On filling jails…

   May 7, 2014

 Halifax Herald – Paul McLeod
More parole board refusals keep prisoners in jail longer, AG says 

 This report suggests that a 14% increase in the failure to achieve discretionary parole accounts for the 9% growth in the inmate population.  Surprisingly, it is the low-risk offenders who are rejected for parole.  http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1205584-more-parole-board-refusals-keep-prisoners-in-jail-longer-ag-says 

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Five fundamental ways Harper has changed the justice system 

 This article identifies five major changes in the criminal justice system mostly having to do with how the punishment is meted out.  Fine lists in those changes, the stacking of parole eligibility, mandatory minimums, the end of less restriction conditions, end of house arrest, end of accelerated parole review for non-violent offenders.  (3 pages to this article)  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/five-fundamental-ways-harper-has-changed-the-justice-system/article18503381

Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour 
Ottawa judges accused of ‘insurrection’ over mandatory victim surcharge 

 The Ontario Crown Attorney’s office has entered the fray of judge bashing.  On conviction for a summary offence, one is charged $100, $200 for an indictable offence (or 30% of any fine imposed), the surcharge to support victim relief.  Ontario Court Justice Heather Perkins-McVey has become the latest target since she fiddled with the requirement in five recent decisions.  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/ottawa/Ottawa+judges+accused+insurrection+over+mandatory+victim/9811803/story.html  

 Toronto Star – Editorial
Ontario should crack down on crooked lawyers 

The editorial insists that in the last decade in which 230 lawyers were known to have defrauded their clients, and 41 escape criminal penalties, nothing has changed except the names of the offenders.  The law society says that the act governing the law society prevents the society from sharing information about the wrongdoing with police.  If accurate, the Star advocates for a change of that section of the act.   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2014/05/06/ontario_should_crack_down_on_crooked_lawyers_editorial.html  

Globe and Mail – Jeffrey Simpson
Attacking the Supreme Court, the Conservatives sink to a new low 

 Simpson, a noted and well respected columnist, wants to know if this latest attack on Chief Justice McLaughlin represents the lowest the government can go, and regretfully confesses that each time there appears to establish new lows.  “By attacking Chief Justice McLachlin and adding the Supreme Court of Canada to its enemies list, the government is sending a signal to its political base, MPs, candidates and fundraisers that it is now open season on the courts….  This kind of attack has been a staple of Republican Party tactics in the United States. Canadian courts had been spared – but no longer.”  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/tories-sink-to-a-new-supreme/article18498810   

South Delta Leader – Op Ed  Debra MacPherson
Destigmatizing mental illness requires proper funding 

 May 5-11 is Mental Health week.  MacPherson says that if you de-stigmatize mental illness and persuade people to get help, there have to be avenues to get help, funded and available.  Community alternatives to mental hospitals are pointless with the support services that solutions in the community require.  http://www.southdeltaleader.com/opinion/editorial/op-ed-destigmatizing-mental-illness-requires-proper-funding-1.1023854   

Pembina Valley on line – Daryl Braun
Restorative Justice to Expand In Manitoba 

 Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan has announced that RJ efforts in Manitoba will expand in the light of the improved results from activities to date.  Says Swan:  “”That means allowing the person affected by crime to have their life made whole, whether that’s by way of an apology, whether that’s by way of the offender paying money or doing things to make up for the damage that’s been caused, but also to get better results for offenders. There are a number of different studies around the world that have shown that a successful restorative justice process not only gives the person affected by crime greater confidence in the system and greater satisfaction, it can also turn the offenders life around and make it less likely they’re going to re-offend and cause more trouble in future.”  http://www.pembinavalleyonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37777&Itemid=425  

 Guardian (UK) – Dave Birch
In a cashless society, what will the new currency be? Your reputation

As bank notes and coins become uneconomic and a hindrance to business, Birch suggests that the currency of ‘identity transactions’ will replace them.  The world of economics may be re-invented when business relies on social reputation as established by social media, networks and on-line connections.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/07/cashless-society-new-currency-reputation-coins-notes-identity-transactions