Minister Criticized for Banning Prison Pizza Party for Charity

The Public Safety Minister of Canada, Vic Toews, is being bitterly criticized for giving the orders to end the practice of inmates occasionally using their own money to order food from outside prisons. Until now inmates only required the warden’s permission for being allowed to use their own money for ordering food, such as pizza and fried chicken, from outside the prison.

As a result, these food drive nights began fundraising for local charities and relief efforts, like the ‘Doctors Without Borders’ and victims of hurricanes and earthquakes. Though this September, a direct order from Toews asked to put an end to all such food drives. A statement from Toews’ spokesperson stated that “Canadians were concerned that dangerous and violent prisoners had across the board access to pizza parties and BBQ socials.”

 A member of an inmate committee at Joyceville Institution, near Kingston, John Chaif, claimed that prison mates all over Canada collected tens of thousands of dollars every year from these food drives, and alleged that “this was our money that we earned that we spent.” He added that “none of it was institutional funding.” Chaif boasted that over the years, inmates of Joyceville have donated thousands of dollars to children’s toy drives at Christmas, to local food banks, to shelters for youth and to earthquake victims in Haiti. Chaif highlighted that prison mates were charged on premium rates for the food brought inside the prison so the part of the proceeds could go to charity. A volunteer of the United Way in Eastern Ontario, Lois Gorgerat, alleged that “we raised a lot of money from those food nights for different charities and that is really going to hurt.”

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