More fixing needed…

May 5, 2017 

Ottawa Citizen – Anthony Doob
Fixing the courts isn’t up to the federal government

Here’s a rather startling view of the all the recent fuss around the wide-ranging opinions on how to fix the court delays in response to the Jordan decision of the SSC.  Doob, a serious scholar and noted criminologist at the U of T, traces the court performances over the last five years and suggests that some sort of new federal legislation is not going to solve the delays and their causes that his examination has revealed.

Toronto Star – Faisal Kutty
French prosecution of Canadian Hassan Diab a travesty

Diab is a Canadian citizen extradited from Canada after a long legal fight to face charges of terrorism.  All the way along the processed the quality of the evidence against him was in question and even in France now there have been no fewer than six recommendations for his release by French investigative judges.  The article, besides describing the bedeviled circumstance for this University of Ottawa professor, offers an insight into how French law works and why the injustice continues.

N.Y. Times – Caitlin Dickerson and Miriam Jordan
‘No Asylum Here’: Some Say U.S. Border Agents Rejected Them

Many refugee advocates and critics have long thought that there were a number of refugee applicants presenting themselves at southern land borders who were summarily dismissed by border guards without hearings.  Now a group called Human Rights First has issued a report outlining the parameters of the problem when individual border guards make these unchecked decisions, the consequences of which may be horrendous for the refugee claimants.   Report: Human Rights First:  Crossing the Line: U.S. Border Agents Illegally Reject Asylum Seekers   (A 32 page downloadable pdf)   Related article:  Human Rights Commission of Ontario:  Under suspicion: Research and consultation report on racial profiling in Ontario  (A 165 page downloadable pdf)   ( Ed note: the report is presented in outline form on the web page: )   Related article:  42nd Parliament (May 2017) Standing Committee
on Public Safety and National Security:  Protecting Canadians and their Rights:  A New Road map for Canada’s National Security

Vera Institute of Justice (US) – The Sentencing Project, Marc Mauer
STILL LIFE: America’s Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences

The question of mass incarceration is heavily enmeshed in the sentence known as life without parole or LWOP.  One in seven in prison are under the LWOP or a virtual life sentence at 50 years.  Currently, there are a record 206,268 people under this sentence, a factor of four times growth since 1984, almost 50% Black for an otherwise 1/5 Black inmate, including an embarrassingly frightful number of adolescents – 11,745 or 5.7%.  The report is powerful in its clarity and extensive in its scope, reaching into state by state breakdowns – a primer for anyone interested in either mass incarceration of LWOP.  (A 37 page downloadable report).

iPolitics – Ilona Dougherty
Charities, start your lobbying engines now

The last federal budget, says Imagine Canada, was a missed opportunity for charities to see some relief.  104 charities and 82 non-profits made submissions to the budget committee but none saw “any indication in the budget that a renewed relationship with charities and non-profits is on its radar.”  Dougherty, who thinks with Micah White, one of the founders of the Occupy Movement, that getting large numbers of people in the streets is not enough to sway politicians, is calling the charities to seek support for their causes with political engagement at all levels, including leadership races.

Ottawa Citizen – Criminalization and Punishment Education Project – Justin Piché, U of Ottawa, and Aaron Doyle, Carleton U,
The solution to jail violence isn’t to build more or bigger jails

After a spate of controversies and apparently un-resolvable problems over a long time, the head of the guards is suggesting that the jail is too small and needs to be built larger.  Piché and Doyle are arguing that investment in building prisons is entirely the wrong way to go, witness the current long term and defiant problems.  “Without carceral divestment and justice reinvestment, those with an interest in seeing the Innes Road jail expand its role in our community will continue to offer up more of the problem (i.e. OCDC) as its remedy, a “solution” that allows the horrors of incarceration to continue in all our names.”   Related article:  Ottawa Citizen: Justin Piché – Here’s how to really address problems at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

 How silly can we be?
N.Y. Times – Christopher Mele
A Code Pink Protester Laughs over a Trump Nominee and Is Convicted