Confidence in justice?

Feb 19, 2014

 CTV News – Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press
Study finds Canadians have little confidence in justice system

 An internal federal Justice Department study prepared for a policing conference last month has outlined a problem with the public perception of justice in Canada.  Looking at a decade of public research, the 13 page report affirms high confidence in police but dissatisfaction with the courts, the time justice takes, the way victims are treated, the sentencing meted out.    Related article:  Toronto Star – Susan DelacourtCanadian political parties not doing their job: survey  

 Toronto Star
Toronto police to test out lapel cameras

 Following a recommendation in a report on police and community engagement, the Toronto police will conduct a pilot study on the effectiveness of having front line officers wear a lapel video camera.  The practice often moderates the behaviour of both those who ear them and those who are videoed.  Some see it as a natural progression by police in the use of the video tool presently found in booking rooms, interview rooms and squad cars.

 Toronto Star – Jennifer Pagliaro
Better care sought for mentally ill inmates

 The Toronto South Detention Center is the replacement for the Don Jail and has a 26 bed unit for acute care of mental problems.  The center operates a Forensic Early Intervention Service with CAMH in which mental health nurses screen inmates for serious mental disorders.

 Sault Sainte Marie (MI) – Dr. Elizabeth Englander
Bullying Bulletin Board: Can technological solutions fix technological bullying? 

 Dr. Englander wonders about the influence of significant adult relationships and its influence in determining the vulnerability of children to the meanness involved in cyberbullying.  Those children who showed resiliency to bullying were generally more likely to see themselves as positively connected to parents and teachers.  (UK)  
Whole life terms: Judges uphold ‘life means life’ sentences 

 The European Courts recently ruled that a sentence of life without review is a violation of human rights.  The decision caused a flurry of legal activity in England for convicted serial killers who challenged a sentence of whole life without chance of parole. 

 Brandon Sun (MB) / Associated Press – Juergen Baetz
European opposition to death penalty behind chronic US execution dilemma 

 Nine years ago the European Union banned for sale for state execution the drugs contained in the cocktail used for executions in the US.  The result is that the states are now looking for alternate means to execute, including firing squads and electrocution.  The EU is strongly and unusually in accord about the need to abolish the death penalty.  

 N.Y. Times – Preeti Chauhan
Systemic Changes Are Necessary 

 Chauhan, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, thinks that the two approaches thus far to deal with crime – tough-on-crime without judicial discretion and latitude for discretion – have both resulted in a increase of racism and basic unfairness in sentencing practices.  Her conclusion is that justice needs systemic change. (MD) – St. John Barned-Smith
When mental illness intersects with the criminal justice system 

 A recent spate of violent crimes in Maryland has brought a realization that the closure of public mental health hospitals and services has resulted in the prison system having to accept a greater treatment responsibility for the perpetrators after the crime.  The state’s attorney general says:  “The larger issue for us in the community is: How do we deal with people who have persistent mental health issues and intersect with the criminal justice system?”