Demanding more for justice…

Aug 27, 2019

Arizona Capitol Times – Laetitia Hua
Arizona deserves more from its criminal justice system

The author is a lawyer and candidate in the Miss Arizona contest who has experienced the European flavour of justice and draws attention to the discrepancies of the two approaches.  “While European countries tend to emphasize rehabilitation and community treatment in their criminal justice systems, our prison system focuses on punishment and incarceration, often as a response to addiction, poverty, or mental illness. Within Maricopa County this past year, our prison system admitted nearly 9,000 new inmates. Many of those people are imprisoned for nonviolent, low-level offenses that in other countries and states would be addressed by focusing on the root cause of the problem, like substance abuse or mental illness.”

Miami Herald (US) – Julie K. Brown
Protest planned after brutal attack by guards on woman at Florida’s Lowell prison

This link is to a simmering scene from the largest women’s prison in the US, Lowell Correctional Institute in Florida.  Prompted in large measure by the death of an inmate who was slammed to the floor and suffered a broken neck in an altercation with guards.  The report is accompanied by a ten minute video, ‘Beyond Punishment’ – Abuse and neglect in Florida women’s prison  laying out the context and the narrative of both the prison authorities and the inmates.  Advocates are calling for a federal inquiry.   Related article: Channel 9 – ABC (Chattanooga, TN) –  Bliss Zechman    Sexual assault victim says Silverdale turned a blind eye to several incidents behind bars

The City (N.Y.) – Reuven Blau and Rosa Goldensohn
Re-imagining NY Jails without solitary confinement

The link has a summary of the use of solitary confinement in New York and elsewhere, an assessment of the impact of its use, and a report on the notion of building four jails to replace Rikers Island.  Much of the resistance to the outright ban or considerable reduction in the rationale and practice of the use of solitary falls back on the notion of a necessary tool for corrections officers.  The link questions this approach as well. (US) – Mike Maciag
Addicted to Fines – Small towns in much of the country are dangerously dependent on fines and fees

This comprehensive report on the comparison of essential income from taxes compared to income raised from police enforcement of traffic and the consequent fines and fees generated should be pause to think about the approach to law.  The link provides a map of the US with points and areas where the traffic enforcement is a significant source for municipal operating costs.  In the study, over 600 towns reported income greater than 10% of its general funds as reported in annual statements.  “In at least 284 of those governments, it’s more than 20 percent. Some other governments allocate the revenues outside the general fund. When fine and forfeiture revenues in all funds are considered, more than 720 localities reported annual revenues exceeding $100 for every adult resident. And those numbers would be even higher if they included communities reporting less than $100,000 in fines; those jurisdictions were excluded from our analysis. In some places, traffic fine revenue actually exceeds limits outlined in state laws.”

CBC News
Kingston police working to ease officer burnout

Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely who made confronting mental health issues among Kingston’s police her priority is confronting the problem directly: unreasonable and stress producing overtime draining the resources of the force.  The force hired 17 new officers in December and now is seeking authorization and funding for further increases in hiring. Other police forces in Canada are reporting similar circumstances. .5260793

CBC News –
Driving 3,250 kilometres for only $30, in an electric vehicle – Conservation biologist Brett Favaro says technology is there, but support infrastructure isn’t

Can technology reduce our carbon footprint?  At least as far as the cost goes the 3250 km on $30 would suggest that we are missing a serious contribution to climate control by failing to provide the necessary infrastructure for the electric vehicle.  Conservation biologist and research scientist at Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute, Brett Favaro drove from Argentia (NF) to Quebec City and back in his Telsa Model S and found that the recharging stations were about 100 km apart and easy to find, though the charging times vary along the way depending on the type of equipment at the station.  The journey took approximately 700 kw of electricity.  Favaro estimates that a similar gas powered trip would cost between $300-400.

USA Today – Kevin Johnson
Federal prison suicides were quietly rising before Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a New York detention center

The death of Jeffrey Epstein in the Manhattan Detention Center has sparked a fury of research about suicides in facilities of all sorts.  This link is focused on federal facilities where in the last year there have been 27 in the fiscal year ending Sept 2018.  The survey describes a precarious state of staffing where nurses are co-opted into guard duties from shortage of regular officers.

Prison Policy (US) – Alexi Jones and Wendy Sawyer
 Arrest, Release, Repeat: How police and jails are misused to respond to social problems

This link present some forceful stats on people who are arrested repeatedly and who have underlying problems contributing to the repeated arrest.  Charging that police are increasingly responding to health and economic issues unrelated to public safety issues.  At least 4.9 million people are jailed each year and 1 in 4 are jailed repeatedly.  The link offers several charts depicting graphically the underlying connections.