Promises of repair…

Oct 28, 2016

Canadian Mental Health Association (Ontario)
MCSCS announces overhaul of segregation practices

Following the review of the practices around segregation in provincial jails in 2015, the Ministry of Correctional Services has announced a plan to reduce the maximum consecutive days from 30 to 15.  The plan includes establishing a weekly review committee to examine the status of all persons in segregation.  The plan also insists that segregation be a last resort and under the least restrictive conditions, given safety.  Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has also asked that statistical data be better recorded.

Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc, Adrian Morrow, Sean Fine and Patrick White
Public safety minister works to reform solitary confinement use in prisons

The feds are following the lead of the Ontario provincial government in seeking to reform the use of solitary confinement in the federal prisons. In Ontario, Adam Capay was held without conviction for over four years in solitary.  The issues has been equally heated at the federal prison system with long term resistance from Corrections Canada, even after the Ashley Smith fiasco and the repeated and damaging reports from federal Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers.  Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has no specific reforms at this point but says the anticipated measures would “include prison renovations, programming improvements and, potentially, a 15-day limit on segregation placements.”    Related article: Globe and Mail – Eric Andrew-Gee and Kathryn Blaze Baum   Adam Capay tread a lonely path to solitary confinement

Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour
Revealed in photos: Take a tour inside Ottawa’s notorious jail

The Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre has been featured frequently for the over-crowded conditions, staff shortages, and inmate abuses, including mistreatment of pregnant inmates.  Here’s a grand tour to illustrate some of the suggested solutions that have been implemented.  (A one minute 37 sec video accompanies a still-photo essay and column.)   Related article: Ottawa Sun – Andrew Seymour   New student program could help ease the crushing bail burden on Ottawa’s jail

CBC Radio – Piya Chattopadhyay
What it’s like to be a woman in the police force

The settlement with women members of the RCMP has prompted a look at how the role of the woman officer is played out.  Only 20% of officers are women and only 3% make it to be senior officers in leadership.  The link is a 7 min interview with one of Canada’s five women police chiefs – Fredericton Chief of Police Leanne Fitch discusses changes and recruiting practices to attract more women and a greater diversity of candidates.

Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime
Owen’s Story: How one young man turned shock and fear into forgiveness

 Owen was a three year old when found peacefully sleeping on a visit of his grandparents shortly after his mother was brutally murdered by her boyfriend in front of him.   After a hard life with much influence from the trauma, Owen at age 19 ask and sought a face-to-face Victim-Offender mediation and went to visit the murderer in prison.  These four hours have brought some peace for Owen.

National Justice Network
Feds Announce Legislation to Give Judges Discretion to Waive  Victim Fines for Poor Criminals

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has reversed the Conservative requirement on mandatory victim surcharge fines once convicted and now allows judges the discretion to assess the financial situation and to waive the fine if the imposition creates a further hardship.  The Conservative decision, in 2013, created a number of challenges to the Supreme Court and some defiance from the bench as well.

American Civil Liberties Union (US)
Campaign for Smart Justice

The ACLU has initiated a new campaign based on the notion there has to be a better way called Smart Justice.  The link has commentary on a variety of problems around the mass incarceration growth in prison population:  the War on Drugs, Make the punishment fit the crime, Incentivize smart practices, Eliminate unnecessary incarceration.

Friends of Dismas – Harry Nigh
What’s Love got to do with it?  Finding Home after Prison: A Conversation

Harry is a former prison chaplain and well known for his leadership in the Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA).

Toronto at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church
Saturday, November 5th at 9AM – 1 PM

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