Prisoners' Justice Day Release Camp

Dear community,
Please help us raise funds to organize and conduct a successful and impactful Prisoners' Justice Day (PJD) Release Camp to commemorate PJD 2022 and provide concrete support for those being released from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) and the Ottawa Courthouse and their families.

Please find a Budget Breakdown following the Event Description section below.

We are also accepting monetary donations through e-transfers, cheques, or cash. Please send e-transfers to [email redacted] with a note that says: Release Camp and please use the following password: Prisoners

Cheques can be issued to the following recipient: JAIL Hotline c/o Journal of Prisoners on Prisons and mail them to the following address: 120 University Private, Room 14049, Ottawa ON K1N 6N5.

We are accepting cash donations as well in the following cities: so-Called Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. If you wish to give cash, please email [email redacted] to set up a drop-off or DM @JusticeForAnthonyAust on Instagram OR @CPEPgroup on Instagram and Facebook, and @jail_line on Twitter.

Event Description:

The following event respects COVID-19 safety protocols such as masking, hand washing, and physical distancing.

Leading up to Prisoners Justice Day 2022, which takes place on August 10th, members of the Jail Accountability and Information Line (JAIL hotline), the Justice for Anthony Aust Collective (J4AAC, Free Bird House), and the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) will hold two separate PJD Release Camps to welcome newly released kin: one on August 6th and the other on August 10th.

People released from jails and prisons have access to little to no support and are let out to fend for themselves. The PJD Release Camps will provide direct and concrete support for people newly released from the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC), the Ottawa Courthouse, and their families as an act of solidarity, not charity. We recognize that people affected by carcerality know their needs and what best keeps them safe. We are merely meeting them where they are. Instead of supporting people like they claim they do, the state erects impenetrable barriers for the Black, Indigenous, racialized, disabled, Women (including Trans Women), 2 Spirit, Non-Binary, and other people it forcibly confines in human cages and disenfranchises as part of the normalized colonial war on people and lands.

The PJD Release Camps will:

  • Provide release pack essentials (cellphones with plans, toiletries, bus passes, etc.) and obtain the necessary information from folks, such as sizes and preferences, for other items that we would deliver to them later;
  • Provide people being released and visiting families the amount of $250;
  • Provide people housing: we will rent a house for a month that newly released people can use if they need temporary shelter until they find stable and long-term housing. The JAIL hotline has been raising money for individual people released from OCDC and other jails. Renting one space instead of multiple hotel/motel rooms will help us save money while allowing us to provide temporary housing for folks who direly need a roof over their head in this unaffordable rent market;
  • Support people in finding housing by looking for units and raising the money they need to cover it: first and last month + ongoing support in making sure folks have access to financial support if need be + supporting folks who experience food insecurity and other obstacles;
  • Determine if there are mutual aid needs and organize mutual aid callouts for folks coming out;
  • Conduct to get a picture of people’s needs, the obstacles they face, and the conditions they had to endure while incarcerated, as well as the solutions they think would support them in living their lives to the full extent of it;
  • Share food at the camp and send those released to Greens & Beans (137 Main St, Ottawa) who provide meals for those experiencing food insecurity free of charge and out of their own pocket;
  • Connect folks to services in the community that already provide support in, but not limited to: employment, housing, and physical and mental health.
  • Etc.

The JAIL hotline is a prisoner-led initiative that has been taking calls from people incarcerated at the Ottawa jail since December 10, 2018. People behind bars communicate their plight to us, which gives us extensive knowledge about the issues they face. Witnessing the colonial state's dehumanizing, violent, and genocidal treatment of our kin springs us into action. We must limit the ability of the state and other entities involved in carceral control to harm our kin. The only way towards this is through strengthening our communities, commitments, and ability to directly protect each other. We would like the public to know that the release camp is not merely a one-day endeavour, but rather an action that inscribes itself in the daily dedication and commitment to supporting criminalized peoples led by ex-prisoners, racialized, queer, and disabled JAIL hotline organizers and their comrades. The JAIL hotline engages in abolitionist love and care as a daily practice. Some of us open our homes to people coming out of jail, raise money for criminalized kin and their families, cook for our kin, make sure they have access to the necessities of life, and spend countless hours protecting each other in concrete ways from the incessant attacks of the state as much as we can. The JAIL hotline is trying to increase its capacity to directly challenge the state while keeping each other safe based on radical and decolonial politics of love, community, rage, and resistance.

