Strip search…

July 11, 2017

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Judge blasts OPP officers for ‘egregious’ strip search of impaired driving suspect

Ontario court Justice Elaine Deluzio was indignant, not with the defendant of a drunk driving case, but with the attitude discovered among the Quinte West OPP that suggests that the OPP are regularly ignoring very clear rules around strip searches and in particular the forced removal of bras among women arrested.  The SCC has declared automatic and indiscriminate strip searching “inherently humiliating and degrading,” and laid out very clear and specific rules about the practice, apparently still somewhat elusive.  Judge Deluzio stayed the charges.

The Ninth Annual Symposium on Reinventing Criminal Justice
Re-inventing Criminal Justice: The Ninth Annual National Symposium – Final Report

The symposium, with Chair The Honourable Raymond Wyant, Manitoba Provincial Court and Symposium Facilitator Mr. George M. Thomson, Senior Director, International Programs, National Judicial Institute, took place in January 2017 in Vancouver and offers a final report on the deliberations with recommendations.  This year the theme examined the current state of Canada’s sentencing legislation and practices, and addressed the fundamental question of how to re-think sentencing. The report is a 28 pages pdf.

Ottawa Sun – Irene Mathias
Progress, but dark clouds still loom over OCDC

Think exploration of jail conditions and you have the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre with its long history of defying all efforts to correct the problems.  Irene Mathias, a spokesperson for MOMS Ottawa and a member of the OCDC task force addressing the problems, is able in this op-ed to offer some hope for eventual resolution but also identifies some of the dark clouds still looming.

Ottawa Citizen – Justin Piché
Why a new Ottawa jail won’t necessarily make things better

Here is a challenging proposition.  As described in the Mathias article above, the OCDC has long been a facility hardly fit for humans.  The question of replacing the unit is not entirely a solution according to Piché, an associate professor of criminology at University of Ottawa and director of the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project and the No On Prison Expansion / #NOPE Initiative.  He says that building new jails and prisons creates the willingness to ignore the alternatives to prison already under used.  The article also links to commentary on the topic by newly appointed Senator Kim Pate, formerly of the Elizabeth Fry Society.  Together these two offer an often ignored wisdom around humanizing criminal justice.   Related article: Ottawa Sun – Larry Seguin   From shower cell inmate to believer  Related article: Blogger Justin Piché (TPCP)  Article with links to additional material

Restorative Justice Week

National Restorative Justice Symposium Nov. 19-21, 2017 at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa (Algonquin Territory)   Sponsored by Community Justice Project and the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, the symposium is calling for presentations.   (   Suggested areas of presentations:  Restorative practices in Canada and abroad;  Restorative justice in the criminal justice system, in schools, in the community; Restorative justice approaches and its uses in different cultural contexts;  Restorative justice in everyday life; How to support restorative justice practitioners; Lessons learned and best practices  By July 31 please.

Toronto Star – Jim Rankin and Sandra Contenta
Toronto marijuana arrests reveal ‘startling’ racial divide

While the stats show little difference between Whites and Blacks in use of marijuana, there is real difference in the arrests for marijuana possession offences.  Blacks are three times more likely to be arrested and also more likely to be denied bail.  The report raises some serious questions about police practices and re-enforces questions about continuing arrests in the light of the anticipated legalization.

Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway
 MMIW commissioner Marilyn Poitras resigns in another blow to inquiry

Marilyn Poitras, a Métis professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan, and one of five commissioners for the MMIW, has tendered her resignation saying that she is unable to exercise her responsibility under the current organizational approach.  Poitras’ resignation follows last week’s resignation of the Executive Director.  Some are calling for the resignation of Chief commissioner Marilyn Buller as well. Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris   Marilyn Poitras resigns as MMIWG commissioner