Ms. Joey Twins Receives the 2020 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award

For Immediate Release

Ottawa, December 10, 2020 – Today, on International Human Rights Day, Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator of Canada, is very pleased to announce that Ms. Joey Twins is the 2020 recipient of the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award.

“As a former prisoner and Indigenous woman, Ms. Twins’ lived experience is one of perseverance and the power of determination to overcome disadvantage and adversity,” said Dr. Zinger. “As a survivor of the infamous Prison for Women and many years of incarceration, she witnessed and experienced human rights violations, abuses and traumatic events. Outside prison, Ms. Twins has been a passionate and articulate advocate for Indigenous women, girls and youth in conflict with the law. A very humble and generous person, she shares her story, convictions and experiences to inspire and motivate others. As one nomination letter read, ‘when Joey speaks, people listen!’ I am absolutely delighted to recognize Ms. Twins as this year’s recipient of the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award.”

Ms. Twins was one of eight women most significantly impacted by the incidents that led to the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston, presided by Madame Justice Louise Arbour in 1995-96. Through the course of the P4W Inquiry, Ms. Twins spoke out against injustice and illegal treatment of federally sentenced women. Later on, she contributed to important and precedent-setting legal challenges, notably Twins v. Canada (2016), a decision that extends the application of Gladue principles to parole decision making. In her community work promoting criminal justice and penal reform, Ms. Twins has assisted numerous agencies and individuals. As an Indigenous person, her life recounts the historical and personal trajectory of Canada’s residential schools and child welfare systems, and makes contemporary links between missing, murdered and disappeared Indigenous women and girls, and their over-representation among criminalized and imprisoned persons. Ms. Twins received several letters of support and commendation from a variety of prominent Canadians, associations, academics and groups.

The Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award was established in honour of Mr. Ed McIsaac, who served as Executive Director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 18 years. Each recipient of the award receives a reproduction of a sculpture by Ms. Audrey Greyeyes, a Cree artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, entitled Medicine Man. The award symbolizes wisdom, clarity of thought and leadership, character traits that Ms. Joey Twins embodies in abundance. A virtual ceremony will take place this afternoon, hosted by the Office. Presented annually since 2009, there have been 11 other recipients of the award.

Details on nomination procedures for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award are available on the Office’s website at http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/award-prix/nom-eng.aspx.

For more information, please contact: 

Ms. Monette Maillet
Executive Director
Monette.Maillet@oci-bec.gc.ca
613-791-0170