Still there…

Oct 1, 2020

National RJ Symposium: Amplify, Invite and Modify
Call for presenters – Deadline Oct. 5, 2020 – Virtual Symposium Nov. 16, 17



Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium –

BC Associations of Restorative Justice –   (New site)


CBC News – Benjamin Shingler, Julia Page, Sarah Leavitt
Racism at Quebec hospital reported long before troubling death of Atikamekw woman – Video recorded of Joyce Echaquan’s death points to longstanding problems in the health system

Echaquan checked into the St. Joliet Hospital the Centre hospitalier de Lanaudière with stomach pains and two days later she was dead.  The hospital’s reputation was already known and even documented in the Viens Commission.  She used her cell phone to record moments of interaction with the staff.  (cf video).  Paul-Émile Ottawa, chief of Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan, advises his people to seek medical aid elsewhere:  “The racism problems at [the Joliette] hospital did not start yesterday… Even during the commission we came to devote a whole week to listen to the testimonies of the people of Manawan who suffered discrimination in this hospital.”  Related article: Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles   Indigenous woman who endured racist slurs as she lay dying prompts calls for action from Ottawa

CTV News – Nicole Bogart
‘Every child matters’: Orange Shirt Day goes virtual amid COVID-19

Started seven years ago, and one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, wear-an-orange shirt day is meant to recall the Indigenous’ child’s experience at the residential school.  It is also meant to draw attention to the long standing disparity of treatment in funding by the government of the health, social and educational needs of Indigenous children, a responsibility of both the federal and provincial governments.  “Orange Shirt Day is named in memory of Phyllis Webstad’s favourite shirt, one she wore and had taken away from her on her first day at a residential school in 1973.”

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Memo reveals ‘shocking’ police misuse of COVID-19 database, say rights groups

The revelation of the use of Covid-19 database for system wide police inquiry has set privacy advocates reeling.  There is no question if the privacy violation happened:  “Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General said an audit of the COVID-19 database — a controversial and now-shuttered portal for first responders — revealed “many” searches violating the province’s directive that the tool be used cautiously and with precision.”   Advocates say that the careless setup provisions for the database made abuse inevitable.

The (US) – Piper French
California Prison Guard Union Responsible for ‘Bullseye’ Ad Donates $1 Million to Jackie Lacey’s Re-election Campaign – Late-stage donations to the Los Angeles DA race increase concerns about the influence of law enforcement money on politics.

The link is to yet another tone deaf political outbreak and worse yet.  Jackie Lacey is a Black District Attorney in Los Angeles who has a reputation for pursing the death penalty against Blacks and refusing to charge misbehaving police officers.  “California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), a union that represents prison guards, posted an ad online depicting a bullseye target placed over a photo of Black state Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer—a move that many lawmakers interpreted as a racist threat.”  Pushback by justice advocates resulted in the union placing the $1 million in Lacey supportive PAC’s.   Related article: CNN – Ray Sanchez and Elizabeth Joseph   Breonna Taylor grand juror suggests case was misrepresented to the public   Related article: The Atlantic – Jemele Hill   Stop Calling Breonna Taylor’s Killing a ‘Tragedy’ – Casting deaths like hers as unavoidable accidents shifts blame to Black people and undermines the cause of reform.

The Sentencing Project (US) – Josh Rovner
Youth Justice under the Coronavirus: Linking Public Health Protections with the Movement for Youth Decarceration

Covid-19 continues to take its toll among incarcerated youth.  The virus has turned up in youth facilities in 35 states and has infected both prisoners and staff.  “This report summarizes lessons learned through the first months of the pandemic, focusing on system responses, both positive and negative, to slow the virus’s spread and to protect the safety and wellbeing of youth in the juvenile justice system while keeping the public informed. Drops in admissions during the pandemic, alongside decisions to release youth at a higher rate than during ordinary times, buttress the long-standing case that youth incarceration is largely unnecessary. Jurisdictions must limit the virus’s damage by further reducing the number of incarcerated youth.”   Full Report:  ( A 27 page pdf)

CNN (US) – Ashish Prashar and DeAnna Hoskins
How Biden could make up for his criminal justice mistakes

Two justice reform advocates are offering an analysis that pushes Presidential Candidate Joe Biden on justice issues.  Most reformers are aware of the role of Biden in the 1994 federal crime bill and its disastrous consequences for mass incarceration.  The reformers are saying that the politicos of that time propped up racism and minority discrimination.  “As scholars like Michelle Alexander have laid bare, The American justice system is designed to keep people of color oppressed It is not broken. Many have argued, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Policies that promise change but do not address the structural racism in our justice system are empty. In fact, Biden, who is leading in the polls, helped draft that 1994 crime bill, which led to increased federal financial support of local police departments and their militarization.”

Washington Post (US)
999 people have been shot and killed by police in the past year

As shootings by police become more publicly visible, the Post set up a databank for the incidents starting in 2015 – over 5,000 since.  This link gives the police shootings for 2019 – almost 1,000.  The databank will help researchers but equally should lead people to question why so many, especially when compared internationally.  Most victims of police shootings are young, Black and male.  (graphs in link as well.)

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Alexi Jones
Correctional Control 2018: Incarceration and supervision by state

The link’s information is somewhat dated (December 2018) but still may be helpful in any analysis of the total in the US under some sort of criminal sentence.  The numbers do not make allowance for efforts to reduce mass incarceration nor to reduce in response to Covid-19.  A startling 6.7 million people in 2018 are under correctional control when the parole system is included; 2.3 million actually behind bars at the local, state or federal level.  “Understanding correctional control beyond incarceration gives us a more accurate and complete picture of punishment in the United States, showing the expansive reach of our criminal justice system. This is especially true at the state level, as some of the states that are the least likely to send someone to prison are the most likely to put them under community supervision. Given that most criminal justice reform will need to happen at the state and local levels, it is crucial for states to assess not only their incarceration rates, but whether their “alternatives” to incarceration are working as intended.”  The real harm of the correctional system is made worse by the parole system.

Art Forum (US) – Rachel Kushner
Carceral Aesthetics:  Nicole R. Fleetwood in conversation with Rachel Kushner

This is an introduction / commentary on the state of prison art today and an interview with Fleetwood around her latest publication:  Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (2020).  Fleetwood has taken the experience of visiting family members incarcerated and an abolitionist belief into a diverse perspectives deriving from the personal, the sociological and the political, weaving an extraordinary and ground breaking thread into art history.  She says she is “very influenced by what formerly incarcerated artists have to say about the relationship between artmaking and being relegated to the status of disposable and captive subjects.”    Related article: Hill Times (Canada) – Laura Ryckewaert    New Senate art display is the first ever to feature Black artists 


Institute for Research on Canada’s Public Policy – Dean Herd, Yuna Kim and Christine Carrasco, with commentaries by Sherri Torjman, Alain Noël and Ron Kneebone
Canada’s Forgotten Poor? Putting Singles Living in Deep Poverty on the Policy Radar –

The September 20, 2020 report (both the full report and a summary are available in downloadable PDF) is focused on 69,000 single persons who received social assistance and living below the poverty level in 2016.  While outside the immediate Covid-19 impact, the report presents a considerable different picture of this group, the gender, age and educational levels.  “One of the key issues highlighted by the report is the fact that public income supports for single individuals living in poverty — in the form of social assistance, tax credits and supplementary benefits — are considerably less generous than those for families.”   Related article: Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) – Poverty Trends 2020 (October 1, 2020)   (CPJ presents these needs in the context of rights of Canadians)