A crack for light…

Sept 28, 2020

CBC News
Nova Scotia premier apologizes for systemic racism in justice system

Details are scarce at this point but Premier Stephen McNeil has apologised to Nova Scotians   and acknowledged that the legal system “has marginalized” Blacks and Indigenous People.  The plan seems to intend a structural shift but nothing to date on what that means.  The link offers a video with the premier.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/apology-justice-racism-nova-scotia-1.5742914

Toronto Star – Douglas Quan
Why Hootsuite’s retreat from deal with U.S. agency ICE may put other companies on notice

Hootsuite is a Vancouver based computer services company under contract, until recently, to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The Canadian company has terminated the contract with ICE citing internal resistance where workers have cited offences against company employees by ICE agents.  “Tom Keiser, CEO of Hootsuite, acknowledged Thursday that the social media management company’s partnership with ICE had led to a “divided company,” prompting the decision to sever ties.”  Curiously, there appears to be a continuing connection to Hootsuite through a US third party vendor.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/09/24/canadas-hootsuite-says-it-has-decided-not-to-do-business-with-us-immigration-and-customs-enforcement-agency.html

Ottawa Citizen – Murray Fallis
Please, Prime Minister Trudeau, let low-risk offenders out of prison – Many health professionals have called on governments to release low-risk offenders to slow COVID-19’s spread. Many provinces are doing just that. But the federal government is not.

“Between February and April, Nova Scotia released 41 per cent of its provincially incarcerated inmates. Ontario wasn’t far behind at 29 per cent. The federal government, which is responsible for federally incarcerated inmates, released a miniscule one per cent.” No speculation here in this link.  The second link provides a Stats Canada statistical update. https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/fallis-please-prime-minister-trudeau-let-the-bike-thieves-out-of-prison/wcm/30fe5263-ece4-4795-80ab-071da932a520/amp/?s=03     Stats Canada:  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200812/dq200812a-eng.htm?CMP=mstatcan

CBC News
Advocates renew calls to reform ‘sensational’ Kingston Penitentiary tours

Prison abolition advocates are objecting to the way tours of the most notorious Canadian prison – Kingston Max – is presented to the public.  Advocates say that those running the Corrections Canada organized tours are pre-occupied with public relations rather than the truth that the penitentiary was a blight on our history and legitimized much unnecessary brutal pain and suffering. Says one former prisoner Ricky Atkinson:   “I would leave a part of it somewhere as a reminder to the iconic past that it had, but you don’t need the whole facility to dramatize the pain and punishment that the government acted on people for 178 years.”   Ottawa U professor Justin Piché set up a panel to speak to the issue and has an electronic booklet to use when taking the tour.  “It’s sensationalism,” said Piché.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/kingston-penitentiary-untold-stories-prisoners-voices-advocates-1.5740053

CFRA News Talk Radio – Josh Pringle
Ottawa Police look to spend $700,000 on new tasers, replacement pistols

In a time when the police are under siege for the disconnect between them and the public they serve, this announcement seems out of place.  Lawyer Michael Spratt sees the request for just under $700,000 for lasers and pistols as a cash grab by Ottawa Police and a refusal of a dozen mental health specialists as a needed alternative.  https://www.iheartradio.ca/580-cfra/news/ottawa-police-look-to-spend-700-000-on-new-tasers-replacement-pistols-1.13594597

Twitter series from John Pfaff (US)


Pfaff is a criminology professor at Fordham University in NY who offers analysis on the most recent Uniform Crime Report for 2019.  As a summary, there does not appear to be change in the stats year over year but there are some oddities.  He brings a unique perspective to the issue of cross race homicide and racism but even more distressing is the stats around the number of children under age 10 in the system, more extensively reported in a second twitter.  He says: “In 2019, we arrested over 2,500 kids UNDER THE AGE OF TEN. Only 177 for serious violence, and 736 for other assaults. That leaves over 1,600 kids UNDER TEN arrested for NON-VIOLENCE. (Original emphasis)   Cf https://twitter.com/JohnFPfaff/status/1310418269346693121

Pro Publica (US) – Andrew Ford, Asbury Park Press
How Criminal Cops Often Avoid Jail

Asbury Park is in New Jersey and has a reputation as a hard place.  There have been 118 serious crimes laid on the doorsteps of serving officers but few even get jail time.  “If the sentencing structure is designed to deter conduct we find particularly reprehensible and it all ends up being lip service, that is outrageous, that’s a fraud,” said Jennifer Bonjean, an attorney who has filed misconduct lawsuits against police departments in New Jersey.  Now the state wants to delete the law that gave the legal system the power to lay the changes and pursue jail time for crooked cops.  In its place a bill that eases penalties for cops.  https://www.propublica.org/article/new-jersey-law-says-criminal-cops-should-go-to-jail-records-reveal-they-often-dont

National Public Radio (US) – Noah Caldwell,  Ailsa Chang,  Jolie Myers
Gasping For Air: Autopsies Reveal Troubling Effects of Lethal Injection

This report is suggesting that state execution by lethal injection in Georgia has some impact not recognized until now.  Autopsies of those executive has revealed a condition pulmonary edema, which involves the lungs filled with fluids.  “”The autopsy findings were quite striking and unambiguous,” says Zivot. He had imagined that lethal injection induced a quick death and would leave an inmate’s body pristine, or at least close to it. But the autopsies told another story.”  The evidence that the injection causes a slow death has been presented for consideration in a number of state federal courts and is currently new evidence in an effort to declare the death penalty unconstitutional.  https://www.npr.org/2020/09/21/793177589/gasping-for-air-autopsies-reveal-troubling-effects-of-lethal-injection?s=03   Related article: The Atlantic Journal Constitution – Christian Boone   Human rights group requests federal intervention in Georgia’s prisons   https://www.ajc.com/news/crime/human-rights-group-requests-federal-intervention-in-georgias-prisons/O7JIQM4XR5D7TGQ77AZ2KTINJM/?s=03   (Ed note:  Four state prisons have been besieged by prison riots over Covid-19 conditions without any press coverage.)   Related article: Hartford Courant – Jovan Bates   The cost of prison phone calls is outrageous  https://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-bates-prison-phone-calls-0926-20200926-vhfyxovf35enja2id5xjyz5faa-story.html?outputType=amp&s=03