Black voices…

July 24, 2017

Toronto Star – Royson James
Get ready — Toronto’s next wave of Black voices will be more urgent, strident and radical

Following the publication of the Black Experience Project, chronicling Black life in the GTA, James offers the specific experience of Black people in the context of police and criminal justice.  What is striking, he says, is that the problems are the same as when he started in political reporting 30years ago; we have the capacity to be upset for the moment and then to revert to the status quo of discrimination and exclusion.  The new generation will feel more victimized and will react more strongly at the lack of progress in Black lives.   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (July 19, 2017)   Police must follow the law: Editorial   Related article: Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham   Charges stayed against Toronto man after ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment by officer

Restorative Justice Week

(Ed note: Last mention of this conference, we mis-identified the Collabourative Justice Program (CJP), the sponsor with Church Council.  Apologies to the good people at CJP in Ottawa.  We repeat the text calling for presentations with the correction.)

National Restorative Justice Symposium Nov. 19-21, 2017 at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa (Algonquin Territory)   Sponsored by Collabourative  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, 2017 please.

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
In historic 1st, transgender inmate wins transfer to women’s prison – Fallon Aubee says she has endured taunts, threats and physical abuse in penitentiary for men


Aubee sees an end to the tension of living as a woman in an all-male institution but knows that there are different problems ahead given her transfer to Fraser Valley Women’s Institution.  Aubee is at the pre-op stage in her treatment and expects the struggle to change now to a man among women until she is able to gain acceptance.  Correctional Services Canada says it will consider future requests on a case-by-case basis, and has started “a broader review of all its transgender policies to ensure they comply with new laws to protect the human rights of transgender Canadians.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Ainsley Cruickshank   Waiting game ‘agonizing, frustrating’ for refugee claimants wanting to live in Canada

Toronto Star – Deepa Mattoo and Pam Hrick
Dangerous rape myths persist in our courts

The background of the authors of this piece, Deepa Mattoo, the legal director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and Pam Hrick is a lawyer at Stockwoods LLP who acted as co-counsel for the Schlifer Clinic in its intervention in the Ururyar appeal and the case itself have brought new scrutiny on issues around the legal system, the courts and rape trials.  The authors try to defy the parameters and the special factors brought to these cases as well as some criterion for better outcomes.  Related article: Globe and Mail – A team of seven reporters    Unfounded   (The link is to a series of articles /reports around the common experiences and practices around the legal system and sexual assaults and rape.)

CBC News – Canadian Press
Pot charges drop in 2016, Statistics Canada reports – Police lay fewer criminal charges for possession as Liberal government moves to legalize drug

Canadians have had the thought of the impact of legalizing marijuana for some time.  This CP report looks at the statistics from Stats Canada for the 2015-16 charges and arrests for possession as well as the concerns around impaired driving from marijuana use.  The stats suggest a diminishing number of charges – some would say only a marginal decrease – but the stats also raise questions about arbitrariness in the process.

Channel 5 (Sparta, Tennessee), Chris Conte
White County Inmates Given Reduced Jail Time If They Get Vasectomy

 A Judge in Tennessee, General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield, is raising controversy about an offer to reduce a sentence of someone already convicted in exchange for voluntarily submitting to a vasectomy or a birth control implant.  The idea, says the judge, began after conversation with the state Health Department and aims at reducing the potential for neglected children who later populate the justice system.  Significant numbers of men (38) and women (32) are so far accepting the challenge in exchange for 30 days less but the ACLU says the offer is unconstitutional and will challenge.

Adverse Childhood Experiences – Jane Ellen Stevens

Addiction doc says: It’s not the drugs. It’s the ACEs – adverse childhood experiences.

Here’s a different voice in the noise around drug addictions and the opiate crisis.  Drug addiction should be called “ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking”.  The doctor has some credentials for suggesting the change.  Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, oversees one of the few Addiction Centre of Excellence as designated by the Addiction Medicine Foundation.  Of the 1200 addicted patients he has seen, 1100 have high ratings on the Adverse Childhood Experiences scale.