Transcript: Ep. 6 - Why are women the fastest-growing prison population? | Jun 25, 2019

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Hi, I'm Colin Ellis,
and this is
On Docs,
a podcast about documentaries
and the stories they tell.
KIM PATE:
When Nelson Mandela came in
as president,
one of the first moves he did
was to free all the women.
To relegate a mother to prison
was to subjugate generations
to come.
(Cell doors slamming)
More than half of the women
who are in prison
are racialized women.
Many of them have experienced
horrific violence
as children and as adults.
BIANCA MERCER:
Not having that motherly love,
basically, is what got me here.
COLIN:
This week's doc is a story
about prison life,
specifically for prisoners
who are women.
NANCE ACKERMAN:
The statistic that women are the
fastest-rising prison population
in Canada and around the world
is really what made it
very urgent for us.
COLIN:
That's Nance Ackerman.
She's one of the filmmakers
who made
Conviction,
a doc that questions the very
notion of punishment and prison.
There are nearly 40% more women
in Canadian federal prisons
than there were in 2007.
And in the U.S., the number
of incarcerated women
has increased at twice the pace
of men since 1980.
But why?
To learn more about prison
culture,
the filmmakers knew they needed
a point of view from the inside.
NANCE:
When it comes to social
issue docs,
to try to be in the other
people's shoes
and tell their story for them
is, to me, a pretty dangerous
path to walk.
COLIN:
So, they decided to empower
their subjects with a camera,
headphones, a microphone,
and art supplies.
BIANCA MERCER:
We know that being in jail,
and the whole issue across
Canada right now
needs to be told, so we were
just ready to open our mouths
and start speaking what need
to be spoken, I guess.
COLIN:
That's Bianca Mercer.
She's a 25-year-old student
at Dalhousie University
and an ex-convict.
She's also one of the women
featured in the film.
BIANCA:
Instead of investing into more
jails, to invest in the women,
and put money
into our mental health systems
and our addiction systems
and make more resources
for women.
COLIN:
What Bianca is talking about
is a provocative concept
known as decarceration.
It's the opposite of
incarceration,
where instead of putting people
in jail,
decarceration focuses on healing
traumas and restorative justice.
BIANCA:
We know what we need to get help
and if people would just listen
instead of just throwing us
in jail,
then we'd actually see
a difference.
COLIN:
We'll talk about that and more
next,
On Docs.
Nance and Bianca, thank you
so much for joining me today.
NANCE:
Thanks for having us.
BIANCA:
Yeah, thank you.
COLIN:
Nance, I want to just start
with you.
You made a documentary
about women in prison.
What sparked the project?
NANCE:
Well, it was a pretty heavy-duty
collaboration
with Teresa MacInnes
and Ariella Pahlke.
The three of us had been
really influenced
by the work of Kim Pate,
who at the time, well,
she's a senator now,
but at the time was
the executive director
of the Elizabeth Fry Society,
who fights for the rights
of prisoners.
And her work surrounding
the Ashley Smith case
all struck us as something
that needed to be explored,
and the statistic that women
are the fastest-rising
prison population in Canada
and around the world
is really what made it
very urgent for us.
So, we decided to start on this,
but we wanted to do it as a true
collaboration with women inside.
So, that's when we wrote Bianca
into it.
COLIN:
That was, yeah, that struck out
for me.
The women in the film are
actually collaborators.
Why was that, I guess,
important to you?
NANCE:
Well, first of all, in almost
all of my documentaries
and most of the other women's
documentaries,
that's how we operate.
We're very, um...
It's when it comes to social
issue docs,
to try to be in the other
people's shoes
and tell their story for them
is, to me, is a pretty dangerous
path to walk.
So, as a journalist
and as an artist,
we felt that they were
the best people
to tell their own stories.
COLIN:
And Bianca, why did you agree
to be part of this documentary?
BIANCA:
(Laughing) Oh, God!
I actually was, like, kind of on
strike at first about the film.
I really wanted to be
part of it,
but they kept putting me
on levels
and not letting me go
when they first came.
But, I finally got off of
disciplinary,
so I got to go over
and see what was going on
with the film,
and what's gonna start
happening.
