Nov 21, 2018

 N.Y. Times – Michelle Alexander
The Newest Jim Crow – Recent criminal justice reforms contain the seeds of a frightening system of “e-carceration.”

Alexander, lawyer and author of the well-known New Jim Crowe, occasionally writes a column for the N.Y. Times.  Her most recent is the Newest Jim Crowe in which she examines the mixture of cash bail, private prisons and the world of electronics which is producing a whole other kind of forced choice and assumptions in prison reform known as e-carceration.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/opinion/sunday/criminal-justice-reforms-race-technology.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fmichelle-alexander&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection   (Alexander’s NY Times web page: https://www.nytimes.com/by/michelle-alexander )

CBC News – Jordan Press, Canadian Press
Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

En route from the Papua-New Guinea Asian-Pacific economic meeting, Justin Trudeau has acknowledged an effort to set back some Canadian human rights.  Some forty US Republican senators have signed a request to Trump to remove from the US-Mexica-Canada agreement (USMCA) clauses that protect the employment rights of the LGBTQ community.  https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2018/11/18/trudeau-says-he-wont-negotiate-in-public-on-future-of-lgbtq-rights-in-usmca-2/#.W_Fvi-JRc2y   Related article: Global News – Ryan Rocca   Ontario PC Party passes resolution to debate recognition of gender identity   https://globalnews.ca/news/4673240/ontario-pc-recognize-gender-identity/

Toronto Star – Jim Rankin
Years after landmark case, some Ontario inmates with mental health issues still segregated for months at a time, ministry data dump reveals

The latest on the solitary confinement debate, thought settled by recent court ruling against it or its new equivalence “structure administrative units,” suggests that the practice of solitary, especially on the mentally ill, remains so prevalent in the prison system that no one knows how frequently it is practiced, how long per incident or the impact on inmates with mental health issues. Rankin points out that two inquests coming are unlikely to be able to offer new recommendations. Recently Ontario Corrections released a data dump of 3036 inmates who spent time in solitary over a two month period early this year.  While the data may be getting better, the practice continues largely unchanged.  Half the inmates in this data dump had mental health notations on record and one third had previous suicide watch notes.  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/11/18/years-after-landmark-case-some-ontario-inmates-with-mental-health-issues-still-segregated-for-months-at-a-time-ministry-data-dump-reveals.html   Related article: Scientific America – Dana G. Smith    Neuroscientists Make a Case against Solitary Confinement – Prolonged social isolation can do severe, long-lasting damage to the brain    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/neuroscientists-make-a-case-against-solitary-confinement/   Related article: CTV News – Rachelle Aiello  Corrections not doing enough to monitor criminals on parole: audit   https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/corrections-not-doing-enough-to-monitor-criminals-on-parole-audit-1.4184581#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=aHzqo2C

 CBC Massey Lectures 2018 – Tanya Talaga
All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward

Talaga insists that the obstacle to healing relationships in Canada lies in “a forced disconnection from land and language by Indigenous peoples… The need now is for Indigenous self-determination in social, cultural and political arenas.”  The lectures are now available on audio.  The five lectures, delivered in a variety of cities, explore the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous People.  The lectures are entitled: Thunder Bay: We Were Always Here; Halifax: Big Brother’s Hunger; Vancouver: The Third Space; Saskatoon: ‘I Breathe for Them’; Toronto: We Are Not Going Anywhere.  The individual audio sessions are about 55 minutes in length.  https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-2018-cbc-massey-lectures-all-our-relations-finding-the-path-forward-1.4763007   (There is a book versions of the lectures as well though Massey College.)  Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Nov 15, 2018) Tanya Talaga’s Massey Lectures are an urgent call to save lives   https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/11/17/tanya-talagas-massey-lectures-are-an-urgent-call-to-save-lives.html

The Nation.com (US) – Katie Rose Quandt
John Pace and His Friends Expected to Die in Prison – Then the men, who’d been sentenced to life as juveniles, were freed.

