Real rehab…

April 5, 2016

CBS News 60 Minutes – Bill Whitaker
Privacy, weekend leave, keys…This is prison?

In the light of prison practices in North America, this documentary reporting on an exchange between German prison authorities and US criminologists creates a contrast almost incomprehensible in the approach.  But at the same time, the exchange raises many questions about why North American prisons so rarely effectively rehabilitate.  In Germany, all efforts are aimed at helping inmates create a future.   Related article: CBS News 60 Minutes Overtime – Yoga in prison? Germany’s “5-star slammer”   ( A series of videos on life inside Germany’s prisons)  Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Elizabeth Payne   Lockdowns disrupting access to mental health care for inmates at Ottawa jail

BC Mainlander – Jean Swanson and Bill Hopwood
Groups unite to call for higher welfare and disability rates

In a capsule, this article presents the very essence of why anti-poverty efforts fail to significantly impact the circumstances of those without adequate income.  The BC welfare rates have been at $610 a month for a single person for nine years without increase.  Now the government is planning in September to increase the disability benefit rate by $77 a month but will claw it back through higher transit costs for the disabled.

National Newswatch – Colin Perkel, Canadian Press
Stories of residential school abuse can be shredded after 15 years, court says

The residential school inquiry has prompted a question about who owns the stories told by Indigenous people at the inquiry.  Now Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled in 2014 that those who told stories and agreed to archive the stories may do so but that others who did not may expect the record of their stories to be destroyed after 15 years.  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission thinks all the records should be preserved.  Writing for the majority of the Ontario Appeals Court, Chief Justice George Strathy has confirmed the ruling from Perell but wants the decisions around the documents administered by the chief adjudicator of the process.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Sean Fine   Court ruling gives residential school survivors control over abuse testimony

Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Caregivers are needed more than ever, but burning out

Caregivers refer to those who experience career or job interruptions in order to allow care for a sick or ailing family member.  Dempsey thinks we may be moving towards the perfect storm in caring for the aged since Health Quality Ontario is advising that the stress levels in those caregivers has doubled in the last four years, reflecting not just fatigue but also a growing sense of inadequacy to the tasks required as loved one age.   Related article: Newsday Bloomberg News (US)  Leonid Bershidsky     A basic income is smarter than a minimum wage   Related article: Toronto Star Rob Ferguson     Ontario backtracks on drug plan deductibles hike for seniors above low-income threshold

The Tyee (BC) – Kathy Hyslop
Food Bank Society’s Two-Tier Membership Shuns Clients, Critics Say

Last year the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society passed a rule prohibiting those who use the food bank from having a full membership in the Society.  The two tier membership rule bars anyone who has used the food bank in the last two years, and includes spouses.  Board suggests a conflict of interest for users but in fact the rules only speak about conflict of interest for directors.  Critics say that a model specifically prohibiting users from participating is wrong and are alarmed at the growing numbers of societies invoking the prohibition.