And at first, it was kind of
just like...
it just kind of sparked me
'cause I thought it was just
gonna be something little.
I never expected it to be
something this big,
but after I got released,
I just really liked doing it
'cause not only it gave me
kind of something to do
other than using and being
on drugs and stuff.
It actually gave me hope
to actually make change,
so that's kind of what really
got me into doing the film
a lot more after my release
and stuff, so, it was cool.
COLIN:
Well, the film follows the lives
of five women,
and their lives in and out
of prison,
and there's a lot of access
I guess that you would need,
both from the prison
and the women themselves,
and I want to start with
the women first.
You're talking to them at very
low points in their lives,
Nance.
How did you establish trust
with them?
NANCE:
Well, that might be a better
question for Bianca,
but I think she can answer it,
too.
Um, it's sort of the same way
you establish trust with anybody
who's gonna share a huge part
of their life with you.
Um, you tend to share a part
of your own life
So, I shared some of
my experiences
that were not similar,
but could be relatable.
I spent a lot of time listening,
and spent a lot of time
being there for them
and not necessarily always
with a camera in my hand.
So, I don't know, maybe,
B, do you ...
BIANCA:
Yeah, I kind of think, like,
the film crew when they came in,
it's kind of like a pack of
wolves when you're an outsider.
You come and you kind of just
show your most vulnerable points
to kind of, like, let them in.
But not only that, I don't
even think that us women
that did the film
even needed trust.
We kind of just needed to have
our voice heard,
and it had really nothing to do
with trust at the end of it.
We know that being in jail
and the whole issue across
Canada right now
needs to be told.
So, we were just ready
to open our mouths
and start speaking what need
to be spoken, I guess.
So, yeah, I don't really think
it came down to trust.
I just think it came down
to having to make a change.
NANCE:
Yeah, we were just a conduit,
basically.
You know, these are very
well-spoken,
artistic, intelligent women,
and this was just...
we just gave them the tools.
PRISON GUARD, IN FILM:
Remember, what are you today?
TREENA SMITH, IN FILM:
I'm a filmmaker, and I'm sober.
PRISON GUARD:
That's right, okay.
TREENA:
Okay.
Thank you so much.
Freedom, freedom!
PRISON GUARD:
I have one female for release,
Treena Smith, time expiry.
TREENA:
Peace!
(Talking indistinctly)
Freed, released, unleashed.
Time complete.
Walking back into society,
riddled with anxiety.
COLIN:
They're operating the cameras
themselves,
and are they actually involved
in the editing, too?
NANCE:
Yeah, I mean, we...
We did a big sort of, you know,
rough-cut edit,
but with all the footage
that was in,
we presented it to all the five
characters and--
or the participants,
collaborators.
We showed them the footage,
and they had a lot of input
as to how... right?
I mean, you know, you...
BIANCA:
Yeah, I was the pickiest
out of all of them.
(Colin laughing)
NANCE:
She had a few scenes.
I mean, 'cause she revealed
probably more than most,
and there were a few scenes
that she helped edit, for sure.
COLIN:
And what about the prison
itself?
Like, what were the logistics
of shooting in there?
NANCE:
Well, I mean, we started, what,
five years ago?
Like, almost five,
four-and-a-half years ago.
So, it took us two years
to get access,
three years to get access
to the federal system.
So, it took us two years
to get in,
and it was a lot of meetings
and a lot of convincing...
convincing the prison system
that this actually isn't
a prison film.
This isn't even
an anti-prison film.
This is basically society needs
to take responsibility
for women, um, and for men,
for anybody who is marginalized
and criminalized.
We need to take responsibility
for our mentally ill,
and the prisons are basically
getting used as warehouses
and rehab centres and they're...
what they do on the inside
was being revealed already
in news stories
and, you know, Bianca talks
about that.
But that really wasn't,
it's what happens on the outside
is what the film was about,
and how the prisons shouldn't
be existing in the first place.
And so, they actually were okay
with all that.
They haven't seen the film yet.
The federal system has,
and loved it.