LWOP or Life without Parole has been a long time product of the legal exclusion of capital punishment for those convicted of first degree murder while under 18 years old.  The US Supreme Court declaration of the unconstitutionality of the sentence (2016) and the need for state review of such cases, has led to freedom for many on whom this mandatory sentence had been imposed, in some cases years ago.  Here is the story of one John Pace, and his response to his release.   https://www.thenation.com/article/jlwop-parole-sentenced-prison/     ACLU – David Fathi  Prisoners Are Getting Paid $1.45 a Day to Fight the California Wildfires  https://www.aclu.org/blog/prisoners-rights/prisoners-are-getting-paid-145-day-fight-california-wildfires    Related article: Democracy Now –  Meet the Prisoners Being Paid $1 an Hour to Battle the Deadly Climate-Fueled Fires of California   https://www.democracynow.org/2018/11/19/meet_the_prisoners_being_paid_1?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=bf72f23978-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-bf72f23978-190256549   Related article:  Equal Justice Initiative  Inmate Firefighters Risk Lives in California https://eji.org/news/inmate-firefighters-blocked-from-firefighting-careers-after-prison

WNEM.Com News – Stephen Borowy
MI Department of Corrections breaks ground on first Vocational Village site for woman

In what appears to be a relatively new approach in women’s prison policy, Michigan has broken ground to build a vocational village on a women’s correctional facility – the  Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti – to get a head start on high demand jobs.  The new facility, scheduled for completed construction by 2019, will hold 180 women “who will be trained in computer coding, carpentry, cosmetology, 3D printing, and graphic design.”   https://www.wnem.com/news/mi-department-of-corrections-breaks-ground-on-first-vocational-village/article_c68ccb40-ec1f-11e8-925c-1ba1e77723c1.html

 The Guardian (UK) – Ben Quinn
Rise in prison suicides prompts calls to tackle overcrowding

Quinn is reporting overcrowded jails as a factor in an increase in inmate suicides.  To date this year, 71 men and women have killed themselves and Christmas still ahead is generally a highly dangerous time.  34 of the inmates were aged in the 30’s or lower and 24 of the suicides were being monitored at the time.  Another considerable factor is the lack of adequate mental health care for inmates.  https://amp.theguardian.com/society/2018/nov/19/rise-in-prison-suicides-prompts-calls-to-tackle-overcrowding?CMP=share_btn_tw&__twitter_impression=true   Related article: Justice Policy Institute Report on Lifers – [REPORTS 2018] The Ungers, 5 Years and Counting: A Case Study in Safely Reducing Long Prison Terms and Saving Taxpayer Dollars  http://www.justicepolicy.org/research/12320?utm_source=%2fUnger&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=redirect

E-on-line – People’s Choice Awards
People’s Champion Bryan Stevenson’s Full Speech From the PCAs Will Seriously Move You  (A 4:40 min video of Stevenson’s speech)  https://m.eonline.com/shows/peoples_choice_awards/amp/news/986538/people-s-champion-bryan-stevenson-s-full-speech-from-the-pcas-will-seriously-move-you?fbclid=IwAR0uA57QKPBRlwDna9mHQPDupywl2GRZqtM7fFQ7nmG0NSe9pHYjrfBlEoY&__twitter_impression=true
Campaign 2000 – 2018 Report Card
Bold Ambitions for Child and Family Poverty Eradication

Remember this commitment – in 1989 all political parties agreed that by the year 2000 Canada would eliminate child and family poverty?  As you know, it did not happen and 2019 will mark thirty years of trying.  The link includes updates on provincial progress reports as well.  https://campaign2000.ca/1106-2/   Related article:  #endchildpoverty https://twitter.com/hashtag/endchildpoverty?s=03   Related article: Citizens for Public Justice Poverty Trends 2018  https://www.cpj.ca/sites/default/files/docs/files/Poverty%20Trends%20Report%202018.pdf   Related article: CTV News – Teresa Wright, Canadian Press   Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card    https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/bolder-action-needed-to-reduce-child-poverty-campaign-2000-report-card-1.4184286