Trauma training…

Oct. 28, 2017

Policy Options – Elizabeth Sheehy and Simon Lapierre
The Jordan decision’s impact on cases of violence against women

The Jordan decision was a clarification by the Supreme Court of Canada about what constitutes unreasonable delay in courts.  The ruling says that beyond 18 months for provincial jurisdictions and beyond 30 months for federal two stage trials, barring demonstrably complex or unusual circumstances, is the upper limit and violations would lead to dismissal of charges.   The article confronts the impact of the delay ruling on the prosecution of domestic violence and sexual assault cases and a process known as trauma-informed training which seeks to normalize and explain a woman’s behaviour during and after a sexual assault, and to understand the likely compromised ability to recall the experience and its impact.

Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK) – Helen Mills
The undercover policing of political protest

In the UK, a disturbing practice has come to light for examination in the secret undercover policing of political protest and trades and labour movements: police actually assumed an identity and joined these organizations with an appropriate back-cover, all the while report to their superior officers in the police.  Once revealed, government inquiry followed around those impacted by the practice. About 180 have been granted participants rights in the inquiry and the list is still growing. (A 14 page downloadable pdf)

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Interesting things about drugs – October 2017

UK reports on drug usage have been accumulating for some time and now Andrew Brown has put these various reports together to see what new information leaks out.  The report is in the form of 18 slides, each one offering a particular and specific piece of information about the use of opioids, naloxone (the antidote for opioid overdose), women users, etc.    Slide show:  (Slides at the link can be enhanced by clicking on the arrow in the lower right.)  Related article: Toronto Star – Canadian Press   Aly Thomson   Halifax councillor says he’ll stop using the word ‘marijuana’ because it’s racist toward Mexicans

Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles and Alex Ballingall
Three Canadians tortured in Syria receive $31-million settlement from Ottawa

The announcement from the federal government put an end to a nine year lawsuit from three Canadians denounced to US and Syrian authorities as terrorists.  The fine for want of a better term was $31.25 million for the government.  The three – Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin – were jailed and tortured shortly after the 9/11 and a Canadian judge declared some liability for failure in reliability on the Canadian government for their ordeal.

Toronto Star –
A billion dollar budget approved for police services in Toronto

The budget first reached the billion dollar mark in 2016 and some think that the 2018 budget represents some effort for budgetary restraint.  The increases have been general twice the inflation rate, though there is a hiring moratorium for both officers and civilian personnel.  This budget has 88% of the total dedicated to salary and benefits.

The New Yorker (US) – A Marshall Project
We Are Witnesses: A portrait of crime and punishment in America today.

This report is unusual in that the experts are not academics, lawyers and justice officials but people who deal daily with the system:  two police officers, a prison guard, two judges, two parents of a murder victim, four ex-prisoners.  The report is presented in a series of 18 short (3-4 minutes) videos and makes for a fascinating display of the realities of the system.  The interviews were conducted in 2016.  These powerful videos leave us with a felt need in the face of the system to discover “the better angels of our nature.” One voice missing from the videos is that of the prosecutor whose influence over the course of justice is admittedly considerable and also in question these days.


Michael Enright on the Sunday Edition interviews Lisa Kerr, assistant professor of criminal law at Queen’s University on the topic of sentencing.  Cf local times for the radio broadcast.