Human Rights In Action for Provincially Incarcerated Women in Alberta

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The Human Rights in Action (HRIA) project is dedicated to ensuring that the human rights of all prisoners are protected, especially those of women who are racialized and those with disabling mental health issues.

The HRIA project vision is to increase our success in keeping and returning women to the community. The groups involved in developing the project are also committed to working to decrease the use of prison and to developing release strategies for those who are currently incarcerated.

All of the HRIA project’s work is aimed at achieving substantive equality of women in and from prison. We work to address the intersectional, and multi-dimensional oppression women face, with a focus on the specific issues faced by Aboriginal women.

The project is also about enabling women to survive criminalization and prison by reinforcing their own, pre-existing capacities and strengths.

This handbook is meant to assist you to become a self and peer advocate. It is a tool that is intended to ensure that those whose rights are interfered with have support in addressing discriminatory treatment, and are able to identity and address areas that require system advocacy and change.

Changing Paths

The curriculum for the Changing Paths Literacy and Life Skills Program.

'Elizabeth Fries, Bakes & Boils' Cookbook

Recipes compiled by the Changing Paths participants and published as a cookbook.


Solitude & Cold Storage: Women's Journeys of Endurance in Segregation

The effect of segregation in women's prisons is the topic of this groundbreaking new study published by sociologist Dr. Joane Martel and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton. Until Dr. Martel's study, very little research had been done into the effects of segregation on women in prison, despite the fact that it is a common and historic practice in Canada. The results of the study address such issues as: the over-representation of Aboriginal women in segregation, abuses of the practice, and the difficulty women have relating to others once released from 'cold storage.' The report stands as an indictment of an abusive practice fundamental to Canada's correctional system, and calls for its abolition.


Nobody There: Making Peace with Motherhood

The motherhood experiences of women in conflict with the law is the topic of this study by sociologist Karen Martin and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton. The report traces eight women's lives from their earliest childhood experiences to their present-day realities. All of these women have, at various times, given up or lost custody of their children, either temporarily or permanently, and the study attempts to create a greater understanding of the factors that made such decisions a necessity.

Awakening the Spirit: A Process for Change - The Impact of Aboriginal Cultural & Spiritual Events

This evaluation was inspired by the report Common Threads, because of the significance many of the women of that study placed on spirituality in their process of change. The intent of Awakening the Spirit was to understand what difference Aboriginal cultural spiritual events made for women in conflict with the law. The report encompasses the identification of unifying characteristics of a change process for women, the identification of distinct features of an aboriginal way, and the impact on agency staff of offering Aboriginal cultural spiritual events.


Building Paths: Employment Needs of Provincially Sentenced Women

Building Pathways: The Employment Needs of Federally Sentenced Women

In the fall of 1992, Employment and Immigration Canada provided funding to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton to examine the employment and training needs of federally sentenced women. A study was conducted in which a variety of information was collected from thirty-five federally sentenced women across Canada. This report provides the outcomes of that study, and makes recommendations to enhance employment opportunities for federally sentenced women.

Common Threads: Women who have been in Conflict tell their Stories

This report, also known as the "Success Stories Project," is published by sociologist Karen Martin and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton. The study is a compilation of 13 interviews with women who have managed to stop being in conflict with the law - who are now crime and addition-free, and who are making positive contributions to their communities and families. The report includes some of the women's own writings, and encompasses such subjects as the journey for women who were sexually abused, and the journey for women who felt unwanted.