A fix now!

 Dec. 5, 2013

 Ottawa Citizen – Editorial
Fix the jail now 

 The editors take issue with accumulating reports of failure of the Ottawa-Carlton Detention Center to initiate its own corrective measure after repeated incidents of neglect and abuse towards prisoners on remand.  The Center has been found to be over-crowded, violent and practicing frequent human rights violations.  “Both prisoner advocates and jail-guard union leaders agree the OCDC is one of the more violent facilities in the province and a difficult environment to work in,” says the editorial.  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/editorials/jail/9236986/story.html  

 Ottawa Citizen – Michael Woods 
We need to start doing something about conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, forum organizer says 

 Carleton sociology and criminology professor Aaron Doyle, who organized the forum, even invited the management from the centre.  In June of this year, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin concluded the Ottawa jail “exemplifies everything that is wrong with a correctional institution.”  Doyle wants a community advisory board to force transparency.  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/need+start+doing+something+about+conditions+Ottawa+Carleton+Detention+Centre+forum+organizer+says/9234062/story.html

Pro Publica (US) – Christie Thompson
How Bureaucrats Stand in the Way of Releasing Elderly and Ill Prisoners 

 This article looks at both the compassionate early release and the problem of aging inmates.  Compassionate early release in this case was a mother of two children whose husband was dying of cancer.  Eighteen months after the application, with the husband now dead, the application was refused and the children given to the custody of others, even though the case for release was compelling.  Likewise, there are now 26,000 inmates over the age of 65 in state and federal prison in Arizona.  The early release rate, despite Eric Holder’s pronouncements, is a pitiful 50 to the end of October in 2013, up from 39 in 2012 and 29 in 2011.  http://www.propublica.org/article/how-bureaucrats-stand-in-the-way-of-releasing-elderly-and-ill-prisoners  

 TVO – The Agenda with Steve Paikin 
When Brain Injury Leads to Jail 

 Recently there seems to be a surge in the number of brain injured inmates in the correctional system.  Paikin looks at why, and what response from the justice system with two experts, Flora Matheson a medical sociologists at St. Michael’s Hospital and Angela Colantonio, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.  Memory problems and not understanding rules are health related issues for the inmates, not defiance.  The injuries often pre-date the criminal activity but without medical intervention or diversion at the time.  Integrated care is best practice.   http://ww3.tvo.org/video/198006/when-brain-injury-leads-jail

 Ottawa Citizen – Don Butler
Correctional worker candidates face psychological screening 

 Since December of 2011 the Public Service Commission has been conducting psychological screening pilot study of candidates for correctional officers in the hope of eliminating those with “unhelpful behaviours.” CSC said preliminary results of the pilot project demonstrate that the psychological testing is providing “important and instructive information on candidates who are and are not suited to work in a correctional environment with inmates.”  The psychological testing now becomes part of the job application process.  There are about 7,800 federal correctional officers in Canada presently overseeing some 15,000 inmates.   http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Correctional+worker+candidates+face+psychological+screening/9237970/story.html

 NPR – Human Rights Watch (US)  – Carrie Johnson
Threat of Mandatory Minimums Used to Coerce Guilty Pleas – An Offer You Can’t Refuse 

 A new report says that the power of federal prosecutors to determine the changes – and therefore the mandatory minimum sentences – is leading to the use of threats to stack the charges.  Pleading guilty in exchange seems a smart way to go since on average those guilty after jury trial get 11 years longer.  The report illustrates some absurdities in the system. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/12/05/248893775/report-threat-of-mandatory-minimums-used-to-coerce-guilty-pleas    Full Report (15 pages): http://www.hrw.org/reports/2013/12/05/offer-you-can-t-refuse-0

 Boston Globe – Jim Kuhnhenn
Obama calls for action on economic inequalities 

 Calling income inequality and the lack of upward economic mobility “the defining challenge of our times,”  Obama noted “that in the United States, a child born into the bottom 20 percent of income levels has less than a 5 percent chance of making it to the top income levels and is 10 times likelier to stay where he is.”  Obama offered no new initiatives to tackle the problems.  http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/12/05/obama-income-inequality-defining-challenge/mTqZXqdA8oaYVl3sUQy8eJ/story.html