CPEP launches the Jail Accountability and Information Line

Since 2012, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) has brought together University of Ottawa and Carleton University professors and students, as well as former prisoners and other concerned members of the community to conduct research on, and raise awareness about, the need to reduce the use of imprisonment and improve conditions of confinement.

This week, the group launched the JAIL / Jail Accountability and Information Line where people imprisoned at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre and their loved ones can call 613-567-JAIL (5245) from 1pm to 4pm on weekdays. The JAIL hotline has two objectives: accountability and information.

It aims to hold OCDC staff and management, along with the Ontario Ministry of Community and Correctional Service and provincial government, accountable for their administration of the Innes Road jail and encourage the observance of human rights standards for prisoners housed there. To this end, when the JAIL receives reports of problematic conditions and mistreatment of prisoners at OCDC, volunteers work with callers to identify potential solutions and take steps to attempt to prevent further harm. The JAIL also provides callers with contact information to local community care and service providers to help facilitate the safe re-entry of prisoners into the community upon release from OCDC.

If you are interested in prison justice work and want to volunteer for the JAIL hotline, contact Justin Piché (Associate Professor) via email at justin.piche@uottawa.ca. Volunteer roles include fundraising, research, French and English communications, building community partnerships with care and services providers who can facilitate prisoner re-entry, developing complaint resolution plans, as well as call intake and debriefing.

To learn more about the JAIL hotline, read articles about it published in the Ottawa Citizen by journalist Bruce Deachman and CBC News, listen to Professor Piché’s interview on All in a Day with CBC Radio Ottawa’s Alan Neal or watch his interview on Ottawa News at 6 with CBC Ottawa’s Adrian Harewood (at 26:45 to 33:40).