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Sat Oct 21: Penal Abolition Workshop — A Search for Justice

On Sat. Oct. 21, 9am – 4pm, we are excited to host a full-day free workshop on Penal Abolition. Quakers Fostering Justice (QFJ), a branch of Canadian Friends Service Committee, are offering this workshop across Canada.

Why is our criminal justice system based on punishment?

Why do we harm people when we could be healing them?

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” – Cornel West

What is Penal Abolition?

Penal abolition seeks to shift from punishment to justice that is restorative, transformative and healing – for victims, perpetrators, and society.  It is not only about prisons; penal abolition seeks to eliminate the punitive mindset which pervades all of society, by transforming harmful approaches to ones that are healing.

Read more in QFJ’s flier From Harm to Healing: Transforming the Justice System

How Does This Relate to Nova Scotia?

To learn more about conditions for those incarcerated in Nova Scotia, here are some resources.  Please note that these describe experiences of violence and abuse.

Solitary confinement, costs of phone calls, and effects on mental health (El Jones, Halifax Examiner)

Access to health care in NS jails (Anne Farries, Chronicle Herald)


We will:

  • Use videos, discussions, and small-group exercises to learn about QFJ’s work on penal abolition
  • Explore alternatives to punishment
  • Learn about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for justice work
  • Connect local people and organizations concerned about the need for change.
  • Map our path to doing justice to ourselves, to faith-based and broader communities, and to our world.

You can read about a similar workshop that QFJ recently offered in Calgary.

Workshop Goals

  • Define penal abolition
  • Survey what’s happening in the justice system right now, and what’s working and not working
  • Summarize the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and their impact on justice work
  • Learn about alternatives to punishment
  • Consider justice in our relationship with ourselves, our Quaker community, and beyond

Who Is This For?

All who are want to  build a more socially just world are welcome.  While QFJ’s work is based on Quaker ways of thinking and doing, and the workshop itself will make reference to that, this will not be a meeting for worship.  For more information about Quakers in general and Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting in particular, see especially our Welcome page and About page.


  • Sat, Oct. 21, 2017
  • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • 441 Upper Canard St., Port Williams, Nova Scotia (15 min. from Wolfville)
  • FREE
  • Please bring a potluck lunch item to share as you are able

Download an invitation poster (PDF) for printing or sharing


Dick Cotterill is a member of Halifax Monthly Meeting and Quakers Fostering Justice. He also sits on the board of the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, is a member of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, and volunteers in Truro with the John Howard Society.  

David Summerhays is the clerk of Quakers Fostering Justice.  He is a member of Montreal Monthly Meeting, and has participated in Circles of Support and Accountability’s restorative justice program for 5 years.

For More Information

Contact Annapolis Valley Monthly Meeting by email hidden; JavaScript is required or phone (902-679-3743), or message us on facebook.



{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mylene DiPenta October 19, 2017, 5:02 pm

    Thanks Mark — glad to hear of your interest! Will message you privately about future events.

  • Mark Ponikvar October 17, 2017, 8:22 pm

    This is an excellent idea. If you have an email list for future events in the Wolfville area please include me (can’t make it this Sat).
    Good luck.

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