RJ’s potential…

May 7, 2018

Policy Options – Jennifer Llewellyn
Restorative justice has more to offer than just diverting people from the criminal justice system. It’s a powerful way of thinking that can reshape justice.

Llewellyn is a professor and a prime mover for restorative justice at Dalhousie University.  “To see clearly the potential of restorative justice for the transformation of the criminal justice system, we must pay attention to the idea of justice it offers, as well as the challenge it represents to the logic of the current system. Restorative justice is more than just another path to the goals of the current criminal justice system – it is a different way of thinking that offers a new roadmap for justice.”  http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2018/realizing-the-full-potential-of-restorative-justice/?mc_cid=bc189f31c0&mc_eid=88d8ad4e97  (Ed note:  This excellent article is part of broader criminal justice commentary by Policy Options on a variety of issues with the justice system. Cf Widening the Lens on Criminal Justice Reform   http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/april-2018/widening-lens-criminal-justice-reform/ )

The Pew Charitable Foundation (US) – Pat Nolan
Improving Criminal Justice ‘Benefits All of Us’ – A corrections reform pioneer and former lawmaker on why he’s heartened by recent state progress

This interview with Pat Nolan offers some advice from one who knows by personal experience, Nolan spent 29 months in prison on white collar conviction and came out of jail with a certain knowledge of the need for reform of the system.  The link is to a Q & A on the current status of prison reform and the notion that imprisoning someone is the first recourse for a solution to crime.  Nolan thinks that many jail sentences are not needed and likely just to make matters worse.  http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/q-and-a/2018/04/improving-criminal-justice-benefits-all-of-us?sl&utm_campaign=2018-05-02+PNN&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

American Military University / Corrections One (US) – Dr. Michael Pittaro
How the aging prison population challenges correctional facilities – Until more elderly prisoners are discharged, correctional facilities will be forced to spend more resources on serving this aging population

While the sponsors of this link have “a dog in the fight,” – they are a commercial supplier of services and equipment to corrections, private and public – the article itself is drawing attention to the problems around an aging inmate population, why the aging is happening and the consequences for the institution if forced into health care for higher numbers of older inmates.  The analysis is mostly around the growing costs of the health care.  The article contains some interesting points but ignores entirely any consideration of what happens to elderly inmates if released after a prolonged incarceration, likely without any community or family for support.  https://www.correctionsone.com/correctional-healthcare/articles/474317187-How-the-aging-prison-population-challenges-correctional-facilities/

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Voluntary sector coordination is essential

 Webster is reporting on a report called The good prison in which the role of volunteers in three mainstream British prisons is weighed in experiment.  A volunteer program co-ordinator in each prison was the single point of contact for the voluntary community and the effort led to four distinct improvements and the study resulted in the extension of the approach with funding from the prisons themselves.  https://mailchi.mp/russellwebster/goodprisonclinks?e=10ab936adc

Ottawa Citizen – Justin Piché and Aaron Doyle
Piché and Doyle: There are many alternatives to a bigger jail in Ottawa

The controversy and protests in Ottawa bring this clarifying piece about what could be done rather than building a jail with 25% greater capacity than the present OCDC.  The jail was proposed without public consultation and some think that the thrust towards building jails is unworthy in the face of the potential of the $11 million a year operating costs for a prison priced somewhere between $500 million and a billion.  Piche and Doyle inquire of other social justice advocates how the dollars could be better spent on better community supports more likely to reduce the need for jails.  http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/piche-and-doyle-there-are-many-alternatives-to-a-bigger-jail-in-ottawa

CBC News – Bard Bellegarde
Status First Nations to remain tax exempt on marijuana sales on reserve land – Both federal and provincial governments have said they will honour the Indian Act tax exempt policy

First Nations are tax exempt.  Both the Ontario provincial and Federal governments have decided that the status will extend to marijuana as well, inducing Indigenous people to consider raising medical marijuana as well.  Both businesses and individual Indigenous people with a status card will not have to pay HST/PST when buying marijuana.  They will have to pay excise tax (at the point of manufacturing) as in the case of liquor sales.  Is it possible that sales on reserves will be at price below the $10.17 / gram estimate for the usual sale?  http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/first-nations-tax-exempt-cannabis-1.4481386