Lullaby for prison…

Feb 7, 2019

CBC News – Angela Antle
From Carnegie Hall to Clarenville: Writing lullabies in a Newfoundland women’s prison – Social Sharing

Jan Buley is a professor of education at Memorial University in St. John’s. Her co-organizer is her husband, David Buley, a professor of music education at MUN.  Together, the Buleys have put to music and song the personal experiences of the imprisoned women.  It is called Waiting for Time.   A 26 minute Audio tape of the first lullaby concert in Canada for women in prison.   ATLANTIC VOICE: Waiting for the Time   “Newfoundland’s women’s prison is a troubled place. Two women died there in 2018 and the reports on their deaths have not been made public. Recently, two artists launched a Lullaby Project in the space and had a powerful impact on inmates, and the people guarding them.   Related article: #Cut (US)   Dignity for Women

University of Victoria – Taryn Burgar, M.A. Thesis
Restorative Justice and Sexual Assault: Canadian Practitioner Experiences

Abstract:  This thesis examines the use of restorative justice with cases of sexual assault in Canada through the perspective of practitioner experience. It concludes that restorative justice for sexual assault is an innovative and viable justice practice that should be offered to survivor-victims as an option for their justice-seeking process. A literature review was undertaken to create a summary of past and current academic perspectives on the topic and to provide context for the interviews. Interviews were conducted with 12 restorative justice practitioners in Canada who have experience facilitating or participating in restorative justice processes that dealt with sexual assault. The data from the interviews was analyzed using thematic coding to produce a set of themes based on practitioner experience. The data was also used to examine the ethical issues that are relevant in the current landscape. This thesis determines that practitioners are knowledgeable about the practices that can make the restorative justice process safer. It finds that practitioners report being able to meet the varying needs of survivor-victims through procedural flexibility. It observes that they struggle with the practical and ethical tensions that arise in their work, but these tensions are manageable, and they are committed to working with them. Restorative justice has the potential to address a sexual assault case successfully when survivor-victim needs are met, safer practices are used, and practitioners are informed about the complexities and varying experiences of sexual assault.  Full Thesis: (199 pages pdf)

CBC News – Diana Swain, Andreas Wesley, Stephen Davis
Harassment, sexual assault among alleged misconduct by border agents investigated by CBSA

The Canadian Border Services Agency has no oversight and investigates itself when complaints are made.  From January 2016 to July of 2018 there have been over 1200 complaints in over fifty categories.  The largest number are for neglect of duty but there are also more serious issues: 59 allegations of harassment, 38 allegations of “criminal association” and at least five allegations of sexual assault (the link offers a chart and frequency of the top ten offenses).  The documents were obtained from an access to information request by the CBC but the information does not show the disposition of the complaints.

The (US) – Jessica Pishko
How a No-Knock Raid in Austin Turned Into a Lethal Shootout

Advocates have expressed growing alarm with the militarization of police.  This article describes one No-Knock raid –armored vests, personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades – on a private home in Austin, Texas, in pursuit of “a major drug dealer.”  Pishko adds a picture of the same military tactics in other national cases and the sometimes fatal and unintended results.  The reporting leaves considerable doubt about the appropriateness of police use of the No-Knock approached which was first designed to avoid loss of evidence following an announced intent to search, and later further justified on the basis of the safety of officers.  No new appraisals of the technique have come from the incident to date and frequency of use has actually increased.

The Intercept (US) – Nick Pinto
“‘Vicious’ And ‘Brutal’” — Life Inside a Freezing Federal Prison With No Heat

The recent arctic temperatures across New York brought an added horror for the 1600 plus inmates of the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in NYC.  First on Jan. 27 the electrical went out and then the heating went off in parts of the building while the temperature plummeted.  The crisis brought many local and state politicians as well as the families of the inmates who protested outside the jail but were denied entry or the possibility of bringing any kind of relief to the inmates.  But in the mind of the Warden Herman Quay, there was no crisis, the maintenance people had gone home for the week-end the MDC would wait until Monday.  The crisis endured for a week.  The prison went on lockdown denying both visitors and medical services until the power was restored on Feb. 2.  One inmate summary:  “He described the past week as ‘torturous,’ ‘vicious’ and ‘brutal;’ a ‘mind****.’ He was desperate for a hot cup of tea, and grateful to walk from his unit to the West Building.”

New York Times – Nicholas Kristof
Thank God for Canada! Our boring neighbor is a moral leader of the free world.

Here’s a refreshing alternate commentary on good old boring Canada!  “After the Canadian foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, tweeted concern about Saudi Arabia’s imprisoning of a women’s rights activist, the crown prince there seemed to go nuts… Saudi Arabia announced that it was expelling Canada’s ambassador, halting flights to Canada, ending purchases of Canadian wheat, recalling students from Canada and selling off Canadian assets. Did the United States or other Western countries stand up for an old friend and ally, Canada?  Not a bit.”  Related article:  Global News – Amanda Connolly   NDP MP Paul Dewar’s dying message: ‘I have found my way to peace’  Dewar’s life summary:  “The secret is not to focus on how to solve the problem, but concentrate on what you can contribute – to your country, your community and neighbours.”   Related article: CBC News: Laurie Fagan   Politician, advocate, husband and father Paul Dewar succumbs to brain cancer   Related article: Policy – Kevin Lynch  Letter from Davos, 2019: Trade, Trust and Trump  (Lynch is the former Clerk of the Privy Council (UK))

From Margot Van Sluytman
Sawbonna: Writing the Self and Reconciliation

Wed, February 20, 2019 1:00 PM – 8:30 PM MST  The Grow Centre, co-working space, 10516 82 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, AB T6E 2A4

In this workshop, Van Sluytman will address how Sawbonna: A New Model of Restorative Justice links with re-storying the lives of victims, offenders, and our communities, after violent crime. She will stress the importance of speaking about and writing about retribution and what can be seen as the over-used word “reconciliation,” what she calls the “seemingly taboo items.” And she will note further the personal in the political, “twinned and inseparable siblings,” says Margot. Van Sluytman will be taking her new model and her therapeutic writing acumen to Netherlands, sharing her work with renowned restorative justice practitioner, Gert Jan Slump and his colleagues.   Sawbonna also goes to The Hague in April and May of this year.  Margot also returns next year to South Africa, having had to reschedule time at Pollsmoor Prison, where she worked last year.  Pollsmoor Prison is where Nelson Mandela ‘lived’ for eight years.