Oct 1, 2017

Toronto Star – Peter Goffin
People with mental illness too often landing in prison instead of hospitals, experts say

This link offers the success side of a finding of “Not Criminally Responsible” or NCR.  Brian Rose killed his grandmother in 2010 and now is a stable and autonomous persons with a job and a normal life.  After two years treatment for paranoid schizophrenia, Rose is an example of why the legal finding of NCR is not a ‘get-out-of-jail card but a genuine solution to crime.   Related article: Oxford Law (UK) – Shona Minson   We’re discussing Lavinia Woodward’s sentence for the wrong reasons  Related article: Globe and Mail – Kathryn Blaze Baum    Supreme Court of Canada asked to let acquittal stand in Cindy Gladue case

 New Orleans (US) – Ramon Antonio Vargas
Jefferson Parish jail touts new video visitation program, but ban on in-person visits concerns inmate advocates

Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna is following the lead of other Louisiana centres in replacing personal visits to inmates with electronic or visual visits.  The new sheriff thinks the results will be less smuggled contraband in the jail but advocates note that the video visit will cost the family of the inmate $15 / 20 minutes (Securus owned and operated) and that a video contact only will make re-entry into family life at expiry more difficult.  Skeptics will say that security measures are such for live visits that it is far more likely that guards are responsible for contraband.

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Prisons more dangerous for inmates as use of solitary confinement drops: Ombudsman

Federal correctional Ombudsman Ivan Zinger says that over the last three years as solitary confinement (or administrative segregation) has declined the violence against inmates – not guards – has increased.  Calling the increase “unintended consequence to doing the right thing,” Zinger looked at stats over the last three years and “found the number of inmate-on-inmate assaults has jumped from 571 in 2014-15 – the year Service’s Segregation Renewal Strategy came into effect – to 719 in the most recent fiscal year.”  But Zinger thinks we can have both fewer uses of solitary and fewer inmate-on-inmate assaults.  Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris  As solitary confinement drops, violent attacks rise in Canadian prisons

The (US) – Linda Wheeler
Dems introduce bill to incentivize states to reduce prison populations

Democratic representatives in the US Congress have an unusual proposal in the face of both mass incarceration and prison reform:  they want to incentivize on the basis of the ability of the justice system to reduce the number in prison.  The reversal of the present practice of incentivizing enforcement, convictions, tough sentencing and secure confinement, the measure would create a $20 billion pot and qualifying states would have to reduce the imprisoned population by 7% for each of three years running.  The measure would also reduce the impact of federal mandatory sentencing and end prison for certain drug offences.

Nature Human Behaviour (US) – Christopher M. Sullivan and Zachery P. O’Keeffe
Evidence that curtailing proactive policing can reduce major crime

This abstract of a new study questions the conventional wisdom that says that aggressive enforcement in small things prevents major crime, the so called ‘broken window policing.’  The study took advantage of a NY police union inspired slow-down for some of its data and critiques the claims in favour of aggressivity as a legitimate crime prevention method.   Though an abstract, the information, data and analysis is extensive.

Ottawa Citizen – David Reevely
Close the pop-up injection tent and you’ll have blood on your hands, advocates warn

A group of Ottawa volunteers, calling themselves Ottawa Overdose Prevention, who run a “pop-up tent” site in a city park for the prevention of opioid overdoses are protesting to city hall’s efforts to close them down.  Their anger is focused on Counsellor Mathieu Fleury who wishes the tent to come down permanently.