Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Care and Compassion in the Community, Not Cages: A Demonstration Demanding Justice for Justin St. Amour

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHEN?
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
12:30pm – 1:00pm

WHERE?
Canadian Tribute to Human Rights
(corner of Elgin and Lisgar)

WHO?
Laureen St. Amour (Justin’s mother)
Paul Champ (Lawyer, Champ & Associates)
JP (Member, CPEP / Criminalization and Punishment Education Project)

WHY?
The inquest into the preventable December 2016 death of Justin St. Amour began on Monday, April 8, 2019. During the inquest, it has come to light that several opportunities were missed to provide Justin with adequate care and compassion in the community during the course of his life. Living with mental health issues and often homeless, Justin ended-up at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. Placed on and then taken off suicide watch, Justin tore his bed sheets and assembled a noose in his cell, and told a guard checking-in on him that he would take his own life if he did not speak to his supervisor. Despite this, his urgent call was not taken seriously and Justin hung himself with staff failing to intervene in time. Justin was taken to hospital, where he died eight days later. The incarceration and death of Justin St. Amour, like so many others who have been sent to and died in Ontario’s provincial jails, was preventable.

WHAT?
Those gathered at the April 17, 2019 demonstration will be demanding justice for Justin St. Amour and his family in the form of provincial government action to ensure that appropriate care and compassion for people living with mental health issues exists in the community so that they do not end-up in jails like the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre or dead.

Media Contact
Justin Piché, PhD (Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa)
613-793-1093 / justin.piche@uottawa.ca

Social Media
Facebook
Twitter


Monday, April 15, 2019

Caging isn't caring: Responding to the overdose crisis behind and beyond bars - A community conversation

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHEN?
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
6:00pm – 8:00pm

WHERE?
25One Community
251 Bank Street (2nd floor) / Ottawa

WHO?
Criminalization and Punishment Education Project
Drug Users Advocacy League
Overdose Prevention Ottawa

WHY?
While harm reduction advocates and medical professionals call upon the provincial government to reverse its recent decision to cut the number of overdose prevention sites in Ontario as people continue to die daily from preventable opioid overdoses, this crisis also persists in jails and prisons with far too little appropriate action. 

In the midst of this public health emergency, organizations that advocate for the rights of people who use drugs and people who have been criminalized in Ottawa are organizing a community conversation on what needs to change in order to avoid further overdose deaths in Ontario’s jails and prisons. This event is taking place in conjunction with the National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis, organized by the Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs. Those participating in the National Day of Action are demanding concrete action from all levels of government to address the overdose crisis, which has been causing devastation in the lives of Canadians on both sides of the walls for years.

WHAT?
During this event, statements will be read from individuals who are currently incarcerated in Ontario regarding the impact the overdose crisis has had on their lives behind bars and the recommendations they have to prevent future deaths in provincial sites of confinement. Speakers will then discuss the context of the overdose crisis in Ontario, the necessity of harm reduction both behind bars as well in the community, and the particular harms associated with substance use in the unsafe conditions produced in provincial jails and prisons. Refreshments and a light meal will be provided. This event aims to bring attention to issues facing people who use drugs behind and beyond bars, and to the broader themes of incarceration, substance use, and the need for increased access to harm reduction service delivery in Ontario.

Media Contact
Justin Piché, PhD (Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa)
613-793-1093 / justin.piche@uottawa.ca

Social Media
Facebook
Twitter

Recent Media
Leblanc, Sean, Sarah Speight, Justin Piché and Souheil Benslimane (2019) "Ontario must reduce overdose risks behind and beyond bars", Ottawa Citizen - April 8.