MOMS know…

Nov 12, 2017

 The Use of Ion Mobility Spectrometer by Corrections Canada

Mothers Offering Mutual Support (MOMS) is a small Ottawa group – membership is about 60 – tackling the giant of the prison system.  The Ion scanner is used by CSC to vet visitors to the prisons for trace amounts of illegal drugs.  But the scanner is so proficient that it gives off lots of false positives.  Trace residue from drugs can be discovered on most paper money, credits cards, certain household cleaners and cosmetic products.  Those familiar with the Threat Risk Assessment process following a “hit” on the scanner say that the whole process induces a considerable stress factor to what is already stressful.  Even though contact with and support from family is one of the major elements in rehabilitation, the scanner has the impact of deterring family from visiting, often prompting quite extra-ordinary measures to avoid setting off the devices, washing coin, getting gas the day before, not touching door handles, all sites where trace residue of drugs may be found.  Family members can become considerably intimidated, sometimes enough to decide not to visit at all.  For all the insistence by CSC, the device is used only on visitors and CSC itself and the Correctional Investigator have conceded that the use of the device has not led to any reduction in the availability of drugs inside the prisons with rates of HIV and hepatitis C infections well above the general population rates.  The MOMS. Led by Anne Cattral of Ottawa, have brought their concerns to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security through an electronic petition.  The text of the petition can be found here: (The government response is also here; e-petitions with more than 500 signatures require a response within 45 days.  The Minister has committed to a full review of the ion scanner.)  MOMS Ottawa website:   CECP campaign info on the Scanner:

The Marshall Project (US) – Dwayne Hurd
The Singular Sorrow of Grieving Behind Bars

This article introduces a human factor not often thought about when looking at punishment for crime.  The article traces the 28 year imprisonment of a now 50 year old Black man who records his experience of grief for the deaths of loved ones on the outside while he is in prison.

L.A. Times – Patrick McGreevy
California will soon end lifetime registration of some sex offenders under bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown

With a sex offender’s list in excess of 100,000 California law makers and enforcement officials are welcoming Bill SB 384 which revises the state registry to include only high risk individuals and ends the registry for low level offenders.  The burden on law enforcement is illustrated with the high number and the requirement that the registry be reviewed every year, burying officers in paperwork.  California, together with Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina are the only states with life time registration of sex offenders.

HuffingtonPost Canada – Canadian Press
Liberals Propose Legal Marijuana Tax of $1 per Gram, Plus GST

The cynic will surely say that we have arrived at the real objective for legalizing medical and recreational marijuana.  Canadian youth are at the top of the list for the use of marijuana so the July 1 initiation will surely also usher in a win fall for the government, even if the feds split the tax with the provinces.  “The taxes would be levied on both on fresh and dried marijuana, pot-infused oils and seeds and seedlings used for home cultivation.”  Municipalities will have to be happy with funding from the feds to cover their additional costs but no mention of how the allotted $81 million will be distributed.

CBC News – Nicole Mortillaro
More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issue ‘warning to humanity’

Scientist first utter dire warnings in 1992 and have now re-iterated what they think are deteriorating environmental conditions.  Some 15,000 international scientists have signed a declaration that on seven of eight criteria we are experiencing continued failure to take corrective measures.  The only criterion where we have enjoyed some success is in the response to the hole in the ozone layer.  “But what sometimes people miss … they miss what’s happening in the middle,” says co-author Eileen Crist, a professor at Virginia Tech’s Department of Science and Technology in Society.  “Which from an ecological perspective of the planet is the most significant event: the rapid rise of the global middle class, which is now more than three billion people in the world and it’s expected, by 2050 or so, to rise to five billion people.  And it’s the middle class where people begin to increase their carbon footprint: they buy appliances and cars, eat more meat and travel.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Sarah Kaplan   ‘Soon it will be too late’: Scientists issue dire ‘second notice’ to humanity   

Globe and Mail – Mike Hager
Impaired driving changes could unfairly punish medical cannabis users, lawyers say

Besides the fuss and bother over taxes and how to split them, governments may soon have to face another issue in the rush to duplicate drunk driving practices: if marijuana impacts each person differently and there is no agreed level of intoxication.  As currently designed there is a two tier level, one at 2 nanograms and one at 5 with different levels of seriousness and penalty.  50 defense lawyers have signed a letter drawing attention to what they see as a failure to differentiate between marijuana and alcohol driving offences.