Feb. 27, 2018

CBC News
Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario, report says – Commissioner issues 32 recommendations as ‘steps toward ensuring that no family experience similar harm’

These are days when forensic science solves all the TV crime.  But this time the forensic science was less than accurate and in fact introduced an element of false evidence and false convictions.  A lab run by the Hospital for Sick Kids created those circumstances for some fifty mothers in a test called Motherisk made those pronouncements, denied parental rights, and now, it appears, has left parents without legal recourse to redress the harm.   Related article: Toronto Star – Rachel Mendleson  Motherisk Commission calls for sweeping changes to child protection system

Globe and Mail – Marci Ien
The double standard of driving while black – in Canada

This article is a calm reflection on the need for vigilance in the struggle for fairness and equality under the law and the struggle for an anti-racist norm.  Ien, a national journalist of some note, but a Black lady, reports on the third police stop in Toronto without apparent cause or consequence, this time in the driveway of her house.

Philadelphia Inquirer (US) – Samantha Melamed
Why Philly DA Krasner could let 180+ juvenile lifers out of prison early

Philadelphia has sentenced more juveniles to life without parole (LWOP) than any other jurisdiction in the world.  The US Supreme Court ruled two years ago that LWOP was unconstitutional and ordered states to apply the correction retroactively, making 315 persons eligible for re-sentencing and many for release under the new sentencing criteria.  A new District Attorney, with pronounced views on prison and sentencing reform,  has also given impetus to both individual case assessment and a faster process with 127 cases reviewed to date.   Related article: Houston Chronicle:  Gabrielle Banks    Judge cites ‘tainted’ arrestees who heed Black Lives Matter as problem – Among 31 Harris County judges who systematically rejected releases, records show  Related article: San Antonio Express News – Jasper Scherer  Fiery DA race turns attention to cash bail for low-level crimes

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative (CCPA)
Alternative Federal Budget 2018 – Getting There

The centre has been producing federal alternate budgets to allow a measure of social progress by comparison with the actual federal budget.  The link offers both a summary of goals and the full document.   Related article: Citizens for Public Justice: Poverty Trends in 2017   (An 8 page pdf – well done with info, analysis and graphics )   Related article: Dignity for All – Living in the Gap: The Doyles  A Snapshot of Precarity in Canada    Related article: Toronto Star – Canadian Press   Federal budget expected to focus on gender equality, pharmacare plan

International Conference on Prison Abolition 2018 (ICOPA) (London, UK)
Abolitionist Futures: Building Social Justice Not Criminal Justice

With a startling theme for many who have struggled with the harm done by the prison systems worldwide, ICOPA is inviting contributions under its four sub-themes: Questioning, Resisting, Dismantling and Building.  Conference dates and schedules TBA.

Canadian Mental Health Association – John Howard Society of Ontario
New report reveals that mental health police records still a barrier to employment

John Howard Society is acutely aware of one of the problems attendant on the required police check when there is a record of mental health treatment in the background: almost impossible odds for employment or education.   Related article: John Howard of Ontario – Invisible Burden: Police Records and the Barriers to Employment in Toronto