Pay cuts in jail…

  Aug. 10, 2014

 CBC News – Maureen Brosnahan
Prison inmates take federal government to court over pay cuts 

Prisoners in the federal system get paid for their work, only not much, and last October the government moved to cut the pay a further 30%.  The pay cut is really minimal savings in the CSC budget ($4 million out of $2.6 billion) but the impact is to reduce the potential for personal items in jail, phone calls (already prohibitively expensive for many inmates), family support for visits, and new starts on release.  Todd Sloan, the lawyer for the inmates says: “We are regressing … the whole trend in corrections now is away from the principles of good corrections,” Sloan said. “The two prime purposes of the CCRA are safety of the public and the safe reintegration of offenders. This type of action works at odds with those principles.”

 Winnipeg Free Press – John Hutton
Prisoner rehab moving back in time 

Hutton offers an assessment on rehab within the prisons as a reflection commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Prisoners Rights Day.  The day remembers the suicide of Edward Nolan on Aug. 10, 1974, while in federal custody.  Hutton reviews the most recent years and the tools once available for rehab but increasingly less available.  Says Hutton:  “A smart-on-crime approach must include humane and effective prisons that encourage hope instead of taking it away.”

 CBC News
Marc Emery, B.C.’s ‘prince of pot,’ returns to Canada Aug. 12 

When he was extradited to Seattle to face what the US DEA called “a significant blow to the legalization movement,” no one thought that before he was released legal purchase of pot would be available in Washington state, in Colorado and in California.  Perhaps there is a lesson in the rashness of passions of the moment in retrospect for Mark Emery’s return to Canada on Aug. 12.   35 marijuana dispensaries have opened in BC in the five years Emery was in US prison.

 Globe and Mail – Shannon Kari
Falling crime, rising budgets: Is Toronto over-policed? 

The decision to replace Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has people wondering about falling crime rates but ever expanding policing budgets.  Neighbouring Peel has about the same crime rate but a per capita cost 20% less than Toronto.  90% of the budget is salaries for police and civilian staff.  Police Board Chair Mukherjee is looking for a new model of policing while outgoing Chief Blair wants 200 more hires.

 Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Federal departments divulge details of dozens of privacy breaches 

Minister Fantino has had 38 privacy breaches in the last four months.  No fewer than 14 federal government departments have had confirmed privacy breaches that have leaked names, social security numbers, passport information, often through misdirected or mishandled communications.  The revelations are guarded by limited disclosures on the part of the departments involved but perhaps a further warning to those concerned about the access of government and police to private electronic tracking.

 CBC News – Brett Throop
Cyberbullying has ‘hugely disproportionate impact on women and girls’ 

A group of women’s advocates want it called what they think it is: cyber misogyny, not cyberbullying.  West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) Executive Director Kasari Govender insists that the impact is far greater on women and that ““we think it’s important to name the forces that are motivating this in order to figure out how to address it.”

 Vancouver Sun – Gordon Hoekstra,
Imperial Metals insurance likely not enough for dam collapse cleanup – Restoration costs expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars 

Adding a cautionary tale about the reliance on insurance coverage for clean up in serious environmental crisis, Hoekstra points out that the insurance limits are $15 million in the face of literally 100’s of millions in harm done.  It may be another question if the liability is applicable to environmental damages, usually a specialty coverage.  The BC government claims to have a polluter pay model.

 Toronto Star –  Kathy English, Public Editor
Why can’t Star interview Omar Khadr? 

The plight of Omar Khadr has stirred considerable legal and human rights controversy already.  Now there is another.  CSC are refusing to allow access to Khadr to national security reporter Michelle Shepherd.  Khadr, now 27, has spent 10 years in US prison and has been in jail in Canada for another 2 years.  The Star, the CBC and White Pine Pictures have joined in an application for a federal judicial review of the refusal.

 Nunatsiaq on line – Thomas Rohmer
Statistics Canada begins crime victimization survey in Nunavut, other territories 

Stats Canada will start a telelphone and face-to-face series of interviews done every five years to assess the impact of crime on victims. Part of the General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety, the survey was last done in 2009 but results were delayed until 2012.  StatsCan spokesperson Julie Sauvé said:  “The results will be used to develop and monitor policies and programs for victim services, police resourcing, and to develop public awareness programs.”

 N. Y. Times – Paul Krugman
Inequality Is a Drag  

Lots of economic theory says that there needs to be income inequality for an economy to work.  Krugman is suggesting that currently the inequality has grown so large that now it is in fact a drag on the economy and has the effect of slowing even more the hoped for resurgence and recovery of the US economy.  Standard and Poor as well as the IMF seem on side as well.

 CBS News (CA)
O.C. Judge Issues Preliminary Gang Injunction In Santa Ana  

Orange Country California is expanding the use of court injunctions around gang members gathering in certain physical spaces.  So far, the use of injunctions has spread to nine cities with 12 standing orders around the movement of gang members.  Law enforcement views the territorial control by gangs as terrorism.