More subtle punishment…

Dec 20, 2019

The Marshall Project (US) – Beatrix Lockwood and Nicole Lewis
The Long Journey to Visit a Family Member in Prison – Remote prison towns and strict visitation policies make it hard to stay in touch.

This article marks a link to the Marshall Project collaboration with the N.Y. Times Race Relations Newsletter to bring into seasonal highlight the difficulties confronting family when attempting to support members serving prison terms during holidays.  After an already long and extended trip from Virginia to Texas, Jodi Calkins was prohibited entry to FCI Seagoville.  Jodi explained:  “…she had been blocked from entering the prison because she was wearing a dress with thin, zigzagging black and khaki stripes. Khaki was one of the prohibited colors for visitors at FCI Seagoville.”  Most prisons, says the Vera Institute of Justice are in rural America and about 63% of state inmates are 100 miles from home.  (This is the first of a full week series of articles examining the obstacles in the way of family support.)  Related article: The Marshall Project – Neil Barsky   How to Fix Our Prisons?
Let The Public Inside.  Related article: The Marshall Project – Nicole Lewis and Beatrix Lockwood  The Hidden Cost of Incarceration Prison costs taxpayers $80 billion a year. It costs some families everything they have.   Related article:  The Marshall Project –   Nicole Lewis and Beatrix Lockwood  Can You Hear Me Now? Prison officials tout video visitation’s convenience. Families say they’re paying high rates for second-rate service  Related article: The Marshall Project – Jenny Jimenez as told to Beatrice Lockwood   A Couple That Crafts Together Stays Together

The Lawyer’s Daily – Cristin Schmitz
Bar lauds new Liberal plan to fix miscarriages of justice but slams inaction on mandatory penalties

The mandate letter to the Attorney General includes a provision for adding to the number of judges and prosecutors and a commission for wrongful convictions but does not address the mandatory minimums targeted for elimination under the previous term of the Liberal government.  “The president of the Canadian Bar Association, Vivene Salmon of Toronto, told The Lawyer’s Daily “we are disappointed that eliminating mandatory minimums and implementing other effective sentencing options, like conditional sentencing orders, are not part of the mandate.”   Related article: Pennsylvania Capital Star – Elizabeth Hardison   Facing pushback, Montgomery County lawmaker drops proposal to add mandatory minimums to some gun crimes

The Lethbridge News – Canadian Press
What is gender-based analysis, anyway? How the policy tool is changing government

When the RCMP asked for September applications for promotion they failed to realize that women constables faced back-to-school and the percentage of women applications grew by 12 % when the deadline was re-established to year around.  The same gender based analysis is now being applied to the various processes in the federal government.  “Gender-based analysis is not new, but it has been receiving more attention since the Liberal government brought it into its budget-making process and has been pushing it across all departments and agencies.”

Death Penalty Information Center (US)
DPIC 2019 Year End Report: Death Penalty Erodes Further As New Hampshire Abolishes and California Imposes Moratorium

Another state – New Hampshire the 21st – has banished the death penalty and California has imposed a moratorium on executions.  There were 22 executions in the US in 2019 – 19 of them had significant impairment – and the federal government intends to re-instate the practice as well, though currently forbidden by the US Supreme Court.   Related article: DPIC   Supreme Court Ruling Halts Scheduled Federal Executions  Related article: The Innocence Project – Daniele Selby   This Man’s Lies Sent 4 People to Death Row and Dozens to Prison — Here’s What You Need to Know

CBC News – Shanifa Nasser
 Jail officials, fired after mentally ill man’s death, lay blame with province

Three years ago, Soleiman Faqiri, a 30 year old Afghanistan refugee, was found dead on the cell floor in the Central East Correctional Centre.  Two managers were fired for the failure around the death and now suggest that the province itself is responsible for the death of an admittedly mentally ill prisoner.  Allegations include beatings from guards – post mortem identified at least 50 ‘blunt force impacts’ on Fagiri’s body who was also pepper sprayed.  Family is pursuing a $14.3 million lawsuit for excessive force resulting in Fagiri’s death.

 CBC News – Elizabeth Thompson
Judges fighting ejection from the bench could see their pensions frozen

What happens when a judge is ordered removed from the judiciary by the Canadian Judicial Council?  The answer may include a dispute giving the judge an on-going salary without hearing any cases and a steadily increasing pension plan.  But the change is for future cases and not those removals already in dispute such as that of Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Girouard, named to the bench in 2010, has been collecting a $329,900 annual salary and building up pension credits — but hasn’t heard any cases since January 2013, following an allegation that he bought illegal drugs from a client.

CBC News – Thompson Reuters
Black and Asian faces misidentified more often by facial recognition software

We TV crime technologists may do well to re-assess the certitude we give to science in the ‘face-recognition’ sphere in particular.  It would seem that the software is notoriously lacking in accuracy when it comes to certain faces, notably black women even more than Black men and Asians.  One expert suggests more skepticism for technology is due.

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Wendy Sawyer
Youth Confinement: The Whole Pie 2019

The link and the info is a startling concession of a picture of youth justice, though improved in the last twenty years, remains an appalling indictment of youth justice.  An excellent graphic and commentary describes the circumstances of some 48,000 youth in detention, mostly in adult prison like structures and circumstances, including more than 500 from age 12.  Equally disturbing are the numbers of adolescents raised to adult court.