·  by Christopher Wilson, Mojdeh Cox and Isabelle Miller   ·  Our Times

Union Exchange: Mass Incarceration is Modern Day Slavery

"I can't work if I can't breathe," writes Mark Brown in the Summer 2016 edition of Our Times. Those words are central to Brown's argument that the Canadian labour movement must support the Black Lives Matter movement. His call to action couldn't be any more urgent.

"Mass Incarceration — Modern Day Slavery," a workshop held by the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) at the 2016 World Social Forum in Montreal, trained its lens on an essential part of the struggle Black Lives Matter has taken up: Systemic anti-Black racism is especially entrenched in the criminal justice system.

Black and Indigenous inmates are hyper-overrepresented within the prison population, both in Canada and in the U.S. As noted by the Torontoist's Catherine McIntyre in her article "Canada Has a Black Incarceration Problem", Black inmates are the fastest growing group in Canadian federal prisons — their numbers have increased by 70 per cent within the last 10 years.

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