Barring the mentally ill…

  Oct. 5, 2014

 Ottawa Community News – Blair Edwards
Barring treatment for the mentally ill – Prisons are the new institutions for people with mental-health issues say critics of Canada’s penal policies 

Farhat Rehman, an Ottawa mother of a schizophrenic 41 year who has spent, so far, 8 years in jail, has become an advocate for the mentally ill in jail.  Her story writes large the need for psychiatric hospitalization of many of those in jail.  Her son, Farhat Kurd, was recently moved to Milhaven when the Regional Treatment Centre at Kingston Prison was closed and his mental condition has steadily deteriorate, even the few months since his transfer.   Says federal Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers:  “There’s no doubt in my mind that we have individuals who will not benefit from a period of incarceration in any way. Their mental illness will prevent them from being able to participate in any programming that would address their criminogenic needs and these are people who are profoundly mentally ill and diagnosed with significant psychiatric disorders and they need to be hospitalized.  – Alenah Duffy
Focused on problem solving 

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has initiated a RJ program for handling conflicts within its two high schools.  In preparation for their grade 12 year, a dozen grade eleven students undergo a three day intensive training session on mediation and conflict resolution.  The RJ program includes a free smart phone app called Empower that allows students to report anonymously mental health problems and  bullying.

 Yahoo News (US) – Eric Tucker, Associated Press
AP Exclusive: Complaints at problem prison shelved  

Why is it so hard to effect corrections when the correctional staff of a prison are themselves offending?  In a scathing report by the National Justice Department, the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, the Justice Department painted life in the prison as an “unabated” culture of sexual abuse and harassment” and a “cauldron of sexual violence” after repeated investigations by Alabama state authorities concluded that there was no basis for any further action.–politics.html

 Huffington Post (US) – Sara Warner
Immigration ‘Court’ Reform More About Justice Than Immigration 

Warner delves into the US Immigration Court system and insists that it is neither a ‘court,’ nor a system, nor an independent body.  Consequently, not just the US  immigration laws need reform; the quasi ‘court’ system around it is badly in need of complete revision as well.

 Toronto Star – Annie Burns-Pieper and Kevin Newman, W5
Lifting the curtain on suicides in Canadian hospitals

What happens when a person thought to at risk of self-harm is placed in hospital and often put on suicide watch?  The answer seems to be that over the last ten years some 300 have managed to find ways to committed suicide.  The availability of information on hospital suicides  is limited from province to province.  And inquests and recommendations have not prevailed.  Unfortunately, hospitals are not under any obligation to release publicly the reports of these suicides, sometimes not even to families of the victims.    Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Oct 3, 2014)  More should be done to deter police suicide   Related article: Globe and Mail – Carly Weeks   Solving the painkiller crisis: It’s in the hands of doctors   Vancouver Sun  –  Tara Carman   Vancouver airport cells where woman killed self plagued by understaffing

 Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
‘Medical repatriation’ puts sick, injured migrant farm workers out of sight and mind 

When a migrant worker is ill or injured, the labour laws don’t work.  Instead there is “immigrant repatriation.”  Even in the death of a migrant worker there is no obligation for a coroner’s inquest.  A study by Dr. Aaron Orkin, an emergency physician at Humber River Regional Hospital (Ontario) and lead author of the study, estimates that there have been about 787 such repatriations – over 40% for medical reasons – in the last decade.   Full Report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal:  Medical repatriation of migrant farm workers in Ontario: a descriptive analysis