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Honouring the ‘fallen sisters‘ of Kingston’s shuttered Prison for Women – TVO

A developer wants to transform the property — but a local group is fighting to ensure that the institution’s history is not forgotten

KINGSTON — Twenty-five years after she was released from Kingston’s Prison for Women, Fran Chaisson can still hear the cries of the other women on her cell block.

“One of the most painful memories for me was hearing and feeling the pain of the other women. When it really got bad was when they started slashing [themselves],” says Chaisson, an Ojibwe woman who served time at the prison — which closed in 2000 — in the 1970s and ’80s.

Chaisson, who’s a member of the P4W Memorial Collective, a group founded in 2015 that advocates for the creation of a memorial garden at the dormant prison, wants to honour the “fallen sisters” who died there — many by suicide — over the 66 years it was in operation. “I’ve been on a mission,” she says. “I feel these women were left behind, and they need to be remembered and respected. They were all loved at one time. They were sisters, they were mothers, they were aunties.”

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