It looks like a community centre or a campus – inmates live in shared housing, wear their own clothes, order groceries once a week – but Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women is a prison.
“We can walk around [between buildings],” an inmate tells me, “but we can’t leave.”
We’re sitting in a gymnasium set up for a special International Women’s Day program– “International Broads’ Day” as mentor/producer John Copping jokes by way of introduction. It’s an unlikely location for a CD release concert/listening party. As part of the Pros and Cons program, which brings musicians and producers into prisons to work with inmates, a group of women from GVI is celebrating the launch of Undisclosed Location – the first album to be written and recorded at a federal women’s prison in Canada, and the second to be made through the Pros & Cons program.