Abolish prisons?

Dec 23, 2019

 CBC Radio
If we abolish prisons, what’s next? There are more people in prison today than at any other time in history

The question is one that frightens most people who think that without prisons we have no way to avoid being terrorized by crime and criminals.  The articles draws on the history of prisons and the increasing first substitution for physical violence on those convicted and later the increasing reliance on “…locking people up with substandard care and little opportunity for self-improvement, or chance to confront whatever factors led them to jail in the first place, (which) meant people who come in contact with the justice system often stay in contact with the justice system. A proverbial vicious circle.”  Criminology Professor Justine Piché of the University of Ottawa has a pointed view of prisons:  “If we were to enter a prison, you would find people who have experienced various forms of trauma, various forms of structural neglect in the form of lack of access to basic necessities of life, such as housing, food, clean drinking water, education, health, mental health and dental care.”   https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/prison-abolitionists-argue-there-s-a-better-way-forward-1.5399845?fbclid=IwAR2XwQAt9k8DDBg-xDgMFaNNL62v2TSpkoIj1e_N6xOYT_ftxckGC1r2A0M   Related article: Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant   Judges and Crowns regularly send still-innocent people to places like the Toronto South Detention Centre. Should they have to know what that feels like?  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/12/23/judges-and-crowns-regularly-send-still-innocent-people-to-places-like-the-toronto-south-detention-centre-should-they-have-to-know-what-that-feels-like.html

World Economic Forum – Davos, Switzerland – Kirsten Salyer and Oliver Cann
Everything you need to know about the gender gap in 2020

Another calendar year is almost passed again so what are the remaining gaps for gender discrimination?  Political gaps are most resistance and it will still take more than a lifetime to eliminate the various gaps in the measurements – Education and health survival are now almost on pare between men and women, economic disparity is still growing – up .4 % this past year.  Gender gap also remains for emerging employment roles.   https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/gender-gap-report-gender-parity-how-to-speed-up-progress/?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2708437_Agenda_weekly-FinalTemplate-20December2019-20191218_064732&utm_term=&emailType=Newsletter   Related article: World Economic Forum – Saadia Zahidi   3 ways to make the 2020s the decade we close the gender gap https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/how-to-close-gender-gap-2020s/?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2708437_Agenda_weekly-FinalTemplate-20December2019-20191218_064732&utm_term=&emailType=Newsletter   Related article: Global News –  Emerald Bensadoun   Mind the gap: Canada falls 3 spots in global gender parity rankings to 19th place  https://globalnews.ca/author/emerald-bensadoun/

The Guardian (Manchester, UK) – Jaskiran Dhillon in Wet’suwet’en territory and Will Parrish
Exclusive: Canada police prepared to shoot Indigenous activists, documents show

The article raises a number of concerns around the use of deadly force in politically inspired events and the potential for police to take on at least the appearance of choosing sides.  Police apparently insisted on what they call ‘lethal overwatch’ or the deployment of snipers around the event.  The police, dressed in green army uniforms and carrying assault rifles, sought to strategize around using language that may appear more provocative than peaceful.  There was no evidence of any armed intent on the part of the Aboriginals says the Guardian who apparently had access to police strategy documents.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/20/canada-indigenous-land-defenders-police-documents   Related article: CBC News – Jon Hernandez  Reports of RCMP snipers dispatched to Wet’suwet’en blockade ‘concerning,’ says Indigenous services minister  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rcmp-snipers-first-nation-pipeline-protest-guardian-1.5405111

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Justice issues in the latest Speech from the Throne…

There are six justice issues under review and anticipating further legislation as the UK government begins its new session.  Four of the items involve longer sentencing for terrorist and violent offenders, a fifth increasing police powers, and a sixth that would give Parole Boards the statutory authority to factor in failure of the convicted to give helpful information about the crime to victims.   https://mailchi.mp/russellwebster/erspeech1219?e=10ab936adc

 Slate.com – Guy Hamilton-Smith
A Second Chance in Kentucky – On Friday, I registered to vote after more than a decade in limbo.

Hamilton-Smith, a lawyer and ex-offender, joined about 140,000 non-violent ex-offenders whose voting rights were re-instituted after Democratic Governor Andy Beshear took office and restored the voting rights rescinded by former Republican Governor Matt Bevins when he took office in 2015.  There remains about 172,000 under supervision for violent crime who are still denied the vote.  The denial of voting rights is commonplace throughout the US.   https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/12/kentucky-voting-rights-restoration-clemency.html  Related article: The Fulcrum (US) – Expansion of felon voting rights advances in New Jersey    https://thefulcrum.us/felons-voting-rights-new-jersey

Ottawa Citizen – Joanne Laucius
The cost of loneliness: Canadians are facing a solitary future — and it’s affecting their health

We have grown increasingly aware that the determinants of health often include a wide variety of social factors that are every bit as hurtful as actual diseases.  The link here is to a topical and seasonal discussion around the power of social isolation and loneliness to weaken one’s health and to bring repeated hospital visits.  The incidents of loneliness are all the more alarming as Stats Canada census is now reporting “for the first time in recorded Canadian history, one-person households are the most common household type in the country…Former U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy has called loneliness a “growing health epidemic.”  https://ottawacitizen.com/health/seniors/doesl-one-loneliness-kill