The provincial system,
we're going to be having a
screening with them
in a month or so.
COLIN:
Oh, they loved it, eh?
So, what did they...
what were their, I guess,
their feedback to you?
NANCE:
Um, well, we showed it to one of
the correctional officers
who was sort of head of
the programming.
She was crying quite a lot,
she was upset.
There was quite a bit of
comments about it
in terms of how accurate it was,
how that they felt that, um,
the federal system for women
had basically tried
to replace P4W,
the prison for women
in Kingston,
by building five, now six,
they're building another one,
if you can believe it,
smaller ones that were supposed
to be very forward-thinking
and no barbed wire
and no cameras,
like Kim says in the film,
and they agreed that they had
gone back to what they know.
They went back to traditional
prison system,
and these women are still being
imprisoned for being victims,
for suffering from PTSD
and for turning to addiction.
COLIN:
The film is a look at the
experience of women in prison.
Do you know if the experience
for women
is greatly different from--
or is it greatly different
from men in prison?
BIANCA:
Yes! (Laughing)
Yeah, I find, um...
if we were to get onto the men's
side and do a film like this,
I think they'd have to close
down jails,
like the stuff that goes on
over there,
it's probably way worse
than what goes on
on the women's side,
and I've definitely been abused
and neglected by guards in jail,
so I can only imagine what
the men are going through.
COLIN:
I think a lot of us have
an idea of prison from TV shows.
I grew up watching
Oz.
Orange is the New Black
is
obviously a very popular show
about women in prison.
Do these shows have anything
to say about incarcerated women?
Is it accurate, is it fair?
What do you think?
BIANCA:
I think that, um,
the personalities
and the mental illnesses
the characters have,
like for
Orange is the New
Black,
um, they're very accurate.
I think the violence
that goes on during,
in some prisons and jails
across Canada
and in the States and stuff,
they may be like that,
but I've never really
experienced anyone being stabbed
or, like, physically abused
by another inmate.
It's more just kind of neglect
from guards and stuff like that.
I've heard of women, like,
sexually assaulted
by male guards through stories
and stuff I've read online,
but I never really experienced
any of that
throughout my incarceration,
but the shows they have on TV
and on Netflix and stuff,
they definitely show
personalities
and the mental illness issues
that they have inside jails now
and prisons and stuff.
So, I think it's accurate
in that way.
COLIN:
What do you think, Nance?
I'm curious from a filmmaker's
point of view
if you think these shows are
doing a good or poor job
of portraying prison life.
NANCE:
Yeah, I don't know.
I don't want to sit in
judgement.
You know, documentary is so
different than fiction.
So, I don't want to sit in
judgement of fiction shows.
They're telling the story
that are written by writers,
and you know,
I think as Bianca says,
I do think it is quite
interesting
how they do go into the
backstories of the women
and the addiction and mental
illness.
So, in that way, I think some of
them are doing a good job.
I do think that the whole
concept that incarceration
is entertainment
is what disturbs me more.
Um, that, not as a person,
as a woman,
that's what bothers me.
COLIN:
You mentioned before that women
are the fastest-growing prison
population.
Do you know why that is?
NANCE:
One word: poverty.
BIANCA:
Abuse, addiction.
NANCE:
Mental illness.
It's basically they're the most
marginalized,
and, um, if you want to look
at statistics,
I think it's around 92% of women
in custody
have experienced sexual and
physical abuse as a child.
BIANCA:
And I would say it's more than
that, it's probably 100%.
Most women in there
that have experienced
some of kind of abuse,
whether it's emotional,
physical or sexual,
for sure, hands down.
WOMAN, IN FILM:
I just wanted to introduce
Kim Pate,
who's the executive director
of the Canadian Association
of Elizabeth Fry Society.
KIM PATE, IN FILM:
More than half of the women
who are in prison
are racialized women.
Most of them are mothers,
most of them are poor.
Many of them have experienced
horrific violence
as children and as adults.
And so, they very early on
dealt with mental health issues
or addiction issues.
NANCE:
I think you're going to find
that most women in society
have experienced it,
and I think it's just who has
access to the support
to deal with it.
