Sept 12, 2014 

 Policy Options – Michael Adam
Crime and populism:  The Harper government has made a tough stance on crime one of its showcase positions. Why?   

The question of why follows every new ‘tough-on-crime’ stance offered by the federal government.  The crime rates are steadily going down but the Tories have introduced over 60 crime bills and over 30 are already law.  Adam looks at the role of public opinion and the issues, the use of evidence based research, and the drift of popular common sense against a sort of elite and forward thinking group who rely on best practices. http://policyoptions.irpp.org/issues/beautiful-data/adams

 Business Insider – Anastasia Moloney, Reuters
Colombia Women’s Rights Group Wins U.N. Award as Risks Lives for Victims

120 volunteers – who call themselves Butterflies with New Wings Building a Future – are the winners of the UN refugee award this year.  They extend a healing presence to women who suffer trauma from the 50 years of Columbia’s gang wars, the murder of their husbands and children, violence and sexual assaults, the displacement from homes.  http://www.businessinsider.com/r-colombia-womens-rights-group-wins-un-award-as-risks-lives-for-victims-2014-9#ixzz3D6r9IoUU

 Guardian (UK) – Oliver Laughland
Immigration detention doctors ‘should consider boycott’, says MJA article 

The Australian Medical Association Journal is advocating that doctors serving the immigration community in detention should boycott the detention centres altogether unless the quality of health comes to equal that of the average Australian.  The Journal’s assessment is that immigrants face both substandard and harmful medical care.   http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/11/immigration-detention-doctors-should-consider-boycott-says-mja-article

 Guardian (UK) – Joyce Chia
High court verdict spells the end for Australian immigration detention as we know it 

The High Court of Australia has ended the federal government’s practice of granting a temporary visa to immigrants / refugees to prevent their application for citizenship or asylum.  The government can detain only for three reasons, the court has ruled: “to consider whether to let someone apply for a visa; to consider an application for a visa; or to remove someone.”  The court’s ruling makes detention without purpose as defined by the three lawful reasons illegal; the court also requires expeditious resolution.  Indefinite detention for those beyond removal is now illegal.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/11/high-court-verdict-spells-the-end-for-australian-immigration-detention-as-we-know-it    Related article:  The Monthly (AU) – Russell Marks   The Limits to Detention    http://www.themonthly.com.au/politicoz/september/1410486213/limits-detention   Related article: Realny (US) – Negron   Infographic shows time immigrants spend in detention   http://realny.org/immigrantdetention

 N. Y. Times – Leigh Goodmark, University of Maryland
Healthy Alternatives to Prosecution Can Help Victims 

Goodmark speaks to those victims of domestic violence who, for whatever reason, do not want to criminally prosecute the offender.  While recognizing considerable scepticism of the anti-domestic violence advocates, Goodmark suggests restorative justice practices attentive to the dynamics of domestic violence may offer more satisfying healing for victim and offender.  Mandatory prosecution, she says, is disempowering.  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/09/10/going-after-abusers-like-nfl-player-ray-rice/healthy-alternatives-to-prosecution-can-help-victims  Related article: Washington Post (US) – Caroline G. Nicholl (letter to the editor)   The criminal justice system should focus not only on enforcement   http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-criminal-justice-system-should-focus-not-only-on-enforcement/2014/09/10/a903d792-379e-11e4-a023-1d61f7f31a05_story.html

 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology – Northwestern University – Judy C. Tsui
Breaking Free of the Prison Paradigm:  Integrating Restorative Justice Techniques into Chicago’s Juvenile Justice System     

 Tsui offers an overview of both restorative justice as an alternative to incarceration and the advantages of RJ.  A plus offered is the obstacles to the increased use of RJ in juvenile cases.  The 31 page article is available as a free download at the link. http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7486&context=jclc

 University of California – Riverside –  Sean Nealon
Cyberbullying Increases As Students Grow Older 

A study has found some curious and unexpected results around cyberbullying.  As to be expected, the older you get the less you are physically and verbally bullied.  But the older you get, through the middle age of childhood, the more you may be cyberbullied.   The study is unique since it follows some 1100 middle school students over time (Grades 5-8).  Previous studies have been snapshots of the bullying problem.   http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/24423

Psychology Today (US)  – Susan Sexton, Circuit Judge

Criminal Justice and the Mentally Ill  –  Mentally Ill Defendants on Probation 

In the context of probation, mental illness on the part of the accused makes the whole process more difficult and conditions of probation more likely to lead to being violated.  She cites a probation case which used the condition of mental health treatment, passed a minimum cost to the offender, resulting in violation when he fell behind in payment, was rejected from the program and prompted violated by the parole officer for failure to meet the conditions of probation.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/better-judgment/201409/criminal-justice-and-the-mentally-ill

 VERA Institute of Justice – Nicholas Turner
Ferguson, trust, and the new suburbia 

The head of VERA offers a reflection a month after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.  Turner suggests that aggressive police enforcement simply distances police in time of crisis – Ferguson has the highest rate of arrest warrants issued for a city its size in the entire state.  Further there has been a heavy reliance on fees and fines to support municipal government and notes Turner the demographics of the suburb are such now that poverty in suburbs exceeds that of the poverty in the city core.  The question remains: how to establish trust?   http://www.vera.org/blog/ferguson-trust-and-new-suburbia