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Digital Direct Action: Outbreaks in Prisons
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Digital Direct Action

Outbreak in Prisons

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Download and share these graphics on your stories and timelines.

  1. Social media takeover
  2. E-mail zap
  3. Flood their phone lines
  4. Push-back to unhelpful comments


Graphics for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: Download and share these graphics on your stories and timelines

Twitter: Demand action from our elected representatives

Tweet at:



Sylvia Jones

Solicitor General


Doug Ford

Premier of Ontario


Christine Elliott

Provincial Minister of Health



Bill Blair

Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Patty Hajdu
Federal Minister of Health

Sample Tweets:

.@SylviaJonesMPP @FordNation we demand action to protect prisoners during the outbreak - we need immediate releases & safe housing, equitable healthcare, an end to the inhumane use of lockdowns and segregation, and safer conditions inside #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

.@SylviaJonesMPP @FordNation @CElliottAbility I am outraged by the lack of care you have demonstrated for incarcerated people during this pandemic b/c of your lack of responsibility; people are at risk of severe health complications and death #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

.@SylviaJonesMPP @FordNation @CElliottAbilitypeople that we love are at risk of dying b/c of your willful neglect - act now to ensure this crisis in prisons and jails does not get worse #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

.@SylviaJonesMPP@FordNation @CElliottAbility, why are you ignoring public health measures and continuing to increase the prison population while we are amid the pandemic #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

.@BillBlair @PattyHajdu the conditions at Joycville are disgusting. Your willful neglect is putting people’s lives at risk - we need immediate releases and access to safe housing and essential services for incarcerated people #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

Sample Tweets (cont.)

.@BillBlair @PattyHajdu we demand action to protect prisoners during the outbreak - we need immediate releases & safe housing, equitable healthcare, an end to the inhumane use of lockdowns and segregation, and safer conditions inside #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

.@BillBlair @PattyHajdu our loved ones are being put at risk, prisoners deserve to be treated humanely - we demand immediate action and answers from your government as to how you could let this get so bad #ContainCOVIDNotPeople

Twitter & Facebook: Share these stories and calls to actions with your networks


The situation continues to worsen at the Toronto South Detention Centre. On Dec. 16, the ministry reported 54 new active COVID-19 cases at the jail - an increase from 25 cases days before, and reports from inside suggest that infection rates are much higher. Op-ed from the Toronto Prisoners Rights Project:



On Dec 20, the gov’t reported 95 new active cases at Joyceville & prisoners are informing us that infection rates are much higher. To make matters worse, prisoners are experiencing inhumane conditions as CSC scrambles to respond despite having months to prepare for the 2nd wave.

Statement from prisoners at Joyceville:


Take Action

There have been massive outbreaks of COVID-19 at prisons and jails in ON, most notably at Toronto South Detention Centre and Joyceville in Kingston, ON. Despite repeated calls to reduce the prison population, both federal and provincial ministries have ignored public health measures putting prisoners’ lives at risk. Take action online using this helpful guide:



Instagram: Download and share these graphics on your stories and timelines

All Platforms: Share a picture demonstrating solidarity with prisoners


Use these simple e-mail zaps to demand action from decision-makers

Outbreak at the Prisons

Additional suggestions

  1. Consider personalizing the introduction. If you have a connection to prisons or jails, you should highlight those stories. Ensuring that people see prisoners as part of our community goes a long way to undermine dehumanization.

Flood their phone lines

Make a phone call to demand action and more information.

Please two (2) calls to your federal and provincial representatives.

ONTARIO: Find your Member of Provincial Parliament here: Scroll to the bottom and enter your postal code.

FEDERAL: Find your Member of Parliament here:

Consider taking a video of yourself making the call to share with your friends and family. Remember to use the hashtag #ContainCOVIDNotPeople when posting.

Keep notes from your conversation.

Please use this Google Form to keep track of how each elected representative responds to this crisis.

Sample script

My name is ______________________ , I am constituent in your riding. I am outraged by the news of the outbreaks at the Toronto South Detention Centre and Joyceville Institution in Kingston. While the jail reports have been alarming, we have heard from prisoners that the infection rates are likely much higher.

Due to existing unsanitary conditions, close quarters, frequent physical contact, and the underlying chronic health conditions of many detained people - jails and prisons pose specific challenges that threaten our communities’ health and well-being.


The only reasonable recourse is to release prisoners. During the first wave, provincial prisons across the country controlled the spread of the virus through decarceration. Abandoning what we know works can cause deaths that are ultimately preventable. While no one should be left behind, people inside prison should have immediate access to equitable health care, access to PPE and hygiene products, daily showers, and free phone calls. Prisons also need to ensure that all staff adhere to COVID-19 protocols and immediate improvements to air ventilation systems.

As my elected representative, I am asking that you take immediate action to defend the rights of incarcerated people - many of which are on remand awaiting trial. Please keep me posted on what steps you will take to support prisoners during this crisis.

Push-back to unhelpful comments

“If you don’t want to catch COVID in jail, then maybe don’t go to jail.”

“Should prisoners get vaccinated as a priority?”

“If the government releases prisoners, it will be chaos.”