able to participate in healing art projects.  

The second event (public) is a march against deaths in custody and other human rights atrocities behind bars from 4:00pm to 6:00pm.  To pay respects on this non-violent day of action, the peaceful march will start outside the Jack Purcell Centre (320 Jack Purcell Lane).  Statements by former prisoners, people with loved ones and family members in prison, and allies can be made during vigils at the office of Ottawa Centre MPP and Ontario Minister of Corrections and Community Safety Yasir Naqvi (109 Catherine Street), Correctional Service of Canada National Headquarters (340 Laurier Avenue West), and the Human Rights Monument (at the corner of Elgin Street and Lisgar Street).  Media and police may be present at the march and the three stops along the way. 

Those interested in speaking out during this public rally and want to prepare for interactions with reporters covering PJD are invited to attend a media training session on Tuesday, July 28 from 6:00pm to 7:00pm facilitated by Justin Piché.  This media workshop will be followed by a PJD preparation meeting from 7:00pm to 9:00pm to make materials like a banner for the march. To sign-up for either the media training and/or PJD preparation meeting contact Justin by phone or text at 613-793-1093 or by email at


"Prison Justice Day" by Peter Collins