Transforming CJS

Dec 12, 2017

 Transforming the Criminal Justice System

The Government of Canada is undertaking a broad review of Canada’s Criminal Justice System to ensure that it is just, compassionate and fair, and promotes a safe, peaceful and prosperous Canadian society.

Please find more information here:   (Feel free to share amongst your networks.)

Toronto Star – Tess Kalinowski
Jailhouse charm at a bargain basement price

Owen Sound’s historic courthouse and jail has been up for sale since 2014 but no buyers so far, even at a fire-sale price of $99,000.  This may be an opportune moment to reflect on the long term value of building new jails.  The real estate value may betray the reality of the social value of new jail construction.

 CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Liberals reach deal with the provinces on sharing pot tax revenue, with price pegged at about $10 a gram – Agreement gives provinces 75% of tax revenues from legal cannabis sales, caps federal share at $100M

Provincial finance ministers meeting with Bill Morneau in Ottawa have agreed on a revised tax plan for the revenue from the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, initially expected to be about $400 million.  The tension had been building up because the provinces anticipate the larger portion of expenses; the link includes a province by province plan.  The resolution still leaves out the cities and the First Nations.   Related article: Globe and Mail – John Ibbitson   Legal marijuana deadline may be up in smoke as Tory senators stall bills   Related article: Toronto Star – Thomas Walkom  Pot’s dirty secret: It’s a money-maker for governments- Legalizing marijuana is not about protecting kids, writes Thomas Walkom. It is about the money

Crime Prevention Ottawa – Kelly Weegar
Family Violence: Beyond the usual suspects

Usually domestic violence is taken to mean violence between an intimate spousal couple.  This report suggests that there are some others involved in family violence.  In one out of five cases, the homicide is coming from other than the spouse, another family member.  The report is suggesting that we need a better understanding of violence in the relationships among the larger family.   (A 18 page downloadable pdf.)

iPolitics – Tim Naumetz
Border screening bill escapes sweeping amendments in Senate

A contentious border crossing allowance that would allow US border guards “to frisk, screen and question travellers before they leave Canadian territory” has passed the Senate without a whimper of deference to the Canadian charter, 59-16.  The preponderance of the vote left Serge Joyal, who anticipated ample room for amendments, with a stunned reproach.  Once C-45 – the marijuana bill – becomes law, the Trump administration can easily be seen to make border crossing more rigorous.  The actions of these US agents with Canadian citizens – still in Canada would not be subject to Canada’s federal court.

The Sentencing Project (US) – Marc Mauer

The group announces the publication of Opioids: Treating an Illness, Ending a War by Nazgol Ghandnoosh and Casey Anderson.  The project wants to draw attention to the dimensions of the opioid crisis in the US and the failure of the war on drugs to adequately confront the problem.  The report advocates ending the war on drugs, ending over-prescription of opioids, expanding treatment programs for addicts both in the jails and in civil society, and expanding harm reduction strategies.   (A 35 page downloadable pdf)

CBC News –
Quebec Bar releases recommendations on how courts deal with sexual assault – Defence lawyers should receive training on best practices for cross-examination of vulnerable people, bar says

Starting from the Jian Ghomeshi trial last year and further influenced by the Globe and Mail series on unfounded cases in police files, the Quebec bar is offering a series of six recommendations to help with cases and victims of sexual assault and harassment.  The bar supports a recommendation already undertaken in Ontario around reviewing unfounded cases abandoned by police.