PBI-Canada welcomes the decision of Carleton University’s criminology institute to end placements with police forces and prisons

Published by Brent Patterson on

On August 12, CBC reported: “Carleton University’s Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ) is ending all student co-op placements with police forces and prisons next year.”

That article also notes: “Typically, some 80 third-year year criminology students are given co-op placements with Ottawa police, the RCMP, Correctional Service Canada and the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.”

This 3-page letter from the faculty of the ICCJ explains: “Widespread protests in response to police violence aimed at Black, Indigenous, and racialized people in Canada have placed a renewed focus on the need for organizations to take concrete actions to address issues related to white supremacy, systemic racism, and settler colonialism.”

Global News adds: “The ICCJ will also be revising its curriculum to offer anti-racism workshops and has struck a faculty committee to identify ways to better support BIPOC students in the criminology department.”

That article highlights that the ICCJ will now offer placements that expose students to alternatives such as restorative justice with an anti-racism and anti-colonial focus.

Peace Brigades International recognizes the structures of violence, such as gender and other identity-based discriminations, and socio-economic exploitation, and accompanies at-risk human rights defenders who are in danger due to their activism.

PBI has been present in Colombia for more than 25 years doing that work following an invitation from Javier Giraldo.

In this 2-minute video produced by PBI-Colombia, Giraldo recalls: “The presence of the PBI aimed at trying out another model of protecting persecuted people, that wasn’t an armed model, with armed bodyguards, and at the beginning we called them ‘moral bodyguards’ because they were unarmed.”

PBI accompanies the Cerezo Committee, that was formed after the arrests, torture and detentions of the Cerezo brothers in maximum-security penitentiaries in Mexico; and COPINH in Honduras following the murder of Indigenous leader Berta Carceres.

We also accompany the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón who have seen one of their leaders, Maya Q’eqchi activist Bernardo Caal, unjustly imprisoned in Guatemala; and is part of the Missing Voices network that draws attention to the high level of extra-judicial killings by the police of young Black men in the informal settlements of Kenya.

PBI-Canada welcomes the decision of the ICCJ and will ask them to explore with us opportunities that could contribute to learning about our model of unarmed protective accompaniment, our work with communities and defenders who challenge state violence, forced displacement, racism and other oppressions, and the broader issue of the criminalization of social movements.


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