Prisons gone wrong…

Dec 19, 2016

iPolitics – Michael Harris
Prison reform gone wrong – Canada’s corrections system is now the real crime

Harris looks at the impact of the tough-on-crime era on the present operations of the federal and provincial prisons and especially the role of the treatment of inmates who are mentally ill.  Harris notes the recent resignation of the Ontario Correctional Services Minister David Orazietti and recent appointment of the former Correctional Investigator Howard Sapers to review the Ontario correctional system.  Harris is proposing a series of articles in an effort to highlight the problems stemming from various practices.   Related article: CBC News –  David Orazietti resigns as Sault MPP, Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Dec 19, 2016)  Keeping the mentally ill out of solitary, and out of prison

Reclaim Justice Network (UK) – David Scott
The pains of imprisonment

Scott is raising concerns about the number of inmate deaths in the UK prison system.  His suggestion is that the prison harms and damages that are built into prison systems contribute to the deaths. “Deaths in prison should not be considered as aberrations or malfunctions of the system but rather located in the daily processes of imprisonment itself.”   Related article: Times (UK) – Richard Ford    Prisons on alert over threat of more riots   Related article: NBC News – Erik Ortiz   Justice Department Wants to Track All ‘Arrest-Related’ Deaths in U.S.    Related article:  World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) Justice Department report estimates nearly 2,000 “arrest-related deaths” annually in US   US Department of Justice    Arrest-Related Deaths Program Redesign Study, 2015–16: Preliminary Findings

Globe and Mail – Co0lin Freeze
As police gain awareness of PTSD, Mounties see diagnoses doubling

PTSD has been in the news largely from soldiers returning home from combat assignments.  The growing knowledge of PTSD then led to discovering significant incidents among first responders.  This report is suggesting that as we become more aware of what PTSD is and how it impacts our lives, the number diagnosed will increase significantly as well.  Researchers have discovered that about 8% of serving RCMP officers are being treated for what they call “operational stress injuries” to avoid the stigma of PTSD.  It seems as well that the RCMP is the only force with any credible statistical data around what experts estimate as somewhere between 10-35% of other first responders fire fighters, ambulance and paramedics personnel.  Equally alarming, there is a suggestion that the trauma can be passed from parent to child.

Globe and Mail – Gary Mason
The many potholes in marijuana legalization

Mason draws attention to the unresolved issues around the legalization of marijuana, beginning with the flawed initial legislation from Washington state and then moving into whether governments see the legitimate sale as a cash cow and hat the pricing will do to the market for the drug.  Can one expect the big players to squeeze out the others?  “Pot,” he says, “is a multibillion-dollar enterprise. And until now, it was mostly bad guys who were reaping its rewards. Pushing them out of the market will have its own consequences; they will find other things to traffic, stuff that is more dangerous and even more lucrative, such as fentanyl or heroin. While solving one problem we may have just created another, more deadly one.”     CBC News –  Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot,’ Marc Emery, released after arrest in Montreal marijuana shop raids  -Cannabis activist and his wife, Jodie Emery, were arrested after opening shops in defiance of pot laws   Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Heather Scofield   Opioids, pot and economics – three ways politics touched Canadians this week