Is. 2: Prison Justice
Fall Issue 2, 2011
This issue of the YU Free Press invites you to explore Prison Justice: justice for the wrongly incarcerated and for abused prisoners, justice through changing the way society deals with its undesirables. Throughout the issue, we explore the role of the state in incarceration and oppression, and the role of prisoners and their allies in fighting for justice.
Many of our Features articles present the reader with first-hand accounts from inside prisons. Prisoners themselves emerge through these stories not only as the subjects of state domination, but also as authors and agents of change. In “The University within a Prison,” Martin Merener brings us the story of a university centre created within Devoto Prison in Argentina, where inmates complete post-secondary degrees and prison guards are prohibited from setting foot. Jen Rinaldi takes us inside of Queen West’s ‘Prison for the Mad’ in “Brick Walls, Bed Restraints, and Behaviour Modification: The Incarceration of Mad People,” an account of neglect and mistreatment in the ongoing history of Canadian mental health
We also feature two articles highlighting the extremes to which the Canadian state has gone in its persecution of the organizers of last summer’s G20 protests. Alex Hundert, one of 17 people still facing ‘conspiracy’ charges related to the demonstrations,
connects those charges to the ‘austerity’ measures eroding communities in Toronto and around the world in “Conspiracy in the Age of Austerity.” Another ‘conspiracy’
defendant, Mandy Hiscocks, shares with us “Reflections on Prisons and the State, Post-G20,” a personal account of the Vanier Institute for Women federal prison where she was held for a month while awaiting bail.
The articles also feature accounts of solidarity work from outside prisons. In “Cold
Comfort: The Limits of Prisons in Response to Violence against Women,” Rebecca Hall explores the difficult choice between jailing violent men and an anti-colonial position opposing further encroachment of prisons and the RCMP into Native communities. Members of the “Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar” Collective have written an account of their project to distribute the art of political prisoners. The cover image for this issue also comes from the Certain Days project, painted by Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez, a Cuban man held as a political prisoner in the United States.
Our News section brings you updates from around the world on prison struggles. From Toronto, Theresa McGee writes on the Stop the Cuts Network, which is preparing to resist Rob Ford’s austerity agenda in an upcoming round of votes in late November.
In our Comments section, we are offered an insightful perspective on the Occupy Toronto movement from our very own Amy Saunders, who has been actively involved in the St. James Park network as a volunteer and comrade. We also catch a glimpse of Juli Rivera’s deconstruction of the politics behind bathroom signs and the problematic gender binary that is forced upon us all. Our short but sweet Comments section also includes York University Professor David McNally’s explorative critique of austerity measures and acts of resistance throughout Greece as well as the whole of Europe.
The Arts and Culture section once again explores the magical yet critical world of contemporary art and film. Accounts of how art saved the corporatized Nuit Blanche and how artist and York student Josh Vettivelu brought a traumatic and orgiastic experience to his audience are articulated by our wonderful Arts Editors Gina Webb and Amy Saunders, respectively. In an open letter to Excalibur, Sheri Granite laments how irresponsible journalism misrepresented her works. In film, Victoria Moufawad-Paul reviews the controversial Outside the Law, which poses difficult questions around revolutionary violence. Hadiyya Mwapachu, one of our lovely regular contributors, shares highlights from OPIRG’s recent successful film festival Rebels with a Cause, which tackled the prison-industrial complex among many other social justice issues.
The YU Free Press welcomes new members to our constantly expanding Editorial Collective and volunteer team. Theresa McGee joins us as News Editor, Gina Webb has come onboard as an Arts and Culture Editor, Aaron Manton will be assisting with Layout, Alexandria MacLachlan has joined the copy editing team, and Kenneth Mubu is our new Photo Editor.
As always, we also invite you to participate in the paper by contributing articles, poetry,
art, or fiction, or by joining the Collective. Our next issue will look at the politics and praxis of food, from the delicious to the disturbing. We encourage you all to join us.
YU Free Press Editorial Collective