Oct. 5, 2016

National Association of Parole Executives (US) –   R.E. “Bob” Brown
A Beacon of Hope – Sunny Ways: Life sentenced Offenders

R.E. “Bob” Brown is a retired district parole supervisor in BC and offers us a scholarly pass through an area that continues to raise hackles among all sides of the criminal justice reform perspective.  The article journeys through the history and successes of the now abandoned Lifeline (Lifers helping lifers, founded in Canada) program, the experience in England and Ireland, the US experience including the LWOP and then urges a return to the funding and the model in which “faint hope” becomes a way to allow rehabilitation and re-integration.  The link is to a magazine and the article is found on pp 29-38.  The article is also worth a read from the perspective of the impact on the expectation – tough-on-crime vs rehabilitation – around incarceration.

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Chronic lack of housing for women offenders

A group of activist organizations in the UK, including Prison Reform Trust, have fielded a September 2016 report on the influence of housing, once released, on women offenders.  The study found that on release 60% of women have no place to go for housing and that the remand population is more likely women who are eventually not convicted.  Sentences are likely a year or less and 17,000 children are innocent victims; and 31% of women sentenced spent time in child care.   Full report:  Home Truths: Housing for Women in the Criminal Justice System  (A 28 page downloadable pdf)

CBC News –
‘We’re back again. We want justice’: Activists hold vigil on Parliament Hill for missing and murdered women – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells crowd things can’t change overnight

Impatience is mostly the perspective of a crowd who gathered in Ottawa on the steps of the Parliament Buildings.  Demonstrators suggested that the MMIW inquiry is now confronted with more cases, including Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook, found dead recently near the Ottawa River.  One of the leaders, said: “We’re back again…We want justice. We don’t want to be here anymore. We shouldn’t have to be here. We shouldn’t have to beg for justice.”   Related article: CBC News – Jesse Johnston   Hundreds of B.C. foster children victims of sexualized violence – B.C. child advocate says Indigenous girls are most at risk

National Newswatch – Jordan Press, Canadian Press
Minimum income programs no magic bullet in poverty battle, report says

The report comes from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, authored by David Macdonald, and published on Oct. 5, 2016.  The report challenged the notion of a basic income and advocates instead for a taxable, universal benefit sent to each Canadian and above the current safety net programs, suggesting that the result would be over 700,000 people lifted above the poverty line.   Full report:  A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income   (A 42 page downloadable pdf)

 Colour of Change Network –
Community Coalition Launches Legislative Framework for the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate

The network is a community anti-racism coalition which has defined a legislative approach to embed an anti-racism directorate called “An Act respecting Anti-Racism in Ontario.”  The Ontario government and the coalition have been carrying out public hearings and hope to secure the necessary funding to achieve what they see as the goals of such a directorate, starting with a strategy to address systemic racism.    The proposal, An Act Respecting Anti-racism in Ontario, is available at

Globe and Mail – Michelle Zilio
Ottawa softens stand on stripping citizenship over false papers

The recent brouhaha around Minister Mariyam Monsef’s birthplace and its implications for citizenship has prompted a willingness to review the legislation that could revoke citizenship if acquired under false information, i.e. birth place.  Canada needs to re-instate the right to a hearing that would allow people caught unwittingly in the predicament to correct the problem.  In the meantime, immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman says that the government has stepped up other revocations in a bid to beat the proposed amendment to C-6.

Policy Options – Jeremy Ryant
Young Canadians might be disengaged from politics, but ironically they play a pivotal role around the federal halls of power

Young man Ryant served recently as a parliamentary intern and reflects on the social connection between youth but the failure to insert themselves effectively in a political role while the current government seems quite focused on getting and keeping youthful support as a matter of policy.  Noting that most parliamentary staff re under 30, Ryant says:  The notion that a small group of young people plays a central role in perpetuating a system that youth are notoriously disengaged with is puzzling, to say the least.”