Mental health now…

July 20, 2014

 CBC News – Maureen Brosnahan
Federal plan to help mentally ill female inmates on hold 

In May past, Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney announced, that as a start, two beds at the Brockville Mental Health Center were to be reserved for mentally ill women now in prison.  The government has the plan on hold because they can not agree on payment and in the meantime Corrections people have identified 20-30 inmates with the need for treatment, who are now still languishing in solitary and some in constant restraints.  The alleged fix was originally in response to the 104 recommendations in the Ashley Smith inquest.   Related article: Huffington Post (Canada)  – Renu Mandhane    Edward Snowshoe’s Death Proves Torture Is Alive and Well in Canada

 Global TV News
11 first responders have killed themselves in the past ten weeks  

First responders are the ones who are first on the scene of the most grisly accidents and crimes.  The total has now been updated to 13, most suffering from PTSD, the invisible wound, and depression from work related experiences that later overwhelm the individual.

 Toronto Star – Jane Gerster
Nearly half of Ontario inmates have suffered brain injury  

Dr. Angela Colantonio is the lead researcher on a study that suggests 43% of prison inmates have historically suffered some sort of trauma to the head, most often a blow of some kind, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.  These injuries could play a role in treatment, in addictions and in recidivism problems.  Addressing these injuries could conceivably make rehabilitation treatment easier and reduce obstacles around  recidivism.

 Globe and Mail  –   Tabatha Southey
To Harper, a ‘majority’ (on sex) is not always a majority (on marijuana)

Southey is looking for consistency in the decision making prompted by the federal government polling, once released or discovered. (Polls outsourced to survey companies are routinely released but if internal to government polls may be kept secret until other sources reveal them.)  A bare majority seem to support the prostitution laws (51.2%) but over 70% (70.7%) favour less severe marijuana laws.  While we may not want to be governed by opinion polls, we may want to have the opinions found in the professionally researched polls aired honestly and accurately in the legislative process.   Related article: Globe and Mail –  Emma M. Woolley     New prostitution law could force sex workers off the Internet   Related article:  Globe and Mail   Editorial (July 15, 2014)  That new prostitution bill? It’s still worse than the old law

 Daily Camera (Boulder, CO) –  Mitchell Byars
Face to face with victims: Boulder County to expand restorative justice 

Colorado has a new state law that allows for pilot programs in restorative justice.  The district attorney has $500,000 to use for RJ to keep youth out of the court system and out of the juvenile system.  The program aims at substituting RJ on a state wide basis.

Huffington Post Politics (US)  – Matt Ferner
If Legalizing Marijuana Was Supposed To Cause More Crime, It’s Not Doing a Very Good Job  

No one is suggesting that correlation means causation but crime is down and taxes up in Denver, Colorado, where the sales of marijuana have reached $90 million for the first six months of 2014 and the taxes have reached $35 million.  The dire harmful effects law enforcement warned about do not seem to have materialized.  No one is yet estimating the cost savings from putting buyers and sellers through the justice system.

 Washington Post –  Jerry Markon and Rachel Weiner
Thousands of felons could have drug sentences lessened 

 The US Sentencing Commission has found almost 50,000 inmates serving long drug sentences may be eligible for reduced sentences and may in the next few weeks flood the court system with applications as they move to applications to have a judge hear their appeal.  The number eligible is almost half the federally convicted drug sentences (100,000) and reflects a decision to make the revised sentence guidelines approved effective in November retroactive.