BIANCA:
And jail's pretty much
where they put us
when they can't figure out
what to do, basically.
NANCE:
Yeah, and you see Sue,
who's the Elizabeth Fry worker
in the film,
who is trying
to help people with access
and getting them support
on the outside,
but she's, at the time of
filming,
I mean, we filmed for
two-and-a-half years,
so it changed,
but, um, at one point
I was asking her,
and she had 62 cases on the go,
and flat-out and basically,
barely, barely getting 'er done,
anything done with each of them.
She just could do
what she could do.
Their court dates, there's all
kinds of support that was needed
and she just didn't have
the funding.
Elizabeth Fry just didn't have
the capability
to put more people on the ground
to help these women.
BIANCA:
Here in Nova Scotia,
our shelters
are in like one of the worst
parts of Halifax.
Like, there's a drug dealer
pretty much around the corner
from every single homeless
shelter.
There's just halfway houses
full of men all around
that probably some of the women
that have been hurt and abused
by one of those men,
so it's just, it's really
just a cycle here,
and it's just terrible.
Like, even a part of the film
where I'm on the bench,
the park bench.
(Phone ringing)
RECORDED VOICE, IN FILM:
...your call at this time.
Please leave your number
and a brief message
and I'll be happy to get back
to you.
(Dropping phone)
...4443.
Thank you and have
a wonderful day.
(Voicemail beeping)
BIANCA, IN FILM:
Hi, my name's Bianca Mercer.
I'm trying to get a bed.
If you guys can get back to me,
that'd be great.
(Phone ringing)
VOICEMAIL #2:
I am unable to take your call
at the moment.
Please leave a detailed message
and your number,
and I'll get back to you.
(Voicemail beeping)
BIANCA:
Like, Nance picked me up
that day,
and we were going to call detox
'cause I had appointments,
and just getting like voicemails
and voicemails,
trying to find a bed
in a homeless shelter.
Just couldn't do any of it.
It was just no, no, no, no, no,
every which way I turned.
So, yeah, it's definitely
a huge issue
to find somewhere
or something here.
COLIN:
Well, I remember one scene
in the film
where one of the women, Caitlin,
she finishes her sentence
and she goes home,
but her mom says her daughter
actually feels safer in jail,
and I wonder if part of the
reason she feels that way
is because there is no support,
maybe no support system for her
when she leaves.
I know she has a mom,
but yeah, I guess I wonder if
you can speak to that, Bianca.
BIANCA:
Um, Caitlin's one of my really
good friends,
and meeting her, we actually
went to jail for--
like, my first time staying
a long time
and her second time in Burnside,
we ended up going the same day,
and I never really got to know
her because the whole time
she'd be in seg,
and they'd send her for 30-day
evaluations,
and they kind of just had her
all over the place,
and locking her up in her cell
was just easier for them,
and the diagnosis that they had,
they would just put her
on a bunch of medication
and change it all the time,
and she'd go through her
freak-outs.
Like, sometimes when you see her
get mad,
her whole eye is just all black.
Like, you can't calm her down,
she's just gone at that point.
So, she was really big into
self-harming,
and she kind of just got stuck
in seg a lot
and I find the reason
behind that
is she grew up in, um,
being so mentally ill at some
times,
that she just would be gone and
staying in homeless shelters,
and her mom probably just
couldn't handle it,
and tried to get her help
or she'd run away
and be in all kinds of different
detox-type places,
and they'd try to help her
but they ended up...
they didn't really help her.
They ended up institution--
making her institutionalized.
So, that's why she felt
more comfortable in jail.
Like, you know it's bad when
you're more comfortable
sleeping on concrete with lights
on 24 hours a day
with a toilet right by
your head,
instead of being home
with your mother.
Like, that's not her mother's
fault.
That was our system's fault,
our mental health system's
fault.
They should have took
better care of her,
and helped her
and listened to her.
And even in her story,
she knows what she needs.
No one was listening to her.
They just, were just giving her
whatever
and sending her on her way, so.
COLIN:
So, the healthcare system
for women incarcerated,
I guess like, I mean, Bianca,
maybe you can talk about
your experience,
'cause the film does show
what you went through
when you were pregnant.
