Drugged driving…

Oct 24, 2016

Globe and Mail – Peter McKnight
Drugged driving: Shaky science and uncertain laws

McKnight reviews some of the struggles still unfolding about the problem with marijuana use and impaired driving.  At this point tests for the presence of marijuana, as well as definitive standards for establishing impaired driving are inconclusive.  The question also remains whether the legalization of marijuana will lead to increases in the current self-reported practice of driving and marijuana use.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/drugged-driving-shaky-science-and-uncertain-laws/article32480941/

Guardian (UK) – Nicky Woolfe
Inside America’s biggest prison strike: ‘The 13th amendment didn’t end slavery’

The major media sources have missed the current strike among inmates in US prisons who work within the prison industries for as little as 17cents / hour, and often without workman safety in place.   The strike on Sept 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison riots, intended drawing attention to the 13th Amendment of the constitution which abolished slavery.  The number who participated in the strike is estimated by one agency at about 24,000 but a second thought more like 72,000; actual numbers were hard to determine since some prison authorities denied the event even occurred.  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/22/inside-us-prison-strike-labor-protest?CMP=share_btn_tw

John Howard League (UK)
Child arrests in England and Wales 2015 Research briefing

Child arrests are down by 59% in five years according to the latest research by John Howard.  The drop in arrests reflects also a comparable drop in the number of children in secure facilities or prisons.  And arrests of girls has fallen at a higher rate than arrests of boys, arrests of 10/11 year olds even more precipitous drop.  The reductions are credited to better use of community resources by the police at the point of what many would see as childish misbehaviour rather than serious crime.  There is, however, no corresponding reduction in the adult arrests.  http://howardleague.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Child-arrests-2015-1.pdf   (A four page downloadable pdf)

Ottawa Crime Prevention
Ottawa Gang Strategy: Seeking Solutions to Street-Level Violence

This report is at the end of a three year effort by CPO to address street violence in Ottawa.  Given the impact of violence on neighbourhoods, the effort focused on neighbourhood cohesion, prevention, intervention and enforcement and suppression.  The report offers results on each of the four areas and a summary of lessons learned (on p. 12).  (A 16 page downloadable pdf.)   http://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/Media/Content/files/Publications/Youth/Ottawa%20Gang%20Strategy%20Report-%20first%203%20years_Octo%202016pdf.pdf

Victoria Times Colonist – Joanna Smith, Canadian Press
‘Room left to grow’: Canada’s first aboriginal justice minister one year in

Smith offers an assessment of the work of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould one year into her mandate.   “It would be a comprehensive and compelling mandate (even) if it had not been for the things that have been thrust, by reasons of the government’s policy and program,” said Irwin Cotler, a former Liberal Minister of Justice. Retired Judge Barry Stuart, a director of the Smart Justice Network of Canada said: “It’s taken a woman — and an aboriginal woman — to see that we need to make the justice system a working, problem-solving part of our society, not a problem-creating part of our society.”   http://www.timescolonist.com/room-left-to-grow-canada-s-first-aboriginal-justice-minister-one-year-in-1.2371807

The Royal Society for encouraging Arts, Manufactures, and Industry (RSA) (UK)
A Matter of Conviction: a blueprint for community-based prisons 

Seven years in the making and after a year-long Future Prisons Project, the report is focused on how 21st century prisons could better support rehabilitation.  The report is also concerned with the use of prison spaces.  The report is accompanied by conclusions and 10 recommendations at:   https://medium.com/rsa-reports/a-matter-of-conviction-a-blueprint-for-community-based-rehabilitative-prisons-e56676c96083#.ssiu6ovs0   The full report is available at:  https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/a-matter-of-conviction-a-blueprint-for-community-based-prisons  (A 146 page downloadable pdf)

N.Y. Times – Editorial (Oct. 24, 2016)
The Death Penalty, Nearing Its End

The Times lists the various signs that the practice of the death penalty has less and less acceptance and the end is in sight.  The latest Pew Research says that for the first time in American history less than half the American public support it.  At the same, in 2015, new death sentences are at the lowest since the US Supreme Court re-instated the penalty in 1976.  The Times offers a Harvard study in support of its assessment of why the decline and where the death penalty continues to be invoked.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/24/opinion/the-death-penalty-nearing-its-end.html?_r=0   (Cf Harvard University Fair Punishment Project:   http://fairpunishment.org/ ; this site also has a commentary on the practice of Life without Parole (LWOP) for juveniles)