Public Inquiry…

July 31, 2020

 Statement from Minister Bill Blair

A perhaps subtle change but significant nonetheless.  People have been clamoring for a full public inquiry with subpoena and sworn testimony instead of the first presented review.  Players or now Commissioners remain the same – MacDonald, McLellan, Fitch – but as a full public inquiry the secrecy is now replaced and the institutions will not be able to refuse to co-operate with impunity.  So far, there is no timeline on the inquiry from the one year allocated to the review.  Link offers Minister Bill Blair’s decision letter.   Related article: The Lawyer’s Daily – Donalee Moulton    N.S. Domestic Violence Court addresses issue of trauma with new project   (“This [project] will address the intersection between victimization and criminalization.”)

CBS News (US) – Clare Hymes
Federal prisons reach grim milestone: 100 inmate deaths from coronavirus

“There are 122 facilities in the federal prison system that hold nearly 129,000 inmates across the country. According to the bureau, over 10,000 inmates have at one point tested positive for the virus, and over 35,000 have been tested.”  The deaths include one Indigenous pregnant woman.  According to Sharon Dolovich, a law professor and director of the UCLA COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, if one were to include all other types of prisons, the resulting death toll is striking: 82,000 inmates have been infected and 735 have died according to the project. It said there were over 19,300 cases among staffers and 56 deaths.   Related article: The Texas Tribune – Jolie McCullough   The coronavirus is keeping Texas prisoners who’ve been approved for parole behind bars   Related article: NY Times – Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count  (The link gives an exhaustive examination with lots of graphs on the prevalence of the Covid-19 by state, by prison clusters, per capita, with an interactive national map, state decreasing, holding their own or increasing…)

Pro Publica – Zipporah Osei, Mollie Simon, Moiz Syed, Lucas Waldron
We Are Tracking What Happens to Police after They Use Force on Protestors – These 68 videos show clear apparent instances of police officers escalating violence during protests. Most departments refused to share details about investigations and discipline or even officers’ names. Here’s what we learned about each case.

This link surely demonstrates the power of the social media available for protest.  The 68 incidents are vividly recorded as they happened and then were presented to the police of the jurisdiction.  Then Pro Publica followed up with the police to see what the outcome was for cases of police abuse of protestors.  The results are distributing, if not surprising, and perhaps also illustrative of the reason for the vehemence in the demands for defunding the police.

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Wendy Sawyer
 Racial inequality is evident in every stage of the criminal justice system – here are the key statistics compiled into a series of charts.

“Recent protests calling for radical changes to American policing have brought much-needed attention to the systemic racism within our criminal justice system. This extends beyond policing, of course: Systemic racism is evident at every stage of the system, from policing to prosecutorial decisions, pretrial release processes, sentencing, correctional discipline, and even re-entry. The racism inherent in mass incarceration affects children as well as adults, and is often especially punishing for people of color who are also marginalized along other lines, such as gender and class.”   Related article: NY Times (US) – Erica L. Green  Virus-Driven Push to Release Juvenile Detainees Leaves Black Youth Behind – After an initial decrease in the youth detention population since the pandemic began, the rate of release has slowed, and the gap between white youth and Black youth has grown.

Davos World Economic Forum – Supriya Garikipati and Uma Kambhampat
 Women leaders are better at fighting the pandemic

What has already been observed in anecdotal format is now substantiated by a formal study with gender leadership specific stats to uphold the thesis: in fact women in leadership have handled the Covid-19 virus better than men.  The opinion, researched by two economics professors from Liverpool and Reading in the UK, presents charts and graphs to sustain their claims.

Ottawa Crime Prevention –
Speakers’ series:

Ed Buller – Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canada: They couldn’t make us disappear A 90 minute presentation recalling the effort by Canada to extinguish Indigenous people: “Beginning with Confederation, Canada has systematically attempted to make “the Indian problem” disappear. Ed Buller will share his knowledge of how Canada’s racist legislation and policies since1867 have systematically eroded Indigenous culture, spirituality and resources in efforts to “civilize” Indigenous peoples to fit within general Canadian society. In spite of these efforts, they failed although it has resulted in an unsustainable level of incarceration of Indigenous men and women in prisons, marginalization of Indigenous people and persistent run-ins with police.”   (Some sound trouble early but corrected.)

Rev. Anthony Bailey – Understanding Systemic Anti-Black Racism (A 72 minute presentation on systemic racism – presentation itself starts at 3 minute mark.)   Related article: CBC News – Jessica Cheung    Black people and other people of colour make up 83% of reported COVID-19 cases in Toronto – 21% of reported cases affect Black people, who make up only 9% of the city’s overall population

Courier Journal (Kentucky) – Kungu Njuguna, ACLU of KY
Kentuckians released from prison during the Coronavirus need support

Kentucky has been releasing prisoners to protect against the Covid-19 virus.  But release by itself does not resolve the problem.  At the link a number of those released and advocates offer opinions about what helps are needed to successful re-entry, particularly in the light of the virus threat.

CCN Link to Obama’s Eulogy for John Lewis: