Women are the fastest growing population in prison not just in Canada but also worldwide. The crisis is worsened by the fact that many of these women are struggling with addiction, mental health issues and trauma from sexual violence. The current prison system does not offer an adequate solution, but we are often left unaware because prisons by design seem so remote from us.
Bianca Mercer hopes to change that ignorance. She is a prison reform advocate from Nova Scotia who has personally experienced the lack of mental health support in prisons and the cyclical nature of imprisonment. Now, she fights for a more effective correctional system that replaces prisons with community-based rehabilitation services that can stop crimes before they occur.
Her story, along with those of several other women, is the subject of the documentary Conviction, a complex and empowering story that reveals the broken pieces of the Canadian prison system and forces us to reimagine what that system should look like.
Bianca joins us with Conviction co-director Nance Ackerman to discuss their film, the enduring stigma of life after prison, and why they believe in the necessity of community-based rehabilitation.
Download the episode transcript here.
Hosted by Gilad Cohen (Founder, JAYU) and Simona Ramkisson, produced and edited by Brandon Fragomeni and Alex Castellani. Associate producer: Ron Ma.
Image: Gilad Cohen.
Theme music created for The Hum by Jeff Morrow.