About the Fund
The Prisoner Emergency Support Fund was started by the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and the Toronto Prisoners Rights Project. We are a team of volunteers that are organizing to support prisoners. We believe that people need access to community support and not human cages. The fund was originally launched as a response to the pandemic. Given the clear gaps in care that have been revealed by the volume of applications, we are continuing to raise funds so long as there are needs to be met. The harms of incarceration, while heightened by the pandemic, are not contained to this historical moment, and we firmly believe that by continuing to show up and care for all members of our community, we can work towards a safer and more equitable world. The overwhelming show of solidarity has encouraged us to continue to raise and distribute money from the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund.
This fund is intended for people inside prisons and jails and recently released prisoners. People behind bars often need support to contact their loved ones or purchase essential items on their canteen. Recently released prisoners need access to funds for housing, food, clothing, and physical and mental health supports. Families who still have loved ones behind bars need funds for expensive phone bills and canteens.
As of March 2021:
Number of Applications Received: 1,979
Number of People Supported: 806
Funds Distributed: $181,400
Number of People Still in Need of Support: 1,173
Funds Still Required to Meet Current Needs: $263,925
This fund is created based on a shared community trust system. We want to reduce the barriers that invasive questions pose to accessing support while being accountable and transparent to our community.
Funds will be released on a first-come-first-served basis. We want to honour this commitment by trusting that those who have the means will seek out those means, and leave this fund to be accessed by those of us who have little to no choice.
This fund is limited. Using community donations, we will continue to distribute funds for as long as we can. We recognize that this, too, will not be sufficient to bridge the deep gaps that this crisis has caused.
To preserve each other's privacy and dignity, we will never publish the names or details of the recipients. Still, we will give periodic updates to our community on the number of people who have been served by this fund.
How to Apply
If you need support from the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund, follow the link below to the application (make sure to click NEXT to start the application and hit SUBMIT to finish the application): Apply to the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund.
We are continuing to fundraise money to meet the needs of the people that have applied to the fund previously.
We will continue to distribute money to applicants to the fund while prioritizing people in emergencies.
How We Distribute Funds
As of March 2021 we have already received more than 1,979 applications to the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund. Volunteers with the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and the Toronto Prisoners Rights Project review each application and distribute the money accordingly. Most of the applicants that have been released will receive the funds by e-transfer or money order. We will be sending the money to trusted loved ones of people still inside to deposit onto their canteen for sanitation supplies.
Raise Money for the Fund
The Prisoner Emergency Support Fund has only been as successful because of grassroots groups taking up the call to action. You can support the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund by organizing an auction, collecting donations at your next meeting or event, writing a motion to an organization you are a member of or talking to people in your neighbourhood. Together, we are creating the world we want to live in. A world without police and without prisons.
Prisoner Resource Sheet
The Ontario Prisoners’ Resource Guide is supplementary support to the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund. When applying for the fund, incarcerated community members (inside and recently home) or their family members requested additional supports, such as connections to housing, employment supports, et cetera. This document is a compilation of various resources all throughout Ontario that can be of use to someone coming out of jail or prison. This resource compilation is a working list extremely open to feedback.
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