PANSOW calls for changes to justice system following the death of two women at the NL Correctional Centre for Women

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) stands in solidarity with families of incarcerated women. We join them in calling on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to initiate long overdue changes within our provincial justice system.

The 2008 report, Decades of Darkness: Moving Towards the Light – A review of the prison systems in Newfoundland and Labrador noted that many of those who are housed in our provincial prisons are there for crimes stemming from poverty, addictions, and mental health issues. Yet adequate and appropriate programming and services, especially gender-specific programming, to address these needs are not present within our correctional institutions. Prisons are not equipped to deal with these issues and the living conditions in these institutions often lead to deterioration of mental health. We are at a critical moment following the deaths of two women at the NL Correctional Centre for Women, change through community collaboration is paramount.

Samantha Piercey, who died in prison last month, died on remand. Charged, but not convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, our province has some of the highest rates of remand in the country. Whenever possible, individuals on remand should remain in the community with supports.

There is an immediate and critical need for supports, staffing and resources, gender-specific health care, an alleviation of overcrowding, and incidents of lock down. We are supportive of the independent review initiated by Minister Parsons however we ask for civilian oversight of this process and the involvement of incarcerated women and their families.

Media Contacts
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Executive Director
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.639.8522
cbwomenscentre@gmail.com

Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
PANSOW, Co-Chair
Tel: 709.753.0220
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

About PANSOW
The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is a grassroots, feminist, and non-partisan network which gives a provincial voice on the issues facing the Status of Women in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW consists of all eight Status of Women Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador.

PANSOW seeks clarification regarding mandatory counselling for Mifegymiso

The following letter was sent to the Hon. Dr. John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services via email at the end of May 2018. PANSOW requested clarification on his comments regarding the need for women to receive counselling before being prescribed the abortion pill, Mifegymiso. To date, no response has been received from his office. We urge you to join us in contacting the Minister of Health and Community Services to ensure that Mifegymiso is readily available to all women throughout the province through clinics and their family doctor without the need for mandatory counselling. 

Dear Minister John Haggie,

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is seeking clarification on your statement in regards to counselling for the abortion pill, Mifegymiso. Are you suggesting that women receive mental health counselling before being prescribed the medication or just a discussion with their doctor about potential side-effects of the medication?

PANSOW represents the eight Status of Women Councils of this province and we are pro-choice organizations that support people’s right to choose. We want to see Mifegymiso covered by MCP and that every family doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe it to their patients.

It is important that women from any area of the province, particularly rural and remote areas, have access to this much needed and time sensitive service. Requiring women to access counselling before they can be prescribed the medication is a barrier with already lengthy wait times for counselling throughout the province or simply unavailable in some parts of the province.

We look forward to your response.

Thank you,

Janice Kennedy, Co-Chair of PANSOW

Media Contact
Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
PANSOW, Co-Chair
Tel: 709.753.0220
jenny@sjwomenscentre.ca

About PANSOW
The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is a grassroots, feminist, and non-partisan network which gives a provincial voice on the issues facing the Status of Women in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW consists of all eight Status of Women Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador.