We’re hiring! Contract Lawyer/Prisoner Legal Education Project

Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) is looking for a passionate, problem solving, empathetic and dedicated lawyer for a 10-month contract position. We are a small non-profit society providing legal services to federal and provincial prisoners in the province of British Columbia. The position has two components: responsibility for the Prisoner Legal Education Project and parental leave coverage for our staff lawyer/legal advocate. Prisoner Legal Education Project: PLS produces legal education materials for prisoners on a range of topics to help clients pursue issues on their own. The contract lawyer would be responsible for… Read More

News Release: Human rights complaint calls for end to solitary for prisoners with mental disabilities and independent health care in federal prisons

BURNABY, BC, June 20, 2018 Today, the West Coast Prison Justice Society (WCPJS) filed a human rights complaint against the Correctional Service of Canada on behalf of prisoners with mental disabilities. “CSC is still using solitary confinement against prisoners engaged in life threatening self-harm, despite the overwhelming evidence that solitary confinement increases the risk of suicide” said Jennifer Metcalfe, Executive Director of Prisoners’ Legal Services (a project of WCPJS). The human rights complaint identifies the use of observation cells as another way that CSC keeps vulnerable prisoners isolated in conditions worse than segregation…. Read More

We’re hiring! Legal Advocate

LEGAL ADVOCATE Prisoners’ Legal Services is looking for a passionate, problem solving, empathetic and dedicated advocate for prisoners’ rights, with a focus on women prisoners, youth and health care issues. We are a small non-profit society providing legal services to federal and provincial prisoners in the province of British Columbia. The legal advocate position involves providing advocacy to prisoners regarding prison legal issues.  This work is primarily done by telephone, fax and email.  Advocacy on behalf of prisoners may involve summary advice, informal advocacy, providing written submissions and personal representation at tribunals…. Read More

News Release: Human Rights of Federal Prisoners with Opioid Use Disorder Being Violated, Says Prison Justice Group

June 4, 2018 – Burnaby BC Today, the West Coast Prison Justice Society (WCPJS) filed a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission against Correctional Service Canada on behalf of all federal prisoners who have been denied life-saving treatment for opioid use disorder. Prisoners’ Legal Services (a project of WCPJS) spoke with approximately 75 Canadian prisoners suffering from opioid use disorder, many of whom reported waitlists for opioid substitution therapy of many months to over one year. WCPJS is concerned that prisoners are at great risk of fatal overdose, and HIV and… Read More

Solitary Confinement Public Panel Talk

Join us next Tuesday, February 6th for a free panel talk on the BC Supreme Court’s decision to end indefinite solitary confinement. On January 17, 2018, the BCCLA won a constitutional challenge to indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons across Canada, but our work is far from over. Within 12 months, the government will have to decide how the BC Supreme Court’s ruling will be reflected in the law. Join us next week as we discuss what’s next in the fight against indefinite solitary confinement. Panelists will be unpacking the decision, its… Read More

Joint News Release: Changes to the way transgender offenders are accommodated in Canada’s federal prison system

An important collaboration spanning several years between the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), and Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) has resulted in changes to the way transgender offenders are accommodated in Canada’s federal prison system.

Status of Women – Study on Indigenous Women Prisoners

Prisoners’ Legal Services executive director, Jennifer Metcalfe, appeared today before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women as part of their current study on Indigenous women prisoners. Click here to read her speaking notes.

Ms. Metcalfe called on government to engage with First Nations and Indigenous organizations for self-determination in the administration of correctional services, and to ensure that they are well resourced to provide full wrap-around support for women who have experienced multi-generational trauma.

Inside/Out: A Prison Memoir at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

Join us at the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival for Inside/Out, a memoir about life in the Canadian prison system. Inside/Out follows Patrick Keating’s journey as a child growing up in Montreal, getting into drugs and crime, entering the juvenile detention system at the age of 16, and serving a total of three sentences, one for bank robbery. Patrick’s honest and engaging delivery of his funny, sad, and stirring true story helps dismantle our ideas of what a ‘criminal’ looks like – and helps us better understand how language, race, and class… Read More

CSC Policy: Consideration of Aboriginal Social History

Correctional Service Canada is currently updating policy regarding the consideration of Aboriginal Social History in the administration of Indigenous prisoners’ sentences. PLS supports these initiatives and provided feedback on making this policy even stronger. You can read our comments here.

Prisoners’ Legal Services recommends reforms to British Columbia correctional laws.

Today, Prisoners’ Legal Services wrote to Premier John Horgan, Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth with a list of recommendations for legislative reforms that would improve the lives of BC provincial prisoners. You can read our list of recommendations here. We hope the new BC government will take this opportunity to reform prison law to be in compliance with the United Nations’ Mandela Rules and abolish the use of solitary confinement in BC which is considered to be torture or cruel treatment if it is used for more… Read More