random musings - september

september 8, 2012

laundry day!

on this unit we're issued clothes, bedding and towels on arrival and they're ours to keep for the duration of our stay.  twice a week we have the opportunity to wash them – everything except the blankets, which are exchanged once a month.  laundry days for my wing (C) are tuesdays and saturdays, and this is how it works: we line up our laundry bags along a wall in the common room, and shortly after breakfast a guard calls “LAUNDRY!” over the loudspeaker.  there are four washers and four driers so we work through the line four at a time, with switchovers happening every 45 minutes or so.  the laundry room is in the basement.  a guard at the desk keeps track of who comes down, and two laundry workers (inmates) supervise the process.  this is to make sure people aren't washing blankets or pillows, or using cold water or short cycles or half-load settings (as always, Vanier doesn't care about conserving water or energy), or using shampoo.  Tide is available off canteen, and Bounce sheets, but jail issue detergent is available for those who need it.

the wheels of "justice", grinding on.

it's october.  the leaves are turning, the nights are getting cold and i have only 8 weeks left in this sentence.

the organizing against the 2010 G20 summit has been part of my life in some form or other since the fall of 2008.  it's hard to believe this part of my life is coming to a close, and at the same time it's hard to believe it's taken so long - it's been almost 2.5 years since my arrest.  oh, the wheels of "justice", grinding on.

and i'm one of the lucky ones!

as i start to wrap up my life as a prisoner and turn my mind to life on the outside i'm thinking a lot about other folks who still find themselves in the grip of the state. 

for over two years now people arrested for their (alleged) participation in the protests against the G20 have had to put their lives on hold while people in suits and odd-looking  pretentious robes discuss their fate.  this limbo has been different for different people but has generally meant some combination of detention, house arrest, restrictive bail conditions including separation from their community due to forced relocation and/or non-association, loss of employment, interruption of schooling, massive expense and strain on relationships.

a visit to the real world

my new unit is usually for people who haven't been convicted and/or sentenced yet, so every weekday morning a few people are woken up early for court.  a few weeks ago i was one of them!  i had been asked to testify at a G20-related preliminary inquiry, the subpoena and the judge's order had been delivered to the jail, and i was prepared for a long, cold day in the court cells of toronto's Old City Hall.  going to court is a big part of life at Vanier for many inmates so i thought you might be interested in what it's like.