Fighting for Justice for Women in Federal Prisons

Justice in P4W

Fighting for Justice for Women in Federal Prisons

In response to an altercation in the Federal Prison for Women in April 1994, the Warden of the Prison for Women called in a male Institutional Emergency Response Team (IERT) from Kingston Penitentiary to conduct a cell extraction and to strip search eight women in segregation. Correctional Service Canada taped the event, and the footage was eventually aired on national television. People were outraged by what they saw. Serious questions were raised about the state of women’s corrections and in Correctional Service Canada. 

In response, the Government appointed Madam Justice Louise Arbour to conduct an investigation into those incidents and  Correctional Service Canada’s management of related issues and events.  Arbour’s Report to the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston was released in 1996.

The events leading up to this enquiry and the findings of the enquiry are discussed in this interview by Joey Twins, one of the inmates at the time, and Senator Kim Pate, a former Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.  This comprehensive report included many recommendations such as the establishment of a Deputy Commissioner for Women, the closure of Prison for Women (P4W) and to accelerate the move toward modern regional institutions specifically designed to meet the security and programming needs of women inmates. 

with Joey Twins and Kim Pate
interviewed by Sue Colley


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This project has been made possible in part by Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program.