Mar 10, 2020

CBC News – Tara Carman  
Women, children turned away from shelters in Canada almost 19,000 times a month   

Shelters in Canada are suffering drastic funding losses and the result is that when women and children are forced to flee for safety from domestic abuse, there is literally no place to go.  The shelters are already full with no signs of abatement and government (mostly provincial) is reducing funding.  The CBC report is coming from an in-depth investigation of domestic violence.  Related article: CBC News – Shanifa Nasser  Ontario cancels $1M for rape crisis centres, prompting concerns wait times will spike   Related article: Homeless Hub and Covenant House – Amanda Noble et al.   Getting Out: A National Framework for Escaping Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Canada   Full report:  (84 page downloadable PDF)   Related article: CBC News – Sally Pitt   How this P.E.I. program helps women take back control after leaving abusive relationships   Related article: Toronto Star – Robert Benzie  Tories to inject $2 million in new funding for rape crisis centres — one day after signalling $1 million had been cut  Related article: CBC News – Bonnie Allen    ‘Going to jail is probably easier’: Domestic violence perpetrators tout treatment program   Related article: CBC News – Katie Nicholson –  ‘Barriers’ in Canada’s legal system complicating fight to end domestic violence 

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Ruling on juries could overturn 15 Ontario homicide convictions, Crown says in Supreme Court filing

The controversy over pre-emptory challenges of a juror may impact as many as 38 cases of murder or sexual assault and is going to the Supreme Court for clarification.  Pre-emptory challenges, the right by crown or defence to refuse a juror without reason, were abolished by the federal government and jury selection operating under the new rules suffered a set-back in a Court of Appeal ruling in January 2020.  While upholding the ban, the Court of Appeal also granted that those who had selected trial by jury before the ban should have the right to pre-emptory challenges.   Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (March 5, 2020)  Jury duty is important work. It should be paid

The National Interest (Canada) – Sarah Speight
Report: Canada’s Prisons Are Hell for the Elderly

Drawing on the Report of the Correctional Investigator to Parliament, Speight is one of the editors for the Journal of Prisoners on Prisons.  The link examines the frequency or calls to the Office of the Correctional Investigator and the efforts by Anne Kelly, recently appointed as head of Corrections Canada, to implement a new approach to the violence inside the prisons, including the over-reliant use of pepper spray.  The link identifies aging, handicap, and mental health needs that are unmet and without improvement.  Related article: The Conversation – Claire Bodkin, Matthew Bonn, Shelia Wildeman   Fuelling a crisis: Lack of treatment for opioid use in Canada’s prisons and jails    Related article:  Gotham Gazette (N.Y.) – Janos Marton  Coronavirus, Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
MPs questioning top prison, parole board officials about case of woman murdered by parolee

This particular case seems to upset everybody – victim’s family, parole board officials, even the House.  In January of 2020, 22-year-old Marylène Levesque was killed by Eustachio Gallese, who was out on day parole at the time and living in a half-way house after serving 15 years of a life sentence for killing his ex-wife in 2004.  He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in Levesque’s death last month.  Now, the question is how did a wife-murderer get a day parole to be with another victim?

CBC News – Katie Nicholson
Minnesota program offers ‘blueprint’ for pursuing perpetrators of domestic violence

This link is to another of the Domestic Violence Series, including a ride-along with St. Paul police responding to a domestic violence call and detailing how the call was handled.  The major decision about whether to change or not is taken from the victim and given police and prosecutors.  The priority pursuit of perpetrators who have fled the scene before police arrival has gone from 73 to 8 days.  The Blueprint calls for follow-up as well in an effort to establish support systems for the victim.   CBC News – Julie Ireton   Three days at Pigeon Lake

Public News Services (Los Angeles, CA)
L.A. County Supervisors Mull Alternatives to Incarceration

With the intriguing title Care First, Jails Last!  Los Angeles version of the city council has floated a report to the city government that responds to the jail and prison reform movements.  The report is looking to temper prison sentencing by psychiatric services and restorative practices instead.  LA prisons and jails constitute the third largest system in the US and holds approximately 17,000, 30% of which need mental health services and a further 60% suffer addictions.  The report recommends hubs, community capacity building, housing, mental health access, restorative justice principles.   Care First, Jail Last – Health and Racial Justice Strategies for Safer Communities Los Angeles County Alternatives to Incarceration Work Group Final Report: (94 page downloadable PDF with an Executive Summary)