About

End the Prison Industrial Complex is a prison abolition group based in Kingston, Ontario.

Sign up for our newsletter here.

Contact us by snail mail at:

EPIC
Suite #409, 427 Princess Street
Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 5S9

Contact us by email at:

epic [at] riseup [dot] net
PGP Public Key information is posted at the bottom of this page.

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End the Prison Industrial Complex Statement of Unity

Our Values

  • Self-determination and autonomy
  • Diversity of tactics
  • Against oppression and domination (including the domination of the “natural” world)

The Problem

EPIC does not believe that we need the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) to keep us safe, or that reforms can make the PIC just or effective. Contrary to the promises of politicians, prisons don’t achieve any of the things that make us feel safe. The recent prison expansions in Kingston alone—almost 400 beds—are the equivalent of a new stand-alone facility. Such diversion of public funds to prisons—and the policing and the court system that supports them—steals the resources needed to build healthy communities, ones in which people are assured access to homes, food, clean water, and land. Only when these essentials are assured can people begin to know, trust, and protect one another. The resources we need to secure these things are becoming scarcer and scarcer, while the resources to lock people up grow and grow.

Politicians use prison expansion and tough-on-crime legislation as an effective PR strategy to divert people’s attention from the economic, social, and environmental crises of the day. While politicians claim that prison expansion is an economic engine, it actually further criminalizes communities of colour, immigrants, queer folks, drug users, and poor people who become easy scapegoats for our social problems.

According to the government of Canada’s own data collection and research, rates of ‘violent crime’ have been decreasing for almost 20 years. Overall, the growing prison population cannot be attributed to a growth in this type of crime. Rather, new tough-on-crime laws mean that more and more activities now warrant incarceration. As a result, those in power are putting more people in prison for longer and under worse conditions. New legislation lengthens prison terms, makes parole more difficult, and reduces credit for time served. Drug laws have become more severe, the decriminalization of sex-work is under attack, people seeking asylum are increasingly criminalized, and those who resist face increased repression. Significantly, it is the threat of imprisonment that keeps people in line and prevents radicals from engaging in transformative social and political action.

Our Vision

EPIC is building a member-led and member-run grassroots movement to stop using punishment to “cure” complicated social problems. We call our vision “abolition” and take the name purposefully from those who called for the abolition of slavery in the 1800’s. Abolitionists from this era believed that slavery could not be fixed or reformed – it needed to be abolished. This is true of all the social and economic institutions that enforce the current social order, including capitalism and the state. Prison abolition only appeals to us as a tool for social revolution; ultimately we want to transform our relationships of domination including racism, classism, patriarchy, etc. into autonomous and egalitarian communities where we practice mutual aid and accountability.

Our vision is also rooted in a rejection of Canada’s claim to this land and its colonial relationship with Indigenous peoples. We seek a return to the principles of the Two-Row Wampum as a basis for settler-indigenous relations. The wampum records the meaning of the 1613 agreement, which sought to define peaceful coexistence between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers. The pattern of the belt consists of two rows of purple wampum beads against a background of white beads. The purple beads signify the courses of two vessels – an Indigenous canoe and a European ship – traveling down the river of life together, parallel but never touching.

Our Structure

  • We strive to make decisions by consensus. However, if a decision cannot be made by consensus within a meeting, a vote will be called with a decision being made with a 75% majority.
  • Anyone can join the group so long as they agree to this statement of unity. Members of the group should treat one another with respect and according to anti-oppression principles, as interpreted by the group.
  • If an individual is causing harm to others within the group or to the group as a whole, they may be required to leave if a 75% majority votes for their removal.

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PGP Public Key Information
Email: epic [at] riseup [dot] net
Date created: October 12, 2011
Key ID: 0x6ABD5D69
Fingerprint: AAC8 E59A A307 F232 8533 3321 2331 2A7B 6ABD 5D69

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2 Comments on “About”

  1. Stephanie Camba says:

    Hello,

    I am an intern for the Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice. Currently, we are working on research and methods to prevent the expansion of our present jail for many reasons that align with EPIC. I was wondering if you could connect me with grassroots organizations that specialize in anti-jail campaigns or any type of resource that could make our planning more effective and efficient. If you have any recommendations/suggestions we would greatly appreciate your assistance.

    Kind regards,
    Stephanie Camba

  2. aiyanas@vandu.org says:

    Hiya EPIC folks. I work for VANDU a grassroots organization of people who use illicit drugs in Vancouver. We’ve been working on anti-prison stuff here in Vancouver. Thanks for the profiteers listing on your web page, it’s very useful.

    I wrote an article about the mass incarceration agenda that I wanted to share with you: http://basicsnews.ca/2011/12/the-mass-incarceration-agenda-in-canada-the-view-from-vancouver/

    in solidarity,
    Aiyanas


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