Governing through crime

April 18, 2013

 Berkeley Blog – Jonathan Simon
‘Mass incarceration now, tomorrow, forever’: Gov. Jerry Brown and the politics of court bashing

 Simon says that California’s struggle with the orders of the Supreme Court to reduce prison population to 137% of capacity and to provide health services to the incarcerated is beginning to show the real costs of “governing through crime.” Simon offers a long term perspective on the development of the mass incarceration problem.

 Republic (Texas) – Michael Brick, Associated Press
Bill on racial testimony in capital cases heard

 Amnesty International lists the state of Texas which is approaching its 500 execution since 1982 re-institution of the death penalty as the fifth in rank of countries practicing death penalty.  This bill is an effort to deal with disproportionate Black and Hispanics put to death.–Death-Penalty-Race

 The Sentencing Project – Mark Mauer
Ending Mass Incarceration: Charting a New Justice Reinvestment

Scholars and justice advocates have long said that we in North America need to end mass incarceration and invest the savings in strengthening the communities which suffer crime and its impact.  This paper reviews the results after a decade of trying to re-direct the funds. Link to 36 page PDF report:

University of the Fraser Valley
Launched: Centre for Safe Schools

 First set up in 1998, the centre has re-launched and is attached to the University of the Fraser Valley.  The site features lots of current topics and while focused on BC has widespread application.

SFU Restorative Justice Centre – Jill Strauss, PhD
Envisioning Alternatives: Restorative Practices and Visual Art
 Thursday, May 2, 2013 – 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby  Room: Saywell Hall 9152

 The Police Insider – Floyd Weibe
Winnipeg Gang Members – Exit Stage Right 

 Two groups in Winnipeg – GAIN (Gang Action Interagency Network) and GAP (Gang Awareness for Parents) – together with John Howard Society are working to establish an exit strategy for those who have accepted formal gang membership to their regret. story: Gang Exit Strategy – An Uphill Climb

 Vera Institute of Justice –
Justice Reinvestment in Action: The Delaware Model 

 Delaware is one of the states working with Vera Institute on reinvestment, understood as data and evidence driven justice policies to reduce recidivism and contain costs, with diversion of savings into best practices for improving public safety and improving neighbourhoods.  Full policy brief with executive summary in pdf:

Colorlines – Seth Freed Wessler
Immigration Bill Includes Protections for Families Broken Up by Deportation

 Eight senators – both Republicans and Democrats, known as the Gang of Eight, – have released a comprehensive immigration plan that makes provision for re-uniting families broken apart by detention and deportation as well as the practice of fostering US citizen children of immigrants.   Related story by Human Rights First:

 From Justin Piche, University of Ottawa, ICOPA 15 Conference

Resisting Carceral Nation States: The Fifteenth International Conference on Penal Abolition (ICOPA 15) June 13-15, 2014 University of Ottawa Algonquin Territory / Ottawa, ON Canada 

 Carceral nation states across the world know no bounds as they work to sustain economic, gender, sexual and racial inequality. In the Canadian context, the carceral nation state has used exclusionary practices in a stated effort to keep ‘us’ safe from ‘them’ – the ‘criminals’, Indigenous peoples ‘in need of civilizing’ and ‘assimilation’, ‘problem’ drug users, ‘bogus’ refugee claimants, ‘threats’ to national security, political ‘dissidents’, and other dehumanized and demonized populations.

People currently or formerly imprisoned, victims of state and personal harm, activists, advocates, artists, academics, journalists, professionals, along with others from around the world are invited to take part, in person or by proxy, in ICOPA 15 on Algonquin Territory / Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. During this international conference participants will come together to: 1) share their first-hand experiences of state brutality and tactics of resistance; 2) exchange ideas on how to think about and respond to complex community issues that are often met with costly, unproductive, unjust, and violent interventions; and 3) build international alliances and develop strategies to struggle against state repression and work towards social justice in our world.

The organizing committee invites proposals for individual submissions and sessions at ICOPA 15 featuring art, film, music, photography, plays, poetry, short stories, spiritual and healing activities, essays, papers, reports, workshops, proposals for ICOPA policy positions and resolutions, and everything in between. Proposals can address any theme related to imprisonment, the penal system, other forms of Carceral and colonial control, and the prison industrial complex, including those listed above. Program Web site: ICOPA Canada e-mail:

Postal Mail:  ICOPA 15, c/o Justin Piché, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa, 120 University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5