A Better Man…

Nov. 26, 2017

Ottawa Citizen – Megan Gillis
After domestic violence, is A Better Man possible? Filmmaker returns to Ottawa to find out

A 79 minute documentary called A Better Man was screened in Ottawa last week as part of the Restorative Justice Week Symposium.  Gillis interviews documentary co-director Attiya Khan who recalls a horrifying experience: “It was on a hot summer night more than two decades ago that an 18-year-old Attiya Khan ran through the streets in fear for her life, pursued by Steve, the ex-boyfriend who’d abused her every day for two years…She escaped, a “traumatized but determined teenager beginning to realize that she deserved more out of life,” but the emotional scars lingered.  One advocate says:   “A much more restorative approach, and very grounded in lived experience.”  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/after-domestic-violence-is-a-better-man-possible-filmmaker-returns-to-ottawa-to-find-out  (TVO is broadcasting the film on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 11PM and repeats on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at 9PM. Cf  https://abettermanfilm.com/  for a trailer / discussion guide.)

Ottawa Crime Prevention –
Creating a Culture of Prevention: How Ottawa is addressing violence against women

The link offers a 10 page downloadable pdf outlining the Ottawa effort to confront violence against women over the past ten years, with three case studies of innovative programs that aimed at building a preventative culture among men and boys.  http://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/Media/Content/files/Publications/VAW/Creating%20a%20Culture%20of%20Prevention-VAW-Sept6.pdf   Related article: CBC (SK) – Jason Warick – ‘It’s a relief to tell these stories’: Grief, anger at MMIWG inquiry in Saskatoon   http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4412791

CBC News (BC) – Cory Correia
Law Society of B.C. looks at biases against Indigenous people in justice system – Symposium held to address challenges highlighted in Truth and Reconciliation Commission report

The symposium gathered legal professionals and Indigenous people to response to the allegations of systemic bias against Indigenous people in the legal system deriving from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The gathering acknowledged the  recommendation that the legal profession should receive cultural competency training.  “Beyond that, the law society says it recognizes a number of issues facing Indigenous people that require the engagement of lawyers, including access to legal aid, child welfare, the co-existence of Indigenous and Canadian laws, and the need for enhanced restorative justice programs.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/law-society-bc-holds-symposium-reconciliation-law-1.4416067   Related article: CBC News (BC) – Angela Sterritt   Indigenous kids largely apprehended because of poverty, says former child protection worker   http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4412441

Peace of the Circle – Evelyn Zellerer

For RJ Week, here is a refreshing description on a colourful series of web pages of the process of Restorative Justice as a distinct alternate to the tradition practice of justice through the system.  The site offers a 2 minute video of Dr. Zellerer on RJ.  “Peace of the Circle offers space for people to have productive conversations and to create change.”  http://peaceofthecircle.com/

Time Magazine (US) – Emily Barone
The Wrongly Convicted: Why more falsely accused people are being exonerated today than ever before

There has been a registry of wrongful convictions since 1989 and to date there are over 2,000 cases, now averaging about 3 per week.  Part of the reason is a growing number of jurisdictions and prosecutors’ offices that now require a second review of any case with questionable convictions.  The second-look procedures and special review units are tasked with looking into questionable convictions.  Non-violent crimes and drug offences are a majority of the cases getting reviewed, especially where drug field kits have revealed a high number of false positives.  http://time.com/wrongly-convicted/?xid=fbshare   Related article: In Justice Today (Fair Punishment Project – Harvard Law) – Jessica Brand   Faulty Forensics: Explained   https://injusticetoday.com/faulty-forensics-explained-cd102d3f0a2e

The Charlotte Observer (US) – Bruce Henderson and Ames Alexander
Mecklenburg jail visits are now solely by video. Critics say that hurts inmates, families.

The North Carolina jail only offers visits through video cameras and has ended all personal face-to-face visits with inmates.  Prison authorities think the change is more secure, easier to manage and avoids liability concerns from actual visits.  Advocates say that re-offending is lessened when family contact is maintained and that personal visits help rehab. http://amp.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article185816728.html

The Marshall Project (US) –
43 States Suspend Licenses for Unpaid Court Debt, but That Could Change

The movement towards reforming the justice system has a new target: additional penalties invoked automatically by law often without adjudication of any kind.  The greatest impact is on poor people for whom minor conviction quickly become an insurmountable financial burden.  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2017/11/21/43-states-suspend-licenses-for-unpaid-court-debt-but-that-could-change?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_source=opening-statement&utm_term=newsletter-20171122-897

CBC News (SK) – Dan Zakreski
Sask. coroner rules no inquest in 6 prison deaths, including that of alleged gang leader

This latest ruling is stirring dismay in other parts of the country where the death of inmates and the process of notifying family following the deaths is under scrutiny.  The inquest is required by law but the coroner has the authority to rule that all the evidence has come through the court and the police investigation and that it is unlikely that anything else is going to be revealed.  Defense lawyers disagree and are alarmed with the lack of inquest.  The coroner’s office said “the decision not to hold inquests came down to two broad areas: first, that “it would not in the best interest of the public to review the facts publicly given the significant security and intelligence issues involved” and that, after the police investigations, it decided “no outstanding issues existed.”  http://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4411723