The Justice for Anthony Aust Collective (J4AAC) is a small organization that was started by the family of Anthony Aust and local activists following the murder of Anthony at the hands of the Ottawa Police on 7 October 2020. The J4AAC is anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, internationalist, abolitionist organization based on mutual aid and direct action principles. Since we started organizing, J4AAC the group has been invested in challenging the state head-on through direct action and deep organizing. Besides challenging oppressive, colonial, genocidal, racist, and apartheid structures, the Collective's goal is to show that better futures are possible and attainable by actively building structures of care and love. J4AAC aims to launch the Free Bird House, a community-led house where criminalized youth can come for housing, food, cultural, and holistic supports. Since they started organizing, J4AAC organized and participated in vigils, protests, and mutual aid outreach in our neighbourhood in so-called Ottawa. We plan to continue this work and expand it. As an abolitionist organization, J4AAC will support the JAIL Hotline and CPEP in successfully conducting the PJD Release Camps, including offering their time to support, but not limited to, the temporary housing part of the Camps as it falls within the goals of the Free Bird House.

Since 2012, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) has engaged in community organizing, campaigning, oversight and advocacy work, research, and public education. CPEP members - including people with lived experience of criminalization and loved ones, university students and professors, and other members of the community - collectively aim to reduce the use and harms of imprisonment and other forms of carcerality in the short-term while working towards decarceral futures. Contributing to the JAIL hotline and its mutual aid initiatives, including the PJD Release Camps, is an extension of CPEP's longstanding commitment to supporting abolitionist initiatives in the community.

Budget Breakdown:

Our current target budget is $29,855. Out of this budget, only $930 will go towards the logistics of organizing the PJD Release Camp. $12,500 will go directly to the pockets of people being released in cash form. $5,000 will go towards renting two apartments for a month to provide temporary shelter for criminalized people who need temporary and emergency housing, pending long-term and stable options. $11,425 will go towards purchasing the items needed by those released based on the requests of people incarcerated at OCDC and our extensive experience providing Release Packs. We need all the support we can get!!!

We will distribute a $250 financial support to each of the 25 visitors. On the other side, we will provide 25 people being released from custody a $250 stipend as well as the items mentioned below. We are accepting monetary and in-kind donations of items. Please note that the more items donations we get, the more money will end up directly in the pockets of our released neighbours. We therefore encourage both monetary and items donations. Please see the items list below and email [email redacted] to arrange pickups/drop-offs if you can provide them.

Money can be either sent through e-transfers, cheques, or cash. Please send e-transfers to [email redacted] with a note that says: Release Camp and please use the following password: Prisoners

Cheques can be issued to the following recipient: JAIL Hotline c/o Journal of Prisoners on Prisons and mail them to the following address: 120 University Private, Room 14049, Ottawa ON K1N 6N5.

We are accepting cash donation as well in the following cities: so-Called Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. If you wish to give cash, please email [email redacted] to set up a drop-off or DM @JusticeForAnthonyAust on Instagram OR @CPEPgroup on Instagram and Facebook, and @jail_line on Twitter.

Click the following link and scroll to the bottom of the document for a simplified breakdown of the budget on a spreadsheet.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Breakdown of Budget:

