Mar 19, 2015

 Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Study disputes ‘not criminally responsible’ myths

The finding of not-criminally responsible (NCR) has re-surfaced in the light of the “life-means-life” legislation proposed by the federal conservatives.  This latest study is suggesting that the prevention of violence from the mentally ill is often lacking in access to treatment prior to the violence.  72% of those found NCR had a history of at least one psychiatric hospitalization prior to the crime.  “It is easier for people with serious mental illness to access treatment after they are charged with a crime than it is for them to get professional help before,” said Michael Seto, forensic research director at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and one of the study’s lead authors.”

 CBC News
There is a ‘real fear’ of police among those with mental illness, says Mark Gruchy

Gruchy is the president of the NL branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and by profession a defence lawyer.  The comments about fear of police were prompted by an incident of police interaction with an autistic youth in which the constable was reprimanded by a provincial court judge, the second such incident against Constable Lisa Harris.  “Gruchy believes it may be time to consider a “separate class of individuals,” or a specialized unit, to respond to such incidents “before a tragedy happens…We don’t want a group of people who are afraid of the police … because that leads to misery and tragedy for everyone,” he said.   Related article: Cape Breton Post     Halifax RCMP take ‘first step’ in changing response to mental health events: chief‘first-step’-in-changing-response-to-mental-health-events:-chief/1

 CBC News – Jason Proctor
Solitary confinement doesn’t happen in Canada: Attorney General – Response to legal challenge claims difference between solitary confinement and administrative segregation 

Here’s news for most of those in the field of Corrections in Canada: there is no solitary confinement practiced in Canada.  It’s really administrative segregation.  The BC Civil Liberties Association and John Howard have brought a lawsuit claiming “that administrative segregation amounts to cruel and unusual punishment under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms… The groups say inmates are being stuck in isolation for up to 23 hours a day for months and — in some cases — years.   As a result, they claim inmates suffer a range of adverse effects including psychosis, depression and suicidal thoughts.”

  National Post – Tom Blackwell
Pricey youth suicide prevention programs could actually lead to more attempts not fewer, study says

Professor Stan Kutcher has some heavy credentials in mental health with youth; he is the Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre in Mental Health Policy and Training at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre.  He thinks that preventative suicide programs, particular two US based programs, are pricy and well packaged but without any scientific proof for effectiveness, and one in particular, he thinks, may lead to more suicide attempts.

 CTV News – Pattie Lovett-Reid
Financial abuse of seniors: How it occurs and what to look for

The link provides a 4 ½ minute video on a suggested $36 billion over each year of financial fraud and exploitation of seniors, the various schemes and scams and how they are perpetrated against the elderly by relatives, by retail scams, institutions, identity theft.

 CBC News – Huffington Post
Police, Prosecutors Say RCMP Database Remains Woefully Out Of Date 

CPIC or the Canadian Police Information Centre is by best estimates about two years out of date, caused at least in part by underfunding and the need to switch scarce resources, especially personnel, to security concerns.  Canada’s auditor general has twice sounded the alarm about the deficiencies in what the Canadian Police Association calls a basic tool for front line police officers.

 The Economist (US)
Policing: Don’t shoot

After a spate of highly emotionally charged shootings, with the inevitable civil unrest and decline in relations between the public and the police, some police in New York have adopted a different tactic involving smarter and less aggressive policing.  With 300 million guns and over 400 killings each year by police, the Department of Justice stats show most killings are justifiable but that “the shooting of unarmed people who pose no threat is disturbingly common.”  Equally disturbing is the frequency of violence against the mentally ill and a police mentality as an occupying army with all the requisite military hardware.