The learning event explored a number of critical issues regarding Pathways to Criminalization for Women:

  • Why are poverty, mental health, addictions, violence and abuse pathways to criminalization?
  • How can the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be a catalyst to address the concerns of criminalized indigenous women?
  • What are the struggles for criminalized African Nova Scotia women and Queer and Trans women?
Saint Mary's President Robert Summerby-Murray welcomes the participants
Saint Mary’s President Robert Summerby-Murray welcomes the participants

IMG_0938El Jones – spoken word artist, activist, professor Saint Mary’s University, former poet Poet Laureate of Halifax Regional Municipality.  “Criminalization affects everyone in the Black community – as mothers, sisters, wives – Black women share shame and blame when a member of the community goes to prison.”



IMG_0946Pamela Glode-Desrochers, Executive Director of the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, has worked for 40 years to reduce poverty and crime and to promote personal and community health and well-being in Halifax’s urban Aboriginal population. Ms. Glode-Desrochers spoke of the negative effects of the government policy of assimilation on indigenous peoples.  She noted that services such as those provided by the Friendship Centre have been of enormous benefit.  “But there is an urgent need for more fundamental long-term solutions.”


IMG_20160506_104658527Ardath Whynacht – artist/scholar, professor of sociology at Mount Allison University.  Ms. Whynacht offered a critical analysis of the impact of our gender binary correctional system on Queer and Trans people.  Although research on problems faced by these incarcerated people is inadequate, Ms. Whynacht stated it appears they are significantly more likely to be victims of violence, suicide attempts and addictions.  She advocated the adoption of a trauma-informed correctional practice.