Three members of the P4W Memorial Collective critique the recent move from segregation to structured intervention, and reflect on ways that people in women’s prisons have helped each other to survive solitary confinement.

This recording includes descriptions of violence, including self-injury, that may be triggering to some listeners.

The main speakers are:

Joey Twins is a Cree Twin Spirit woman from Treaty 6 Territory whose spirit name is Redstone Woman Who Walks With Fire. She is a knowledge keeper, singer and hand drummer, prison advocate, Land Defender, Water Protector, advocate for the homeless, and motivational speaker. She is this year’s recipient of the Ed McIsaac Human Rights Award in Corrections.

Fran Chaisson is a founding member of the P4W Memorial Collective in Kingston, Ontario. She was born and raised in Toronto. She is a volunteer and organizer with the Two Feather Drum Group, Martha’s Table, Kingston Waterwalkers, Ontario Native Women’s Association, HARS (HIV/AIDS Regional Services), Pow Wow Yoga, and the Kingston National Indigenous Peoples’ Day. She was released from P4W in 1989 and has been clean and sober since 1991. She follows the Red Road and tries to live her life by the Seven Grandfathers Teachings. She is the keeper of the Two-Spirit big drum. For Fran, prison is a capitalist system that does violence against womyn every day. The whole system has to come down!

Bobbie Kidd was born and raised in Winnipeg, then moved to BC. She is a member of the P4W Memorial Collective, and she volunteers with EFry as a peer support worker for women coming out of prison. She is also a fundraiser for E Fry and the United Way. Bobbie is an inspirational speaker at Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, in churches, and with Native students. She is Native, and she follows the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Bobbie has been clean for twenty years, and she received counselling for two years at SACK (Sexual Assault Centre Kingston). She was released from P4W in 1993, after being the first woman to keep her child in a federal prison. Her son has blessed her with three grandkids.

This is the 12th event in a 15 day spotlight on solitary confinement in Canada, organized by Prisoner Legal Services, Schulich School of Law – Dalhousie University, the John Howard Society of Canada, and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Prisoners’ Justice Day

This Prisoners’ Justice Day the P4W Memorial Collective is in conversation with three trans women, Cedar, Moka Dawkins, and Tami Starlight about prison experience, and trans femme decolonial and abolitionist dreams. Each speaker offers an acute analysis of state violence, including anti-Black racism, policing, anti-Indigenous self-determination, and violence against BIPOC trans and two-spirit folks and women and girls. Find our audio interview with Tami Starlight below, followed by our video interviews with Cedar and Moka Dawkins. A permanent link can be found at www.p4wmemorialcollective.com/pjd. All transcripts are as follows (the captions for Moka Dawkins forthcoming):

Tami Starlight transcript

Cedar transcript

Moka Dawkins transcript

Alongside these interviews, we are circulating a petition to counter the “Appeal to Repeal Bill C-16: A Canadian Women’s Declaration”, a recent initiative that aims to repeal transgender rights in prisons. While we recognize that appealing to the state for protection for prisoners is not a solution to the problem of prisons, we are advocating for harm reduction as part of prison abolition, to protect trans prisoners who are currently doing time. So that they may have the choice to self-identify their gender. For more detailed information about Bill C-16 and the growing transphobia in CSC, check our the longer letter and sign the petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/protect-bill-c-16/

In solidarity.