Unconstitutional sentencing…

   Mar 25, 2014

Canadian Law Times – Charlotte Santry
NWT judge takes aim at Truth in Sentencing provisions 

Justice Garth Malakoe of the Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories has ruled that the provisions of the Truth in Sentencing Act are unconstitutional and has reduced the sentence of a man for break and entry and robbery.  The act, said the judge, “pressured” accused persons not to exercise their right to a bail hearing.  http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalfeeds/1993/nwt-judge-takes-aim-at-truth-in-sentencing-provisions.html?utm_source=responsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CLNewswire_20140324

 Huffington Post London (UK) – Chris York
Prisoner ‘Book Ban’ Prompts Outcry From Phillip Pullman, Linda Grant And Mary Beard 

New regulations implemented in November 2013 are just coming to light through the UK Howard League.  The regulations governing packages mailed to inmates now prohibits books and small items.  No one is sure why and the professional writers are incensed with the ban.  Included in the ban are small items, birthday cards and underwear???   http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/24/prisoner-ban-on-being-sent-books-_n_5020834.html?utm_hp_ref=tw  

 Telegraph (UK)
Brazil prisoners reading books to shorten their sentences 

Brazil’s prisons are overcrowded and violence prone.  Read a book from a list of classics in literature or science and get four days off your sentence.  Each inmate gets four weeks to read the book and then must write a report that demonstrates proof of having read the book.  The cap is 48 days maximum each year (12 books) off the sentence.  Volunteers are working on building the prison library with suitable books.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/brazil/9356129/Brazil-prisoners-reading-books-to-shorten-their-sentences.html

 Globe and Mail – Josh Wingrove and Chris Hannay
Everything you need to know about the Fair Elections Act  

The Fair Elections Act has been criticized as anything but fair since it fails to give added power to elections Canada to investigate violations and it fails in any measure to encourage the exercise of the vote.  The Act also eliminates the voucher system in which a person without the photo ID required can have another established voter vouch for his / her identity, a move likely to impact the Aboriginal community in particular.  Here’s a good explanation of the Bill and its future.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/what-is-the-fair-elections-act/article17648947

 The Independent (UK) – Paul Peachy
Metropolitan Police whistleblower quits days before misconduct hearing 

James Patrick has given in to the pressures in response to his decision to condemn the statistics gathered by the Metropolitan police as seriously flawed and manipulated.  Patrick still faces a misconduct inquiry.  Patrick told a hearing of MP’s that massaging performance figures has become ingrained in the police service.  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/metropolitan-police-whistleblower-quits-days-before-misconduct-hearing-9213007.html    Related article:  Guardian (UK) – Kevin Rawlinson   Metropolitan police whistleblower ‘forced to resign’   http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/25/metropolitan-police-whistleblower-crime-figures-resigns  

 The West Australian
Children call Australian immigration detention ‘hell’  

Children called to testify before the Human Rights Commission have described their detention experience in very unflattering terms:  Hell.  The Commission visited a facility on Christmas Island where 315 children have been held for 6-8 months.  Commission President Gillian Triggs said:  “The overwhelming sense is of the enormous anxiety, depression, mental illness but particularly developmental retardation.”  http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/world/a/22143596/children-call-australian-immigration-detention-hell   

 Forbes (US)
A Tech Program Helps San Quentin Prisoners Get on Track 

A Silicone valley initiative seems to be working to help inmates in California’s notorious San Quentin state prison.  Inmates get a twice weekly introduction to technology for 6 months and are invited to come up with a business start up idea.  Mentors provide the necessary help to bring it to fruition.  The inmates, while still inmates, also get a chance to pitch the business start-up to potential investors.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomiogeron/2014/03/24/a-tech-program-helps-san-quentin-prisoners-get-on-track  

 National Education Association (US)  – Mary Ellen Flannery
NEA and Partners Promote Restorative Justice in Schools 

 In a bid to end the school to jail pipeline, the NEA has focused an effort on Black 4 and 5 year olds who account for almost half the pre-schoolers suspended more than once and who become candidates for the pipeline.  The NEA with the American Federation of Teachers has produced a toolkit to help establish RJ practices instead.  http://neatoday.org/2014/03/24/nea-and-partners-promote-restorative-justice-in-schools    Toolkit:  (16 page downloadable pdf)  http://www.otlcampaign.org/sites/default/files/restorative-practices-guide.pdf