July 31, 2014

 MacLean’s – Paul Wells
Harper’s pot wedge: Up in smoke  

Wells thinks that the advocacy of the N.Y. Times editorial board for the legalization of marijuana, and the growing acceptance of that position in Canada, is likely to destroy the pot issue as a wedge issue for tough-on-crime partisans in the coming federal election and at the same time to blunt some of the criticism of Justin Trudeau’s advocacy for its legalization.  http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/harpers-pot-wedge-up-in-smoke   Related article: Bellingham (WA) Herald – Our Voice: Revised sentencing for drug offenders smart move for government  http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/07/28/3773640/our-voice-revised-sentencing-for.html?sp=/99/122

 Toronto Star – Jim Rankin
Ontario attorney general asked to probe ‘extreme’ custody case 

A woman ordered by a court to return her daughter to Canada and who failed to do so has been in jail for 9 months with no prospect of release until compliant with the court order.  Her lawyer says that now she can neither physically nor financially effect the return and is held in jail in circumstances akin to debtor’s prison.  The woman, who had no legal representation in the family court that ordered her arrest,  also alleges she was both mentally and sexually abused by a Toronto man who wants the daughter home.  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/07/29/ontario_attorney_general_asked_to_probe_extreme_custody_case.html

 Brandon Sun (MB) – Canadian Press
Union head says prison guards not trained to deal with severely mentally ill  

Corrections guards in Canada have repeatedly voiced concern about the mentally ill in prison.  Kevin Garbowsky of the guards union says they are not trained to cope with inmates like Marlene Carter, a 43 year old who spends most of her prison time strapped to a bed to eliminate head butting the walls and just recently had her sentence extended by two years for assaulting guards and medical staff.  Aren’t we missing something here?  The parallels to Ashley Smith are striking.  http://www.brandonsun.com/national/breaking-news/union-head-says-prison-guards-not-trained-to-deal-with-severely-mentally-ill-269152051.html?thx=y   Related article: Toronto Star – Laura Armstrong    Families left ‘powerless’ by Ontario’s Mental Health Act   http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/07/28/families_left_powerless_by_canadas_mental_health_act.html

ABC Radio (AU) – AM with Chris Uhlmann and Emily Bourke
Children in detention is state-sanctioned abuse: Australian church task force 

There is currently a Human Rights commission hearing on the subject of immigrant children in detention in Australia.  The faith community is pulling no punches about its view: state sponsored child abuse in the face of so much evidence and testimony about the long term impact on growth and development of the practices on children.   http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2014/s4056859.htm   Related article:  Sydney Morning Herald (AU) – Sarah White     Morrison accused of ‘state sanctioned child abuse’    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/morrison-accused-of-state-sanctioned-child-abuse-20140729-3cs3i.html   Related article: SBS Radio (New South Wales, AU)   Will Royal Commission look at children in detention?    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/07/30/will-royal-commission-look-children-detention

 Florida Times-Union –  Editorial
Smart justice made headway for juvenile offenders 

Florida state has seen both a reduction in juvenile jail beds and juvenile arrests and credits the change to a more effective and less costly approach involving outreach programs close to home.  A report from Youth Advocacy Programs called Safely Home suggests that anything that can be done in an institution can be better done close to  home.   http://members.jacksonville.com/opinion/editorials/2014-07-28/story/smart-justice-mades-headway-juvenile-offenders

 Ulster Herald
Canadian detention a ‘political decision’ – Francis Mackey 

Concerns about secrecy in immigration detentions surfaced around three Irish visitors to Canada whose problem seemed to be that they on a list of terrorist organizations in the US but not in Canada.  The three were detained and sent back to Northern Ireland the following day but Canadian Border Security Agency refused to confirm they had been detained.  Here’s the story from the visitors side.  http://ulsterherald.com/2014/07/28/canadian-detention-a-political-decision-francis-mackey/#sthash.kSXNedLH.dpuf

Calgary Herald – Matt McClure
Aspects of omnibus crime legislation remain secret – Herald reporter’s request rejected 

A Calgary newspaper and reporter are puzzled about why some 70 pages of the federal government bill C-10 need to remain secret.  C-10 is the Omnibus Crime Bill and the section at issues seems to offer direction and advice to provincial officials.  The province’s information and privacy Czar has asked for the information from the Justice and AG’s offices but denied the Herald request for access to the 70 pages.  http://www.calgaryherald.com/Aspects+omnibus+crime+legislation+remain+secret/10070427/story.html

 Buzzbuzz.com –  Monika Warzecha
Toronto has the lowest crime rate in Canada: see how your city compares 

Not one of 33 cities studied has a higher crime rate from 2012 – 2013 nor over the last five years.  Crime rates have been dropping everywhere.  Barrie has the lowest crime severity rate.  The article offers a city-by-city comparison of the crime rates and the crime severity index based on Stats Canada’s latest.  http://news.buzzbuzzhome.com/2014/07/cities-crime-rate-in-canada.html

 The Oregonian (US) –  Maxine Bernstein
Multnomah County officials heading to Texas for tips on how to divert people with mental illness from jail 

A group of justice officials from Oregon are en route to Bexar Country, San Antonio, Texas, to look at a successful mental health diversion interface with the justice system.  The Crisis Care Center, a Restoration Center, offers sobering, detox, and substance abuse programs as well as a housing service to the homeless.  “Treatment works. It saves the taxpayers a lot of money and helps these people recover their lives,” said Leon Evans, the president and chief executive officer of the Center for Health Care Services in San Antonio.   http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/07/multnomah_county_officials_hea.html

 The British Academy (UK)
A Presumption against Imprisonment: Social Order and Social Values 

This is a three part report trying to understand why the justice system is so heavily over-reliant on prison in coping with crime.  Just published (July 2014), the study explores the reasons behind high use of incarceration and what and how we can respond to both the high numbers imprisoned and the longer sentences. file:///C:/Users/Michael/AppData/Local/Temp/A%20Presumption%20Against%20Imprisonment_WEB2.pdf