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DJNO - Prison Project - Lead Photo.jpeg

prison project

​DJNO’s Prison Project aims to hear, document, and amplify the experiences of individuals who have been imprisoned and live at the intersection of being racialized and disabled in order to push against carceral logics. We are prison abolitionists who believe in care and a community-centered approach to accountability and justice.

The criminal legal system overwhelmingly targets, surveils, prosecutes and imprisons people who are disabled - in particular those who are also Black, Brown, or Indigenous. It is a system which is heavily reinforced through an interconnected network of racist and ableist agencies and systems: the school to prison pipeline, social service and child welfare agencies, social housing, private security forces, and more.

 

Our project has received funding from The Laidlaw Foundation, the Groundswell Community Justice Fund, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Do you have any thoughts, comments, or dreams on collaboration? Contact Us!
DJNOPrisonProject@gmail.com

Our Work

Our project goals include working to educate individuals around the ableism and racism within prisons and the criminal justice system, building toolkits to support those who are disabled self-navigate the criminal legal system, advocate for prisoners and against prisons, and provide direct support where possible.

So far we have:

  • Spoken (in-depth) with approximately 40 racialized and disabled individuals who are in detention, prison, halfway houses, or the community

  • Redistributed $4000 in project funding to individuals who have or are in prison and are racialized and disabled (more to come!)

  • Helped prisoners self-organize and create demands around better conditions and access to healthcare

  • Created an advocacy campaign for a prisoner experiencing abuse at the hands of staff

  • Connected prisoners to their families, friends, lawyers, media, and other supports

  • Sent individualized prisoner support packages

  • Organized and run prisoner support lines (free for prisoners to access) throughout the province of Ontario

  • Reviewed dozens of research papers, journal and news articles, statistical data sets, organizational reports and more in order to further inform our project direction

Currently, we’re working on:

  • Developing community education workshops and presentations around ableism, racism and prisons in Ontario

  • Organizing & hosting community discussions and teach-ins around abolition and transformative justice

  • Developing an online and hard copy resource for individuals who are disabled and navigating the criminal legal system

  • Securing additional funding to continue our work

In the future, we’d like to:

  • Bring back our prisoner support lines

  • Speak with disabled prisoners about abolition

  • Create a “First 48 hours” resource for prisoners being released

  • DREAM BIG and do more meaningful and active work around abolition, transformative justice and accountability


 

Our Work
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Prisoner
Phone Lines

DJNO’s Prison Project currently operates a number of prisoner support phone lines throughout Ontario which are free for prisoners to call. Please encourage them to call using the closest phone number to their area, as long distance fees are expensive.

Prisoners have called these lines to:

  • Report prison conditions such as extended lockdowns, issues accessing medical care, or broken equipment so that we can track and publicize them.

  • Report ableism and racism in policy or practice, such as refusing medications, removing accessibility devices such as eyeglasses etc.

  • Organize with other prisoners for better conditions. We can help support prisoners who want to organize collective demands (in their own prisoners or across prisons) to improve their conditions by releasing collective statements to the media/public, starting call-in campaigns, etc.

  • Share their experiences around prison and have them circulated to the public through our project and sometimes media or education events.

  • Access Resources such as legal information they would like sent to them or references to lawyers or human rights groups

  • Connect them to family and friends for support or to be a surety. We know communication in and out of prison is difficult - we’re happy to send a text to update loved ones where you are or what you need.

  • Help them subscribe to prison newsletters or non-romantic penpal options where they’re available.

  • Support Packages include printed images they can draw from, sudoku, culturally relevant therapy or self-reflection resources, printed body-weight exercises, etc.

  • Just talk to someone.

Image description:  "Prisoner Support Lines  Hamilton 905-631-4084 Niagara 905-227-5066 Milton/GTA  416-775-7983 London/West 519-690-0836 Ottawa/East 613-768-9951 Kenora/North 807-548-4312

Image description:
Prisoner Support Lines
Hamilton - 905-631-4084
Niagara - 905-227-5066
Milton/GTA - 416-775-7983
London/West - 519-690-0836
Ottawa/East - 613-768-9951
Kenora/North - 807-548-4312

If you are contacting us from outside prison, the best way to get in touch is by email: DJNOPrisonProject@gmail.com.

Prisoner Phone Lines
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Project Outputs

The Prison Project works on many fronts - from general public education to developing toolkits and skills to amplifying prisoners' demands. This means we have a high project output. For the most up-to-date information, check out DJNO’s Instagram - but here is a selection of project outputs!

Outputs:

  • Briarpatch article

  • Video

    • Remember, Resist: A short video around prison conditions contributing to the deaths of many prisoners.

    • Click here to watch!

  • Audio Clips

    • Dispatches: An initial collection of voices from our first handful of interviews with prisoners speaking about prison, disability, and what they want us to know.

    • Click here to listen!

  • Executive Summary

    • A brief summary of articles we reviewed for our literature review. Includes references for news articles, journals, personal testaments, committee reports, and more.

    • Click here to view!

  • Toolkit (Available December, 2023)

    • An online accessible toolkit meant to help racialized and disabled youth navigate the criminal legal system, empowering them to make decisions for themselves.

  • Instagram Graphics:

Project Outputs
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