Prison for punishment?

Nov.12, 2018

Global News – Amanda Connolly
Terri-Lynne McClintic back in prison, Rodney Stafford says

McClintic was convicted of the murder of 8 year old Victoria Stafford, sentenced to life in prison and later transferred to a healing lodge prison in Saskatchewan.  The political outcry over her placement in the healing lodge has led to her further transfer to an Edmonton medium security prison, according to the father of the victim, Rodney Stafford.   The controversy has highlighted the legal purpose for prison: as punishment or for punishment?    Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris  Goodale orders tougher rules on prisoner transfers to Indigenous lodges following McClintic uproar   New policy will make it tougher for inmates to serve time in facilities without a fence   Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris   Child killer Terri-Lynne McClintic transferred from healing lodge to Edmonton prison   Related article: Toronto Star – Zachery Miller  A victim’s anger over the lack of sex offender oversight

 University of Toronto Law Journal – Lisa Kerr, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston
How the prison is a black box in punishment theory

Unfortunately the full article is not available publicly but we have an intriguing abstract which may motivate readers to pursue the article by other links.  The issue is punishment theory and prisons, a growing concern especially around sentencing, secondary victims and the current McClintic public controversy.  Is prison for further punishment or is prison the punishment.   Author Kerr is available through Queen’s at    Related article: The Conversation (UK) – Francis Pakes    I deliberately sent myself to prison in Iceland – they didn’t even lock the cell doors there

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Liberals will spend $86 million to tackle rise in gang and gun violence – Money will aim to help stop smuggled guns from entering Canada and help RCMP investigate firearms crime

 Noting an increase in gun smuggling, Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Bill Blair, minister of border security and organized crime reduction, announced a considerable funding for CBSA and RCMP as well as community agencies for programs aimed at preventing gun crime.  “Blair said border officials had 467 seizures of firearms last year, a 19 per cent increase from the previous year. The rate of gang-related homicides spiked in 2016, and violent firearm offences also increased for the third year in a row in 2017.”   Related article: Toronto Star – Bianca Bharti   John Tory urges Torontonians to lobby federal government for handgun ban

Toronto Star – Melanie Green
How Canadian consumers are eating seafood caught by modern-day slaves

The recent midterm elections and the US prison strike brought attention to the practice of selling the labour of prison inmates without recompense to the prisoners.  This story highlights the practices internationally in the supply of fish and exposes the ways that the marketplace hides the origins of the processing practices using slave labour.

Crime Prevention (Ottawa)
Youth Criminal Justice: What Parents Should Know

CPO has just published a new booklet aimed at helping prevent youthful conflict within the family and with the law.  It is available on line at the link.  While specific to Ottawa, the booklet has generic application as well identifying concerns and possible responses.   (A 16 page downloadable pdf.)

CBC News – Nic Meloney
Eagle feathers introduced to Nova Scotia court system for legal affirmations – Ceremony a ‘full circle moment’ for Mi’kmaw woman who refused to swear on the Bible

In response to an Aboriginal witness who objected to being sworn using the Bible, a Nova Scotia court has agreed to the use of an eagle feather instead for legal affirmations.  The Court has accepted some 30 such feathers from the Mi’kmaq nation territory (Mi’kma’ki) in New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia.  Two feathers will be given to each major courthouse in Nova Scotia for the purposes of swearing in witness and binding oath taking. Chief Justice Michael MacDonald said at the ceremony establishing the new possibility: “I’ve been involved in the conventional … colonial justice system for a long time, and let’s acknowledge that it has significant problems in criminal law, in family law. It strikes me, friends, that we could learn a lot from our Mi’kmaw friends and their approaches to justice.”

The Lawyer’s Daily – Amanda Jerome
Senators urge Canada ‘to do better’ in treatment of nation’s prisoners

The Canadian Senate is beginning to play a pivotal role in justice issues.  This article draws attention to the Human Rights issues in the way prisoners are treated in Canada.  Senators Kim Pate, Jane Cordy and Wanda Bernard are responding to the latest Correctional Investigator’s Report by Ivan Zinger.  The Human Rights group has been touring facilities in Canada following this latest report and are lending support to the recs voiced by Zinger, urging participation in the process established to correct violations of the human rights of the inmates.  OCI Report (June 2018) Office of the Correctional Investigator Annual Report

CBC News – Canadian Press
Judge calls Toronto cop who ate cannabis chocolate on duty a ‘complete idiot’

Candy anyone?  One Toronto cop is regretting his choice for a marijuana-laced hazelnut candy bar, first seized in a police raid on a pot shop and later consumed while on duty.  Twenty minutes later, Const. Vittorio Dominelli was intoxicated, felt the effects and radioed for help.  He, and a fellow officer were charged with attempting to obstruct justice and resigned from the police.  Both also face internal police misconduct charges.    Related article: Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis   Former Toronto cop who ate pot edibles on duty pleads guilty to attempting to obstruct justice

Star Metro (Vancouver) – Alex McKeen
How a Canadian law meant to protect sex workers is making it harder for them to stay safe

In April of 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada made the Bedford decision, a ruling for Terri-Jean Bedford and others protecting sex workers from violence by allowing sex workers to avoid dangerous and isolated places.  “The PCEPA (Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act) called for the adoption what’s known as the “Nordic model,” which decriminalizes activities performed by sex workers and places the criminal burden on the demand side and on third parties, so that targeting “pimps” and “johns” are targeted by law enforcement. The upshot that it’s legal to sell sex in Canada, but illegal to pay for it or help someone else sell it.” The bad news is that sex workers are no more safe now and in many cases more unsafe than before the law.

The Marshall Project (US) – Jennifer Rae Taylor
Florida’s Election Shows the True Promise of Restoring Voting Rights

Many states in the US deny convicted felons once released the right to vote.  In the past mid-term elections the state of Florida approved Amendment #4 to allow former felons to vote by more than 60%.  The decision returns about one million people to the voting rolls, enough, given the razor sharp edge in the present split between Republicans and Democrats, to carry the state elections.

Toronto Star – Robert Cribb
Five more insurance firms sued for withholding HST from accident victims

Given the list of companies identified in this and a previous report, one may suspect that the practice of passing HST costs to the victims in the auto accident claims has been widespread and perhaps commonplace, in spite of regulator requirement that the HST be part of the insurer’s cost.  There are now 11 class action lawsuits seeking a total of $1.1 billion.