I guess, yeah, could you just
tell us a bit
about what happened to you and
what your experience was like
with the healthcare system
in jail?
BIANCA:
Um, I was in jail
for 7 1/2 months of my
pregnancy.
Um, and basically,
healthcare was slim to none
at first.
It took, I think, six weeks
to get me to the IWK
for an ultrasound.
I had just found out
I was pregnant,
and I found out
while I was in Calgary.
So, I didn't have access
to any doctor,
and then, I got back and then,
the next day I went to jail.
So, basically, I went to jail.
I told them I was pregnant,
and I was telling them
I was really sick.
It turned out I had a UTI,
which is a bladder infection,
and I had E. coli in my pee,
probably from being in Calgary
and drinking their water.
Sorry if anyone's from there.
(Laughing) But yeah.
Um, but I started going
to the IWK,
and just to do that
was just, it was crazy.
I would get taken out of my cell
five minutes before I had
to leave.
They'd take me down,
they'd strip-search me.
They'd put me in an orange
jumpsuit
that had CNF-FC on the back.
Handcuff me, shackle me.
When I wasn't really showing,
they would put both shackles
and handcuffs,
but they stopped doing that
after you show
so you can brace your fall
with your hands.
They didn't even have to put
the shackles or handcuffs on me.
It's their own discretion.
So, even if I went with...
I usually went with the same
people every week,
and they knew I wasn't trying
to run.
I was just trying to get
healthcare,
and they'd still put
the shackles on me.
So, they would put me in
the back of the sheriff van
and pull out front of
the children's hospital
here in Halifax, the IWK.
They would go in,
grab a wheelchair,
and they'd put me
in the wheelchair,
and then, they'd basically
parade me through the lobby
into the waiting room
in front of everyone
staring at you,
in shackles, everything.
And then, you'd sit in your
doctor's appointment,
like they're obviously going
to see
when you have the baby
at some point.
So, um, yeah, it's a pretty
crazy process,
and just getting to see
healthcare in the jail
is just...
they didn't listen to me at all.
I kept telling them, like,
"I'm itchy."
I had obstetrical cholestasis,
and they would give me Benadryl
and stuff like that,
and just, they wouldn't listen
at all.
So, finally, when I got out,
I had got the care I needed
for the obstetrical cholestasis,
but at that point,
it was probably too late.
The seriousness of obstetrical
cholestasis
is kind of, like, looked over.
I find in the children's
hospital,
they kind of just gave me
the medication
and said the baby was fine.
But reading up on it, it does
affect a baby's respiratory
and, um, the baby ended up
passing away from meconium.
What I was going through,
she was also going through,
and didn't make it, so, yeah.
I kind of blame the jails.
COLIN:
Oh, I'm so sorry.
BIANCA:
Yeah, it's okay, thank you.
BIANCA, IN FILM:
Three days ago,
I found out my baby
died inside of me.
(Ripping)
And I never really got to know
who she was.
COLIN:
There's an idea that comes up
in the film, decarceration,
and I wonder if you could just
talk a bit
about what that word means,
and I guess what your thoughts
are on it, on decarceration.
BIANCA:
Um, well, for us and I think
the film crew,
it's just, like, actually,
for me,
it's more instead of investing
into more jails
to invest in the women,
and put money into our mental
health systems
and our addiction systems,
and make more resources
for women.
Our huge project
that we were working on,
From the Ground Up,
is basically everything in one,
and hopefully, it'll happen,
but that's what we mean
by decarcerate.
We just want women to be
listened to.
We know what we need
to get help,
and if people would just listen
instead of just throwing us
in jail,
then we'd actually see
a difference.
That's what we mean by
decarcerate.
COLIN:
Do you have anything to add
to that, Nance?
NANCE:
I mean, no. She said it
perfectly,
but the only thing would be
that obviously,
punishment has not proven
to help marginalized women,
or marginalized anybody.
Punishment hasn't worked
for anybody.
