Prisoner Emergency Support Fund
New applications to the Prisoner Emergency Support Fund (PESF) are still temporarily on pause due to overwhelming demand. Since we launched the PESF at the beginning of the pandemic, to-date we have received 2,393 applications for support. As of September 5, 2021, we have raised and distributed $235,190 to support 1,045 prisoners who are behind bars, recently released prisoners who are re-entering the community, and their loved ones. We presently have a backlog of 1,348 applications which will require an additional $303,235 to meet existing needs. We are continuing to channel our efforts into fundraising, and we will continue to send money to people who have already applied to the fund as money becomes available. We are aiming to resume accepting new applications as soon as possible.
If you have applied to the PESF, we recognize that you or your loved ones may have been waiting for the stipend for months. Our funding source has always been the community, making it difficult to give you a concrete timeline of when to expect the money. In the meantime, we are also still offering support to people facing urgent crises (e.g. support with referrals, groceries, transportation upon release, etc). If this applies to you or someone you know, please contact us at at prisonerfund /at/ gmail /dot/ com. We will do whatever we can to make sure you get support.
We are so appreciative of everyone who has been supporting the PESF by donating, fundraising and sharing. Those who have received funds through the PESF have expressed deep gratitude for the support and for the extent of community care - many have used the funds to cover phone bills, canteen items, legal aid, transportation, housing, clothing and food during this challenging time. From all of us at Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project and the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project, we thank you so much for your ongoing solidarity.