May 16, 2019
Today we bring you an episode of a brand-new podcast miniseries entitled "What Happened to Prisoner Justice Day?" about the history of prisons in canada focusing on differences in the prison system in the 1960s-1980s versus today. The podcast features interviews with former and current prisoners, as well as supporters on the outside.
"In [this] episode, we talk to Gene, who started doing time in canadian prisons in 1972. Gene talks to us about the early days of PJD on the inside and the role that inmates committees and outside support played in prisoner resistance in the 70s and 80s. He talks a bit about protective custody or PC, and how changes to protective custody policies in federal prisons undermined solidarity.
At the end of the show, we mention the website penalpress.com. The site features a catalogue of newspapers produced in prisons in canada. Check it out for an inside perspective on the canadian prison system from the late 1940s onwards."
More about the podcast:
This is a mini series about the history of prisons in canada focusing on differences in the prison system in the 1960s-1980s versus today. The podcast features interviews with former and current prisoners, as well as supporters on the outside. For those new to prison history, Prisoner Justice Day, also called PJD, started in 1975 on the one year anniversary of the death of Edward Nalon, an inside organizer who bled to death in a segregation cell in Millhaven Maximum Penitentiary on August 10th, 1974. Prisoners refused to eat and refused to work to commemorate Eddie's death. In May 1976, Robert Landers, who had been actively organizing in Archambault Pen before being involuntarily transferred to Millhaven, died in a segregation cell in Millhaven after repeated calls for medical help met no response. In June 1976, prisoners in Millhaven launched a call for support for their one day hunger strike in remembrance of all prisoners who had died inside - to take place on August 10th. Word spread across the country and, in the end, thousands of prisoners participated in the one day hunger strike and supporters on the outside organized events on the outside. A lot has changed since the 70s, not just in prison, but outside of prison. While respecting PJD remains important to many on the inside and outside, the numbers of those participating are nowhere near the numbers involved in the 70s and 80s. This podcast mini-series sets out to explore why that change has occurred. We found the PJD image for the podcast and its backstory here: http://journal.radicalcriminology.org/index.php/rc/article/view/68/html
Search for What Happened to Prisoner Justice Day wherever you get your podcasts, or check it out online at prisonhistoryca.libsyn.com