Updated: Jul 22, 2021
August 10th marks the anniversary of the death of Eddie Nalon, who died while incarcerated in the segregation unit of the Millhaven Maximum Security Prison in Bath, Ontario in 1974. The following year, prisoners at Millhaven marked anniversary of Nalon’s death by engaging in a hunger strike and refusing to work. By 1976, Prisoners’ Justice Day was being marked by thousands of prisoners across Canada and external committees were formed to amplify the concerns of those locked inside. August 10th, the day prisoners have set aside as a day to fast and refuse to work in a show of solidarity to remember those who have died while in custody; victims of murder, suicide and neglect while in Canadian prisons.
Since 1974, many more people have died while incarcerated and the injustices facing prisoners have continued to rise – along with Canada’s prison population. While Prisoners’ Justice Day originated many years ago, the horrendous conditions that were faced by prisoners then continue to be faced by prisoners today. On Prisoners’ Justice Day 2020, prisoners persevere in their non-violent resistance (hunger strikes, refusal to work) to a system that consistently violates their rights in horrific ways.
On August 10th, we stand in solidarity with those with lived experience of incarceration and many other organizations holding vigils, services and demonstrations to raise public awareness of the horrendous and inhumane conditioned of confinement in Canadian prisons.