So, um, it's a really...
if you want to just look
at the dollars and cents,
decarceration means investing,
like Bianca said,
in something that is actually
a good investment,
as opposed to--
I mean, even the most
right-wing, you know,
power monger corporate mind
would not want to make
this investment.
This is a bad, bad return
on investment.
You're putting in over $105,000
a year or something
to imprison a woman per year.
Just think what that $105,000
could do.
COLIN:
I'm wondering you think
the public is ready
for alternative approaches
to prisons.
BIANCA:
I think that, um,
if the public want their taxes
to go down,
they should get on board!
But I honestly think that
there's gonna be people
that have a little bit
of backlash
about us trying to decarcerate
and shut down jails and stuff,
but I think that if we show them
the...
the amount of work that we put
into it,
and the amount of effort that
the women themselves
are putting into their change
and rehabilitation,
it's gonna show the public
that we do want change
and that people are trying
and working towards
something better
instead of putting
all this money
into something that don't work.
I just don't understand
what people don't understand
about that.
Like, you're putting money
into something
that will never make a change.
Like, that's just the most
stupidest thing
I've ever heard in my life,
for something to think that that
is the most adequate way to go.
Like, we need to start making
change.
We're wasting money
and we're wasting time,
and we're wasting people's lives
that sometimes don't even need
to be inside.
We're wasting time
and wasting money on people
that haven't even been
proven guilty.
That's an issue that needs
to stop.
So, people will get on board
eventually.
NANCE:
Yeah, I mean, if you talk
to Senator Kim Pate,
she's pretty convinced and she's
doing it one senator at a time.
She's bringing them inside
prison to show them.
She believes wholeheartedly
that this is something
that the public will get
on board with.
I think there isn't a person,
doesn't matter your social
status
that isn't affected
by mental illness
and therefore addiction,
usually.
So, I think people can relate.
I think that's why we made
the film
is to find that person inside
of everybody
who is suffering, who is being
punished for suffering,
and I think most people
can relate to that
and realize that this is the
wrong way to go about it.
COLIN:
Can you talk a bit more
about your plans for the film?
I know you showed it to a
federal corrections person,
but what else do you hope to do
with the film going forward?
NANCE:
Well, I mean, I think what...
we're starting a screening tour,
probably launching it on
Prisoner Justice Day.
We're just sort of lining up
all the venues,
mostly hosted or co-hosted by
the Elizabeth Fry Society.
So, they'll be sort of
grassroots screening.
There'll be also,
it'll do the festival route.
So, we really want Bianca
and Treena, if she's able,
to be a part of the screening
tours,
and also if, you know,
if they're too far away,
we want an Elizabeth Fry
advocate
or lived experience person
to be there,
so that they can answer some of
these questions
that people are gonna have.
There's also sort of very
direct things
you can do at each screening
to help,
'cause people walk out of these
films...
At Hot Docs, there was...
everybody walked up to us
and said,
"What can we do?
What can we do?"
One of them is to write
your government official
and say you want to spend
your tax dollars
a little more wisely.
The other is that there are
supports needed
in every community
with the Elizabeth Fry.
They need donations,
they need help for whatever
project that they're starting.
Here, they're starting
a backpack program, which,
and hopefully funding someone
to meet a woman at the gate
every time they leave prison
with a backpack with survival
stuff in it to help.
You know, bus passes
and cell phones
and personal hygiene products
and a person there to help them
get to their appointments.
So, that's something that
they're raising money here.
So, those kind of things.
It's a very--
That's what we're hoping
that the film does.
So, that'll be August 10th,
and we'll launch
the screening tour.
We're hoping to have a
simultaneous screening
inside prisons across
the country,
and then, that'll start
the screening tour
with the Elizabeth Fry Societies
after that.
COLIN:
Well, I guess to kind of wrap
up our conversation,
but maybe I could just ask
Bianca first,
how are you doing today?
BIANCA:
I'm doing all right.
Um, I'm just taking it easy
and that's pretty much it.
(Laughing)
COLIN:
And the other women in the film,
how are they doing, Nance?
BIANCA:
I think they're doing all right!
NANCE:
Yeah, so we've got Caitlin
is doing quite well.
I think she still sort of
battles with the idea
that it's safer inside.
