‘Those people meant something to someone’: People gather in solidarity at Sudbury jail
By Molly Frommer
SUDBURY – Prisoners’ Justice Day is a solidarity movement that takes place annually on Aug. 10. around the world. In Sudbury, people gathered outside the jail to acknowledge inmates who have died of unnatural causes and violent deaths over the years.
The John Howard Society said attention must be focused on the unnecessary deaths of people while they’re incarcerated.
Berghammer said there are a lot of changes that can be made inside correctional facilities to prevent more deaths.
“Like changing the bedsheets so that no one can hang themselves. Things like changing what they call ‘pressure points’ or ‘breaking points’ in the jail, in which people repeatedly try to attempt suicide – so changing the knobs in the shower or things like that. Those things can be done easily,” Berghammer said.
Community agencies were also in attendance and said they want to be a voice for those who don’t currently have one.
“We have the ability to say things that you can’t say while incarcerated and we have the ability to put pressure on people and draw attention to situations that are causing harm in the hopes of affording change,” said Stacey Lavallie, a program coordinator with Sudbury District Restorative Justice.
Staff with the Elizabeth Fry Society in Sudbury said they attend this ceremony every year, not only for those who have died while incarcerated but also to honour individuals they work with on a daily basis.
“When people are facing criminal charges or they are incarcerated, they are sort of hitting their rock bottom and other people who may have been supports in their past are no longer supporting them. So, if we aren’t here, there is nobody for them,” said Cory Roslyn, the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario.
The John Howard Society said it’s important to talk about the conditions and what happens inside jails, in hopes of stopping more deaths from happening.