  • Financial support for 25 people being released from custody (we budgeted $6,250 for this purpose, $250 per person): we established this amount at the request of people incarcerated at OCDC. It's not nearly enough but we will be conducting interviews with people coming out of jail and organizing fundraisers for them to meet their needs.
  • Financial support for 25 families and loved ones visiting people in custody (we budgeted $6,250 for this purpose, $250 per person): the majority of criminalized people come from poor socio-economic backgrounds. The financial strain incarceration puts on the families of incarcerated people is usually unbearable. The PJD Release Camp aims to offer some support to these families. We stress that we are engaged in this work as a daily practice that is not limited to this Camp. For more information about the adverse and violent impacts of incarceration on families, please visit https://www.prisonricochet.ca/en/bienvenue-2/
  • House rental to house release people who have no or no safe housing to go to (we budgeted $5,000 for this purpose): we aim to rent two apartments at 4 to 6 people coming out of jail for one month. We usually put people up in hotels and motels at a great cost (at least $100/night OR $3,000/month). It became increasingly pricey to find and put people in hotels/motels as the high summer season made it increasingly expensive and hard to find temporary safer shelter. Besides, housing is one of the main barriers for criminalized people and a leading cause that endangers them and puts them in harm's way. Instead of providing housing for everyone, the state continuously violates its own standards of rights and freedoms as housing has been considered a human right according to colonial courts and system. We do not believe in the state as a protective entity. Quiet the opposite: it's a vehicle of unhindered and normalized violence. Only us keep each other safe. Please help us in our struggle.
  • Toiletries and sunscreen for 25 people (we budgeted $750 for this purpose, $30 per person):
  • Shampoos for straight, curly, and kinky hair.
  • Conditioners for straight, curly, and kinky hair.
  • Body washes for all skin types and for sensitive skin.
  • Lotions/moisturizers for all skin types and rich ones for very dry skin
  • Loofahs (preferably natural, non-plastic ones for sustainability)
  • Sunscreens for body and for face: we need to make sure our friends coming out of jail, sometimes after months/years of being deprived by the jail regular access to yard and sunshine.
  • Phones (unlocked), chargers, headphones, and phone plans for 25 people (we budgeted $3,750 for this purpose.) Receiving phone donations would decrease our budget drastically. Please make sure the phones are smart phones in good working condition): communication is of the utmost importance for survival and making sure released people can reach their loved ones, the services they direly need to access, and coordinate their lives.
  • Backpacks for 25 people, new or gently used only (we budgeted $625 for this purpose, $25 per backpack per person): this will help folks to carry the starter pack items and other purposes.
  • Socks and underwear for 25 people. ONLY NEW ITEMS (we budgeted $500 for this purpose, $20 per person)
  • For men, women, trans and non-binary folks:
  • boxers, shorts, bras, sports bras, incontinence underwear, panties, etc.
  • high and low cotton socks and wool socks of different sizes
  • Monthly bus passes (we budgeted $3,500 for this purpose, $140 per person per pass): mobility is of utmost importance for those exiting incarceration. PJD Release Camp comrades will be providing people being released rides to wherever they need to get. However, we need to make sure people can continue having access to a form or the other of transportation so they can get places, get to safety, flee unsafe situations, make their appointments, etc.
  • Hats for 25 people new or gently used (we budgeted $375 for this purpose, $15 per hat per person): with this heat wave affecting people around the world, it is important folks to be able to protect themselves from the sun.
  • Reusable Water Bottles new items only (we budgeted $150 for this purpose, $6 per bottle per person): we will be distributing filtered water to folks coming out and need reusable bottles.
  • Drinks for 25 people plus 15 comrades (we budgeted $140 for this purpose, $3.50 per person): we will distribute these drinks at the PJD Release Camp:
  • Regular or diet: Coke, Pepsi and other pop cans, juice boxes/bottles, sports drinks, etc.
  • Snacks for 25 people and 15 comrades (we budgeted $280 for this purpose, $7 per person)
  • Meals hot or cold trays for 25 people and 15 comrades (we budgeted $480 for this purpose, $12 per person): sharing food is sharing love. We would like folks coming out to have a meal. For that purpose, we will cater from Greens & Beans, who are already providing free meals to people coming out of jail and coordinating with the JAIL Hotline.
  • Logistical expenses:
  • Gas for comrades to run errands and drive released people to where they need to get (we budgeted $200 for this purpose)
  • Printing (we budgeted $0 for this purpose because we have access to a printer)
  • Honorarium for speakers with lived experience (we budgeted $400 for 4 speakers, $100 per speaker): we are inviting speakers who are ex-prisoners or family members of people who died by incarceration.
  • Transportation for out-of-towners (we budgeted $250 for this purpose): we will be joined by two people from Tkaronto. One is an Indigenous person who supports incarcerated people, and the second is an Afro-Indigenous mother who lost her child to policing. We need these funds to cover two bus tickets.
  • Groceries: comrades will prepare home-cooked meals for our guests staying with us for three days.
  • Kira Smith 
    • $20 
    • 12 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 1 mo
  • Raymond Mar 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • Emily Mitamura 
    • $10 
    • 1 mo
See all

Fundraising team (2)

Jail Hotline 
Organizer
Raised $4,735 from 56 donations
Ottawa, ON
Nhora Aust 
Team member
Raised $120 from 2 donations