National strategy…

June 6, 2017

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Amid pressure, officials draft national solitary confinement strategy

British Columbia’s prisons director, Stephanie Macpherson, has announced without further comment that the federal government and the correctional services of the provinces are involved in an effort to re-draft guidelines for the use of solitary confinement in Canada.  The revelation came at a corrections conference of prison officers and advocates around mental health issues in prison.  CSC national office confirmed the effort.  Related article:  CBC News – Alison Crawford   Atlantic Canada has highest rate of solitary confinement for federal inmates – Critics also concerned about high rate of segregation in Prairies, where half of inmates are Indigenous

National Institute of Justice (US) – Thomas Feucht and Tammy Holt
Does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Work in Criminal Justice?  A New Analysis from CrimeSolutions.Gov

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT has long been a mainstay of criminal justice – from the latter half of the 20th century – but effectiveness questions have also lingered.  This new assessment focused on some 50 individual programs and 8 “practices” involving a variety of crimes and both adult and juveniles, males and females.  The impact was judged effective, promising or no effect.  The results may surprise you.

Smart Justice Network Canada – Megan Stevens
Lessons from the front lines in Canada’s restorative justice experiment: The experience of sentencing judges

The special communiqué yesterday on bail makes this article from the Smart Justice website germane to discussions around the justice system.  Originally published in the Queen’s Law Journal (2012), the article is a compendium of commentary by judges themselves around the effectiveness of the undiluted system left to itself, especially the current practices in sentencing.  The article is couched in the potential of restorative justice to better answer the present predicament.  Original Report (a 61 page theses):

Better Angels of Our Nature: Why violence has declined – Steven Pinter

Pinter is a Harvard psychologist who offers a view of violence that is at odds with the opinions that most of us who follow contemporary media share and the view largely proposed by media itself.  The book, published in 2011, endorsed by Bill Gates as the best one he has read, is a long read over 600 pages, well documented and a best seller.  There is a 1hour 14minute video also that articulates his theses as well.   (Book is from Penguin Books and available through Amazon.)  The link is to the video.

Women in Canada: Women and the Criminal Justice System

Given the stumble start of the MMIW inquiry, this article and link may be helpful.  It provides a gender biased report on violence directed at women in Canada.  What is interesting is the suggestion that the decline in crime accused rate for males is twice the decline for women.  Aboriginal women have the higher rates as both victims and offenders.

Roar Magazine (Can) – Azeezah Kanji and S. K. Hussan
The Problem with Liberal Opposition to Islamophobia

This article is an illuminating look at perceptions and logic around the question of how to fight Islamophobia.  The view is a critique of what many would think as an appropriate, effective stance and strategy but what the authors would suggest is often misguided.  The authors present eight current responses, critiques for all eight, and offer suggestions about how to move on.

CBC News – Janice Johnston
Alberta’s chief judge will examine case of jailed sexual assault victim – ‘I will be conducting a detailed examination of all of the circumstances of this case’

This developing story will be enough to test your hair for curling capacity!  In a frightful instance of inadequate response and callous reaction, an Indigenous woman who was the victim of a sexual assault and stabbing,  and a witness in her case against a notorious and well known sexual offender, was jailed for five days and later forced to ride shackled in a paddy wagon with her assaulter to the court.