Tough-on-crime vs soft-on-crime?


Feb. 21, 2014 

Huffington Post (Canada) – Altheia Raj
Could Liberal Convention Proposals Make Trudeau Look Soft On Crime? 

 The reversal of the Conservative ‘tough-on-crime’ measures and the proposal to buy-back long guns have surfaced early at the Liberal Policy Convention as potentially opening the Liberals to the charge of being ‘soft-on-crime.’  Resolution 20 at the convention calls on the Liberals to support an evidence-based approach to the justice system that reflects the falling crime rate.  

 CBC Radio – Carol Off,  As it happens
Stephen Reid, convict and writer,  released from prison

 At age 63, Reid, who has spent most of his adult life in jail, is again free.  Reid discovered a career as a writer while in jail for participation in the Stopwatch Gang of bank robbers.  While out the first time he attempted another bank robbery while high on cocaine and heroin.  His latest book of prison writings, A Crowbar In The Buddhist Garden, is the winner of the 2013 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.  The link is a 16 minute radio interview with Reid.

 24 Hours News – Michael Mui
Sex offences hit new high in Vancouver

 Though numerous categories of crime are in marked decline, for unknown reasons Vancouver in 2013 has a record number of sex offences, an increase of over 15%.  The majority of offences are gropings rather than aggravated sexual assaults where the rates are lower.

Hamilton Spectator – Louis Sahagun
Climate change brings more crime: study 

 A Cambridge, Mass, research firm is suggesting that climate change may also usher in an increase in crime rates.  Published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management this week, the study says that the estimated cost is anywhere from $38 to $115 billion by 2099.

 RJ-on-line (Australia) – Jacqueline Joudo Larsen
Restorative justice in the Australian criminal justice system 

 Heather Strang prepared an initial report on the impact of RJ in Australia in 2001.  This study updates the presence and impact of RJ in 2013.  The report suggests that RJ has become main stream for juvenile justice and an increasing option for adult crime.  Full report (Downloadable PDF – 54 pages  

 Commonwealth – Bruce Mohl
Patrick pledges 50% reduction in recidivism in five years 

 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is promising the reduction in recidivism based on four elements:  1. Prepare prisoners for re-entry starting from the point of entry; 2. Treat substance abuse as a health problem; 3. Address mental illness rather than punishing the symptoms of the disease; and 4. Reform of sentencing: including an effective parole and probation service.

 Associated Press (US) – Nick Tabor
House votes to reform corrections intelligence 

 Maryland has recently confronted a series of incidents involving the corruption of 27 prison officers in Baltimore.  The result is a state-wide unification of the silo intelligence units for each institution where 19 investigators and 13 intelligence officers collect information from the prison data and from phone calls made by inmates.  

 Huffington Post (US) – Timothy P. Silard
Justice Reform, At Long Last 

 Silard points out that the reforms have already started in places like Texas and New York where the imprisonment costs are diverted into treatment and community supports.  He notes that the Black and Hispanic populations are jailed at 10 times the rate of whites for drug crime but that Black men and boys are also almost 50% of the time the victims of homicides.  “But the perception that our young men are dangerous, rather than vulnerable, is one that is reinforced daily by our justice system.”  

 Public Broadcasting (US)
Restorative Justice – Curbing Conflict 

 Students in Hinkley High School in Colorado learn to repair the damage from physical fights in conversation with a ‘talking’ stick.  The conversation is followed by an agreement in writing and has resulted in significant reductions in both fights and suspension.  The link is a 7 minutes video report of the RJ process in action with reflections from school authorities and police.  

 Reclaim Justice Network (UK)
Incentives and earned privileges in prison 

First introduced in 1995 in Britain’s prison system, the Incentive and Earned Privileges program exchanged responsible behaviour for extra privileges.  Some additionally punitive reforms and changes in policy with the IEP system put at risk more suicides, safety and rehabilitation chances.

 Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO)

Speaker Series: Romance Fraud    Resource speakers:  Barb Sluppick,    Michelle, victim of romance fraud, Detective Martin Cardinal, Ottawa Police Services

 Thursday, March 6, 2014 from 9:00 to11:00 a.m.  City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West  or 613-580-2424 ext. 22454