New life…

Oct. 7, 2020

CBC News – Meghan Grant
‘It gave me back my life’: Calgary Drug Treatment Court shows low recidivism rates, cost savings – 76% of grads had no new substantive convictions after graduation

Alicia Myles knows what it is like to focus everything on the next fix, but she also knows what it feels like to kick the addiction.  She is a graduate of the Calgary Drug Treatment Court, an example of why it makes much more sense to treat rather than punish.  “Nothing else matters; day-to-day life doesn’t matter anymore once that addiction kicks in,” said Myles, 32. “You will do anything to get those drugs.”   “Since completing the intensive, minimum one-year program, she’s rebuilt her life and kicked her addiction. Myles has never been charged with another crime.”   Related article: (Halifax)   CANADA: Simple drug possession should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one, experts say – Why are police still charging youth with simple drug possession? The case for decriminalization  Related article: Nation Talk (MB) – MB Government: Province Announces Opening of New Addictions Therapy Program at Women’s Correctional Centre

CTV News – Creeson Agecoutay and Denio Lourenco
Indigenous activist Autumn Peltier vows to hold feds accountable for 61 boil water advisories

Peltier at age 13 in 2018 brought the issue of water rights to the United Nations.  She is the focus of a new film called “The Water Walker” that traces her journey from Wiikwemkoong First Nation in northern Ontario to Manhattan.  The Trudeau government promised to end all long-term water boil advisories on First Nations reserves by March 2021. As of last March, 88 were lifted, but 61 still remain. The film “premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival has put a renewed spotlight on an Indigenous clean water advocate known as the “water warrior.”

Global TV News – Canadian Press
Ontario judge rules intermittent sentence law unfair to Indigenous accused from remote areas

Drunk driving requires a 90 day sentence but the sentence may be served on week-ends.  The law expects the jail to be proximate but to six women who live in Pikangikum, about 225 kilometres north of Kenora, Ontario, where the community is fly-in only, jail is 100’s of kilometres away.  “In a 2-1 ruling, the Ontario Court of Appeal found the provisions of the Criminal Code run afoul of the charter because of their impact on Indigenous offenders.”   Related article: Globe and Mail – Sean Fine   Sentencing law unfair to people on remote reserves, judge rules   (NB Subscription needed for access.)

 CBC News –
QAnon has no place in Saskatchewan politics: Moe – Moe condemns online conspiracy group, says supporters not welcome in his party’s campaign

Premier Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Party do not want support from the US based Qanon right wing Trump supporters.  Daryl Cooper, the Saskatchewan Party candidate for Saskatoon Eastview, resigned his nomination when it was revealed that he had had interactions with the local Qanon.  A statement from the Sask-Party said that both the content and the interaction itself were objectionable and accepted Cooper’s resignation.

 N.Y. Times – Emma Pattee
5 People Who Can Help You Strengthen Your Empathy Muscle – Ever wondered how empathetic you are? Consider the advice of these five people who have spent their lives studying, understanding and practicing empathy.

As the chaos of our political, economic and social climate falls we may do well to refresh our drooping spirits with a large dose of empathy.  Pattee offers five people largely pre-occupied for their lifetime with the questions around what empathy can do for our personal and social lives. Says Pattee: “Empathy is the ability to understand others’ perspectives, feelings and experiences from their point of view, rather than from your own. Research shows that when people are empathetic with someone else’s experience, they are more likely to have a positive view of that person or group.”  On the menu:  Nedra Tawwab, Brenée Brown, Roman Krznaric, Karamo Brown, Leslie Jamison.

Columbia University News (US) – Carla Cantor
The Enduring Love a Child Has for a Parent in Prison – A Columbia study highlights the importance of investing resources in parent-child visitation programs and social support for family members left behind.

This is an especially important notion at a time when the virus has virtually shut down all visiting between family and the incarcerated, especially given the cost of telephones.  “People sometimes assume that incarcerated people are bad parents who do not have positive relationships with their children,” said Larisa Heiphetz, assistant professor of psychology at Columbia and senior author of the study published recently in the Journal of Cognition and Development. “But our research shows that children of incarcerated parents have a great deal of affection for their parents… One-in-28 children in the United States—2.7 million—currently have a parent in state or federal prison. Just 25 years ago, that number was 1-in-125.”   Related article: R  (US) – Corinne Day  A Second Chance for Michiganders

 Chatelaine – Rebecca Gao
What Is A Universal Basic Income—And How Might It Work In Canada?  What it is—and what the arguments are for and against it.

Gao presents some of the social and economic realities uncovered in Canada from the impact of the Covid-19 virus.  The almost one quarter of Canadians who were forced to live on less than $1,000 per month brought the CEEB payments which ended on Oct. 3.  So now what?  Gao offers the pro’s of the guaranteed liveable income and the con’s if the income is to be a permanent social feature of Canada.

Jessica Hutchison
“It’s Sexual Assault. It’s Barbaric”: Strip Searching in Women’s Prisons as State-Inflicted Sexual Assault

“Hutchinson is an advocate for criminalized women. PhD student in social work at Laurier studying the gendered, racialized, colonial impacts of strip searching.”  Abstract and article found in Sage Journal @

 Pike County Courier (US) – Frances Ruth Harris
Pike jail now charges inmates a housing fee Milford. The relative of an inmate says the county’s new pay-to-stay policy is punitive and turns the Pike County Correctional Facility into a debtors’ prison. Officials say the fees are needed to recoup operating costs for taxpayers.

The practice of fees and charges for prisoner room and board is not new, witness the effort to get Florida ex-prisoners their voting franchise.  But the potential of leaving the local jail with a considerable debt, likely visited upon the family as secondary punishment, is daunting with uncertain expectations if unable to pay.