CONTENT WARNING – POLICING/PRISONS, POLICE VIOLENCE, DEATH, RACISM, COLONIALISM, ABUSE
This month’s guests are Colleen Lyons and Justin Piché of the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison in Kemptville. The Coalition, also known as CAPP Kemptville, is a group of community members and allies opposed to the Ontario provincial government’s plan for a new 235-bed prison in Kemptville, Ontario, Canada. The geographic area on which this proposed prison will sit is the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe, and as Colleen and Justin will discuss, the prison’s building and operation poses a direct threat to decolonization and land back. It will also exacerbate existing racial and class inequities throughout the region, overwhelm local healthcare infrastructure, destroy vital farmland, and prop up Ontario’s broken bail and remand system.
In this interview, Colleen and Justin provide a brief history of Eastern Ontario’s prison system, introduce various stakeholders in the fight against Kemptville’s proposed prison, and discuss the consequences of prison expansion under the guise of reform. Since we spoke in early August, Colleen has announced that she is running for Mayor of North Grenville, the municipality in which Kemptville sits. We recommend that listeners visit CAPP’s website or check out the news coverage linked in the show notes to better understand the timeline and next steps for this fight as well as the broader carceral landscape in so-called Canada.
Editor’s note* – The fight against prison expansion in Ontario is deeply personal to me; my father was incarcerated in Eastern Ontario as a teen, and I am incredibly grateful to our guests for their knowledge and their work. That being said, the Canadian prison system is disproportionately violent toward Black and Indigenous people, so neither I nor my guests have the lived experience to cover the Canadian prison and policing systems in a comprehensive way. Listeners are strongly encouraged to seek out Indigenous and Black journalists reporting on the fight for Canadian prison justice and police/prison abolition; three of my favorite creators are Karl Dockstader, Brandi Morin, and Independent Black Media (linked below).
-Artist(s)/Organization Bios + Pronouns:
Colleen Lynas (she/her) is a member of the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison in Kemptville. She has previously sat on the board of Seniors’ Community Services in Kemptville, chaired the Kemptville Task Force on Affordable Housing, and— as she announced a week after this interview, is now running for mayor of North Grenville, Ontario, Canada.
Justin Piché (he/him) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Justin is also a member of the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project, a research and advocacy group of criminologists, students, researchers, community members, front-line workers, and individuals affected by criminalization and punishment that aims to build stronger, safer communities ᴡithout human cages, punishment & violence.
About Art Against Displacement
Based in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Lower East Side, Art Against Displacement is a coalition of artists and arts professionals that seeks to amplify the demands of those whose lives and livelihoods are placed at risk by predatory development and resettlement, and to work in solidarity with grassroots organizations toward community-led rezoning. The group affirms that gentrification is not an inevitable effect of urban development, and refuses to let the work of cultural producers be instrumentalized towards the displacement of long-term residents and businesses.
@cappkemptville on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok
@aad.nyc on Instagram, @artagainstnyc on Twitter