Always the children…

Sept 17, 2020

Welcome to Diana’s Place, Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa’s new Child and Family Centre Program!

Zoe West from Elizabeth Fry is offering a virtual (electronic) tour of their new Child and Family Centre program. She also showed us their new space, Diana’s Place, a safe place for reconnecting mothers and children. This program works to support women as they reconnect with their children from whom they have been isolated.  During the virtual tour you and your team will learn more about Elizabeth Fry’s goals and supports for women and their children, what services we provide, and how clients can access the Child and Family Centre and its programming.  Be in touch with Zoe to schedule a tour for your group:  Zoe West, Child and Family Centre Coordinator ( or Diane Serré, Manager Community Programs and Services (  To join a scheduled tour:   (The tour consists of a 30 minute presentation followed by 30 minutes for questions / discussions.)

Global News (SK) – Anna McMillan
Data gap: Governments don’t track how many inmates have been in care

A surprising piece of news for us juvenile justice complacent Canadians – we may have a ‘care-to-prison’ pipeline.  The truth is no one keeps track of how many children in care wind up in prison.  The Saskatchewan government and Corrections Canada do not track the information saying the information to too difficult and too privacy sensitive.   Michelle Stewart, an associate professor with the University of Regina’s justice studies department, thinks otherwise:  “It’s really emblematic of a system that needs to address systemic racism, the impacts of colonialism and the ongoing impacts of residential schools and intergenerational trauma.”    Related article: Dalhousie University – Kristyn Anderson and Kirstin Weerdenburg    Why are police still charging youth with simple drug possession? The case for decriminalization   Relate article: The Guardian (PEI) – Michael Robar New program designed to empower P.E.I. youth to have safe conversations around mental health, suicide   CBC News (Thunder Bay) – Residential schools cast long shadow on LGBTQ2 community in northern Ontario – Evangelical group ran residential schools, now provides counselling and programs for Indigenous youth   Related article: Now Magazine (Toronto) – Jasmine Ramze Rezaee, Carolyn Ferns, Abigail Doris and Janet Davis   Op-ed: Why we need universal child care in Canada – Fifty years after the call for a national program, child care continues to be neglected, mismanaged and underfunded in Canada

NBC News (US)
Lawyers allege abuse of migrant women by gynecologist for Georgia ICE detention center – “I was brought up by the American dream that you treat people the way you want to be treated,” said a nurse who filed a whistleblower complaint.

More on yesterday’s initial report from a whistleblower Dawn Wooten who alleges that ICE authorities are doing unwarranted and undesired medical procedures:  “…immigrant women are routinely being sent to a gynecologist who has left them bruised and performed unnecessary procedures, including hysterectomies.”  The doctor, who three lawyers identified as Dr. Mahendra Amin, has been previously involved with defrauding Medicaid and Medicare and with other doctors has returned $525,000; the facility is a privately run detention center by  LaSalle Corrections.   Related article: Global News (Canada) – Elliott Spagat and Jeff Amy, The Associated Press   Democrats to investigate claims Georgia migrant detention centre forcibly sterilizing women    Related article: N.Y. Times   Michael Wilson and Edgar Sandoval   Documents Reveal How the Police Kept Daniel Prude’s Death Quiet – Officials in Rochester, N.Y., spent months trying to suppress video footage of the police encounter that led to Mr. Prude’s death.   Related article: The Marshall Project / Crosscuts – Levi Pulkkinen    Prison’s Other Death Sentence:   Podcast | Delay, negligence and death in Washington state’s prisons     Related article: N.Y. Times    Inquiry Ordered Into Claims Immigrants Had Unwanted Gynecology Procedures – Members of Congress and the D.H.S. are investigating claims by a nurse and lawyers that immigrant detainees in Georgia were complaining of unwanted procedures and rough treatment.

Seven Days Vermont (US) – Paul Heintz
State’s Attorney Sarah George to End Cash Bail in Chittenden County

Vermont’s State Attorney has instructed her prosecutors to revise the request for cash bail practices in one of Vermont’s counties and is pursuing a state wide ban on the largest contributor to remand jailing while awaiting trial.  But still a judge may impose the cash bail without request from a prosecutor.  “We’re holding poor people in jail and completely destabilizing their lives and the lives of their families to put them in a place that is always violent and dangerous and prone to create more trauma and harm,” she (George) said in an interview. “It’s just appalling.”  She also says that contrary to public and legal perceptions that cash bail is needed to ensure later court appearance there is no evidence to support the claim thus far.  “There’s just enormous disruption that pretrial bail can bring to someone’s life,” she said. “If they can’t afford to pay it, they can lose their job; they can lose their housing; they can lose their kids; they can lose their relationships.”  Related article: Prison Policy Initiatives (US) – Lucius Couloute   Nowhere to Go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people   Related article: The (US) – Daniel Nichanian   Criminal Justice Reform in the States: Spotlight on Legislatures  (A useful survey of the recent legislative additions to the criminal legal system, often adding further post-release penalties.)  Related article: The (US) – Daniel Nichanian  (A dated report: April 2020)  Virginia Takes a Big Step against Criminalizing Poverty

Miami Herald (US) – Editorial (Sept 13, 2020)
DeSantis & Co. don’t want ex-prisoners to vote. Do an end run around them, Floridians!

DeSantis is a Republican governor of Florida who directed a court appeal asking that the return of the franchise to vote be withheld until all fines and fees are paid by the returning citizens.  The Herald editorial takes exception to this further criminal penalty and advocates and notes that the notion of returning the vote has majority support in the state by referendum in 2018 by a two thirds approval.  The paper is supporting a fund raising program to pay off those fines for the over 770,000 former felons – 4,000 already empowered.   Related article: N.Y. Times    For Prisoners in the West, the Virus and the Wildfires Are Colliding Threats – Prisoners are more vulnerable than ever to the twin crises of the pandemic and a historic wildfire season.    Related article: Prison Policy Initiatives – Wanda Bertram   Prisons and jails are rolling back free phone and video calls. They should be extending them instead – Amidst a pandemic and recession, policymakers should be fighting for extended — if not permanent — financial relief for incarcerated people and their families.   

Toronto Star – Sara Mojtehedzadeh
‘Billionaire wealth has bounced back’: Canada’s 20 richest people saw their fortunes grow by $37 billion during COVID-19, study says

Canada has a reality to face on issues around income, hunger insecurity, precarious employment and such a blatant defiance of all norms of fairness.  “Canada’s 20 richest people saw their fortunes grow by $37 billion during pandemic, says a new study — as low-wage workers were disproportionately hit by COVID-19’s economic fallout… While the pandemic has been the most “economically catastrophic times in Canadian history for most families,” it has also served as a reminder that “inequality is really spinning out of control in this country,” said Alex Hemingway, an economist with the CCPA’s (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives) British Columbia office.”