So, I think she's still having
a bumps here and there,
but on the whole, I think she's
doing quite well.
Laura is now in federal custody,
because she asked for it,
which is mind-boggling.
She asked for a longer sentence
in order to try to get
more help in the federal system.
So, that's what happens.
But she's doing okay.
She actually, we met with her
and she had one message to say
that she hoped that people would
look at working girls,
women on the streets,
a little differently
so that they understand
the trauma
that they're going through.
So, we met with her,
we showed her the film.
And, um, Treena is still...
she is on house arrest
and is still battling
and struggling,
and trying really hard to get
off of house arrest
so she can work,
'cause she really needs to work.
COLIN:
Are there any other countries
or maybe provinces
where we could be looking at
as a model for prison reform?
NANCE:
Well, I mean, of course everyone
always looks to, you know,
Scandinavia, like northern...
like Norway and Finland,
and their system in terms of
the men's prisons,
they are, if you want to look at
a definition of decarceration,
their prison numbers are going
down drastically,
and they have closed, like,
four or five prisons.
BIANCA:
Yeah, and they even, like,
in some places in the U.K.,
they have, like, vending
machines that have toothbrushes,
and they give the homeless
these cards that they can use
to, like, get a meal.
They can use it up to three
times a day,
and they can get a meal,
a toothbrush, toothpaste
and deodorant,
anything that would help them
at that time,
and they have them stationed
all over some cities in the U.K.
So, even their homelessness
is being dealt with
and their mental health, so,
they're definitely a good idea.
NANCE:
I think one thing that Kim
would say,
and a lot of people that are
looking at the global situation,
you can't do a blanket...
even From the Ground Up.
From the Ground Up would work
here in this community,
and I think that's the argument
with the healing lodges.
You have to, you have to serve
the communities.
You have to deal with it
community by community basis.
So, what works in Norway
may not work here.
We have a much more
multicultural situation here,
and we... we would need
to create something
that serves the population here.
So, that's the thing.
You can look at all kinds
of models,
but Kim is very much like,
"Let's just, why don't we
be the model?
"How about we've got the money,
we've got the will,
"we've got the open-mindedness.
Let's, let's us be the model."
COLIN:
I thought the introduction
of art therapy
was an interesting choice.
Is that being implemented in
other prisons that you know of?
NANCE:
Well, yeah, I mean, there's...
We, that was our doing.
That wasn't happening.
They did have an artist come in
after we did the program,
but we started that
in that prison.
But there are other art therapy
programs
going on all around the world.
There's a great--
Prison Arts Coalition
has a great Facebook page,
and you can go on social media
and see a lot of amazing
prison artwork.
There's great drama and music,
but we were the first ones to
bring the art and the music
into the federal system, too.
We had-- there was a woman,
El Jones,
she was doing some spoken word
and poetry.
There have been individual
people coming in
for a day here and a day there,
but, yeah.
So, there is quite a lot
happening, and it's amazing.
There's actually an exhibit
going on
down in, I think, in Mexico,
New Mexico.
But, um, yeah,
we hope to actually exhibit
some of their work,
especially Caitlin's photography
was just to die for.
She has an amazing eye,
so we hope to have an exhibit
of some of the women's work
in accompaniment,
to accompany the screenings.
COLIN:
Well, I want to thank you both
so much for giving us
so much of your time,
and for sharing this film
with us.
It was a really great treat
to talk to both of you.
NANCE:
Thanks a lot.
BIANCA:
Yes, thank you.

COLIN:
And that's the podcast.
If you liked what you heard,
leave us a review
on Apple Podcasts,
and better yet,
please tell a friend.
If you want to get in touch,
write us at ondocs@tvo.org,
or follow me on Twitter,
@ColinEllis81.
Thanks to producers Chantal
Braganza and Matthew O'Mara,
and production support
coordinators
Nikki Ashworth
and Jonathan Halliwell.
Our podcast manager
is Hannah Sung.
Thanks most of all to you,
our listeners.
We'll catch you at
the next screening.

Watch: Ep. 6 - Why are women the fastest-growing prison population?