A beginning?

Feb 16, 2018

CBC News – John Paul Tasker
Trudeau promises new legal framework for Indigenous people – ‘We need to get to a place where Indigenous peoples in Canada are in control of their own destiny,’ PM says

Though short on detail, Trudeau is promising a new legal framework for Indigenous people, “promising a fundamental rethink of how the federal government recognizes Indigenous rights and title, vowing to work with Indigenous partners to develop a new legal framework to foster self-governance.”  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-speech-indigenous-rights-1.4534679   Related article: iPolitics – Susan Delacourt  Why not just let jurors talk?  https://ipolitics.ca/2018/02/13/not-let-jurors-talk/   Related article: Calgary Herald – Heather Persson   Response to not guilty verdict forces Saskatchewan to confront callous ugliness  http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/persson-response-to-not-guilty-verdict-forces-saskatchewan-to-confront-callous-ugliness   Related article: Toronto Metro – Vicky Mochama   Saskatchewan stumbled with show of force after Colten Boushie’s death   http://www.metronews.ca/views/metro-views/2018/02/12/vicky-mochama-saskatchewan-stumbled-with-show-of-force-after-colten-boushie-s-death.html   Related article: Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles  Liberals to propose jury selection changes after meeting with Colten Boushie’s family   https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2018/02/13/liberals-to-propose-jury-selection-changes-after-meeting-with-colten-boushies-family.html   Related article: CBC News – Colten Boushie’s family appeals RCMP’s internal investigation – RCMP cleared officers in 4 of 5 complaints raised in wake of deadly shooting  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/colten-boushie-rcmp-investigation-appeal-1.4535878   Related article: Montreal Gazette – Tamara Ainscow What does it take to break stereotypes about First Nations?   http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-what-does-it-take-to-break-stereotypes-about-first-nations

NBC News (US) – Jon Schuppe
Criminal justice reformers aim big by targeting local DA races

The US is beginning to recognize that an effective way to confront a hardening federal law and order stance is to begin acting and advocating on the local level and directing funds to the local effort rather than trying to change the feds.  Says David Alan Sklansky of Stanford Law School: “In a growing number of races, people have defeated incumbents by running on platforms that are very policy heavy. They’re not calling for more punishment, but more sensible policies,” from police oversight to criminal sentencing.””  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/criminal-justice-reformers-aim-big-targeting-local-da-races-n847436

 Canadian Human Rights Commission
Joint News Release – Meeting the special needs of aging and elderly federal offenders

Jointly with the Correctional Investigator, Human rights is trying to assess what the justice system can do about a growing population of inmates who are both aging and getting less healthy, requiring more medically attention and care.  The elderly population is now placed at 25% of the total population.  The joint focus will lead to interviews and in all five federal districts of CSC and eventually offer a report on how to ensure the human rights of elderly inmates. http://www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca/eng/content/joint-news-release-meeting-special-needs-aging-and-elderly-federal-offenders   Reason (US) – Mike Riggs   81 Federal Prisoners Have Died While Waiting for the Government to Decide If They Were Sick Enough to Go HomeThe Justice Department has finally shared data from the “compassionate release” program, and the numbers aren’t pretty.  https://reason.com/blog/2018/02/13/81-federal-prisoners-have-died-while-wai/amp?__twitter_impression=true   Related article: Houston Chronicle – Gabriella Banks    Appeals court approves most of federal ruling that Harris County’s bail practices unconstitutional  https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/amp/Appeals-court-affirms-federal-ruling-on-Harris-12614456.php?__twitter_impression=true

The Record (K-W, ON) – Editorial (Feb 14, 2018)
The Record’s view: More help for female prisoners

K-W has the Grand Valley Institute for Women, the largest federal prison for women in Canada, housing some 180 inmates.  It now costs $213,000 per year to imprison a woman.  The most forceful question asks if there is a better way to spend that money, and the second is what do these women need when released. Chris Cowie, the executive director of Community Justice Initiatives, “accurately points out that the vast majority of women who enter federal prisons were wrestling with other, serious personal problems before they ran afoul of the law…Roughly 80 per cent of these women haven’t graduated from high school and were unemployed when arrested. Meanwhile, 86 per cent of the women entering prison have suffered physical abuse and 68 per cent have been victims of sexual abuse.”  https://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/8133229-the-record-s-view-more-help-for-female-prisoners/#.WoRf0R91Ah0.twitter

Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Sexual assault myths at centre of important Supreme Court case

The question is whether a child’s behaviour over a period of prolonged sexual abuse also raises the issue of the credibility of the child.  A lower court said yes, the superior court over-ruled and the defendant parent has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/sexual-assault-myths-at-centre-of-important-supreme-court-case/article37916188/

HuffPost (Canada) – Zi-Ann Lum
NOWHERE TO TURN – A secretive government service was supposed to protect an abused mom. A judge undid it all.

This article makes concrete the trauma and the conflict of domestic violence, not simply between the family members but equally within the justice system.  “I’ve done everything I can to provide a safe and happy home for my son. He’s a beautiful person and deserves so much. But the system I thought was going to protect us has failed us. It’s a feeling of hopelessness I can’t describe. No one should have to go through this.”  http://projects.huffingtonpost.ca/halifax-custody-csva-judge-lawrence-oneil/?utm_campaign=canada_newsletter