Your children’s children…

July 26, 2018

Huffington Post / Evidence
Canada Is Sending A Generation Of Indigenous Children To Jail – To call these numbers of incarcerated Indigenous people a crisis would be the understatement of the century.

The article is a powerful view of the impact of the Canadian justice system on Indigenous people.  The history of relations between our governments and the Indigenous has increasingly come to light for its cultural destructiveness but equally now for its potential for the same destructiveness on the next generation.  This article is a powerful call to governments to fix the problem and offer the youth a better chance.  “Properly funding and rigorously applying restorative justice programs, rather than making them subject to the whims of government cuts, is an essential part of the solution.”

CBC News – Mark Gruchy
Here’s why we can’t afford to keep the horror show that is HMP open

“Her Majesty’s Penitentiary” overlooks the pond, Quidi Vidi Lake, on which the oldest sporting event in North America plays out every August.  Birthdate unknown but parts date back to1859, the “pen” as locals say is raising more energy about how to spend money for corrections:  on the facility itself or on treatment and services.  The general agreement among all the players is that the pen is completely inadequate, especially for the mentally ill, and needs to close immediately but despite the overwhelming consensus nothing happens.  Then, Gruchy, who calls the prison climate “a tinderbox,” draws a parallel between the tribalism of the inmates and their conflict and violence inside with the tribalism of the political masters.  Money is not the issue. The issue is choice. The issue is cynical political self-interest masquerading as objective economics. There is a path, it has simply not been chosen. “This national embarrassment is coming to an end. The only choices to be made by our elected leaders is what side of history they want to be on and how severe they want this crisis to become.”   Related article: Global News – David Giles   5 inmates charged with murder after 2016 Saskatchewan Penitentiary riot   Related article: Sky News (UK) – Report calls for support centres not prison for female offenders – Community support is more effective than prison at reducing offending and rebuilding lives.

KJZZ (US/Arizona) – Jimmy Jenkins
Arizona Department Of Corrections Appeals Federal Sanction to 9th Circuit Court

A US Federal Court has ordered the Arizona Department of Corrections to correct its failed health care for inmates and imposed a $1.4 million fine for the failure.  While the inmates bringing the lawsuit are suggesting how the health fund should be spent, the state corrections have appealed the decision on the one hand and are passing the buck to the health care contractor, Corizon Health, on the other.   Related article: The Crime Report – Rising Prison Health Care Costs Increase Burden on State Corrections: Pew

iPolitics – Anna Desmarais
Firearm violence “focus of concern” for Canadian police, Statistics Canada report says

The death of two passers-by on the Danforth has drawn attention to the rising in the crime rate (according to Stats Canada) and the prevalence of available handguns in Canada, and in Toronto in particular.  Advocates in the Danforth community are looking to a change in the federal criminal law to allow a stricter ban on handguns.  The issue traditionally divides Liberals and Tories, as well as urban and rural.  “In the 2016-2017 year, more than half of Canada’s cities reported increases in the volume and severity of their crimes. Six provinces, including Ontario, saw a spike in crime. Crime rates in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and British Columbia fell, reports Stats Canada on the latest police reported crime, but then explains the increase in the crime rate by a 13% increase in the reporting of sex crimes, not specifically crimes with handguns.   Related article: Toronto Star – Alex McKeen Amid calls for more officers, data shows only a tenuous link with crime reduction   Related article: Statistics Canada:  Police Report Crime statistics 2017 (Link includes a number of graphic analyses on types of crime and severity index.)   Related article: Globe and Mail – Canadian Press   Ontario to use part of mental health funding for police initiatives  Related article: iPolitics – Tim Naumetz   Gun control advocate questions Goodale comments on handgun, assault rifle ban   Related article: Toronto Star – Alex Ballingall  Toronto shooting: What we know about owning a handgun in Canada  Related article: Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh     In wake of Danforth shooting, experts urge caution in linking mental health and violence   Related article: Globe and Mail – Stephanie Levitz  Most Canadians back total ban on guns in urban areas, poll suggests  Related article:  Toronto Star – Michael Bryant  Don’t make uninformed decisions about guns based on fear, Michael Bryant says

 Brookings Institution (US) – Jennifer L. Doleac
Study after study shows ex-prisoners would be better off without intense supervision

As the question of mass incarceration is challenged by community supported corrections, the practice of intensive supervision is also under criticism.  Doleac examines five recent studies on the effectiveness of intensive supervision of parolees and concludes the practice simply does not work to reduce recidivism.  She says spend the money on addiction services and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).     Related article: – Sirin Kale   49 British Women Were Killed By Men They Previously Reported To Police – Broadly asked every UK police force how many women were killed in the last three years by the partners, exes, or stalkers they’d already reported to the authorities.

Amnesty International –
EU: Commission proposals risk a dangerous expansion of failed migration policies

Concerns with the consequences for the human rights of refugees and treatment are surfacing as the European Union begins discussing the establishment of ‘controlled centres.’  An alert from AI reads:  “These proposals are a blueprint for a dangerous expansion of the European policies that are resulting in untold suffering and human rights violations in the Mediterranean. Attempts to push migrants out of sight are neither workable nor conscionable…Like the ‘hotspots’ set up in Greece and Italy, ‘controlled centres’ will do nothing to ensure a more orderly management of arrivals but instead risk exposing women, men and children to human rights violations.”   The alert further declares:  “A stark illustration of the consequences of policies which prioritize border protection over human life is being played out now off the shores of Tunis, where 40 people have been stranded in searing heat and with dwindling supplies for almost two weeks.”    Related article:  CBC News – Janice Dickson, Canadian Press  Critical federal review fuels new calls for immigration detention reforms

Toronto Star – Daniel Brown
Doug Ford, Caroline Mulroney must not scrap important criminal justice reforms

Besides coping with the Danforth tragedy Toronto is wondering about the impact of Doug Ford’s election on the extensive justice reforms in the making from the previous administration.  At risk say the advocates are both the review of the police oversight and the Safer Ontario Act, both about to become law when the Danforth became the rationale for delay.  Equally at risk are the comprehensive community programs and the reform of the bail system.   “Caroline Mulroney (the new justice minister) and the rest of Ford Nation must resist pressures to prioritize ideology over evidence-based policy-making and to scrap thoughtful and important legislation simply because it was drafted by the opposition.”