Woman arrested in Muskrat Falls protest moved to men’s prison in St. John’s

Innu beatrice-hunter prisonBeatrice Hunter — an Inuit grandmother — has been transferred more than 1,000 kilometres from home

CBC News, June 2, 2017

Beatrice Hunter, a Labrador woman sent to jail this week after she told the court she could not promise to obey an injunction against protesting at Muskrat Falls, is now behind bars at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP) in St. John’s.

With no female correctional facility in Labrador, Hunter is just the latest woman to end up in the province’s largest male prison.

“Females are being held again at HMP because of crowding at the Clarenville (women’s) facility,” said Memorial University professor and sociologist Rose Ricciardelli on Friday.

“It’s definitely a problem. It’s very challenging. She’s clearly not in a good space, she’s probably not very comfortable where she is and she doesn’t have the supports that would be essential.”

Hunter was brought into custody on Monday morning during proceedings related to charges laid after a Muskrat Falls protest over the Victoria Day weekend.

Shouldn’t be incarcerated

Ricciardelli believes Hunter shouldn’t have been incarcerated in the first place.

“There’s no need or reason that a non-violent individual would be held in a … place such as prison,” she said.

Though Hunter was given the option by a judge to avoid prison time if she agreed to stay away from Muskrat Falls, Ricciardelli thinks more alternatives should have been made available.

“Giving her this option of saying ‘Can you adhere? Can you stay away from the land?‘ is not really presenting an alternative if she feels like her role is to be on the land,” she said.

“Her choices were very clear [and] she was very honest in her response.”

Being sent to prison far away from home also places an undue burden on families of inmates like Hunter, said Ricciardelli. Hunter lives in Hopedale, located in northern Labrador, more than 1,000 kilometres from St. John’s.

“There are no resources in places to have families go and visit loved ones who are incarcerated,” she said.

‘She’s in there with murderers’

A small group of supporters gathered outside HMP on Friday afternoon to protest Hunter’s incarceration.

“We would like to see her freed, it’s ridiculous,” said Jodi Greenleaves. “There was no violent crimes committed … they have her inside here in a men’s prison that’s over-populated and is in disgusting condition.”

“She’s in there with murderers and rapists and drug abusers — she’s an Inuit grandmother, a kind and gentle person. She’s not at risk to hurt anybody … she’s a political prisoner, is what she is.”

Hunter, who went onto the main Muskrat Falls site last October, is expected to appear in provincial court on Tuesday for a hearing.


Posted on June 2, 2017, in Indigenous Women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. She would have had more success. had she held a press conference, calling on the Indigenous to warrior up and make these colonial settlers pay a price. They want July 1 fireworks, give them fireworks. She could have gone home and watched the show.

  2. Wayne Symonds

    I think the court system is all fucked up. She shouldn’t be in prison let alone a male prison.

  3. linette macdonald

    you must be kidding me this is absurd and crazy what is wrong with this system sending someone to jail for protesting what the heck happened to freedom of speech .

  4. We need to sue the bought and paid for Canadian justice system. We need to have all legislators and judges who make and uphold such barbaric actions against our citizens resign. This is mocking our rights to free speach and they think they are above it. Just like some police think they are above the law. ITS TIME TO BREAK THIS SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT RESPECT ITS CITIZENS. WE ARE NOT IN A 3RD WORLD DICTATORSHIP! JUSTICE SYSTEM OF CANADA, WE THE CITIZENS OF CANADA WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS AND ARE COMING FOR YOU, WE WILL DESTROY YOUR DICTATORSHIP JUST AS ARABS HAVE DONE IN THE ARAB DICTATORSHIP COUNTRIES. WE ARE LEGION WE DO NOT FORGET WE ARE COMING FOR YOU AND YOUR CORRUPT SYSTEM.

  1. Pingback: When Indigenous Assert Rights, Canada Sends Militarized Police - Resilience

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