Indigenous rights…

Oct. 19, 2020 

CBC News – Catherine Tunney
Indigenous services minister calls raid on N.S. fishing facilities an ‘assault’ on Mi’kmaw people – Marc Miller calls on RCMP to keep the peace as Nova Scotia fishery dispute escalates

The issue is the enforcement of the rights of the Mi’kmaw to harvest lobster and the willingness of the RCMP to enforce the treaty rights.   “These unacceptable acts of violence, including the assault on [Sipekne’katik Chief Mike] Sack with threats and intimidation, some racist in nature, cannot and will not fetter the right of the people to pursue a moderate livelihood.”  All involved are now calling for calm.  In the meantime, advocates and critics alike are exchanging constitutional and legal references to establish the legal parameters of the issues.   Related article:  Judy Wilson-Raybould   Pam Palmeter   Related article: Toronto Star – Tiffany Gooch  Violence against Mi’kmaw lobster fishers is an act of terror   Related article: CBC News – Cassidy Chisholm   Man charged with arson after vehicle fire outside lobster pound in New Edinburgh, N.S.  Related article: Globe and Mail – Greg Mercer   ‘We’re being targeted now’: Mi’kmaq chief wants military called in to N.S. lobster clashes, attacks

 Guardian (UK) – Robyn Oxley, Australian Indigenous Desk
Defunding the police and abolishing prisons in Australia are not radical ideas – Ongoing Aboriginal deaths in custody, high rates of incarceration, and police brutality require us to dismantle these systems

Like Canada, Australia has a high percentage Indigenous people locked up – 28% – with a much smaller percentage of the population – 2%.  Like us as well, “…in 2016, we knew that approximately 46% in Australians prisons were incarcerated for non-violent offences. The cost of incarceration of people in prisons for non-violent offences equates up to $1.8bn nationwide.” Defunding police is not so radical in the face of “living in a society where acts of violence are accepted because a blue uniform is worn or where racist legislation exists.”

Forbes (US) – Walter Pavlo
US Attorney States Federal Inmates on Home Confinement Will Return To Prison Once “Pandemic Is Declared Over”

The news is out on the future of those presently furloughed from US federal prisons because of the pandemic.  Once the pandemic is declared over, those sent home will be returned to prison.  There is no indication at this point if the time under house arrest at home will have any impact on the amount of time left to serve. “So it’s my understanding that Mr. Doost is being re-evaluated once he crosses that threshold and at that point potentially transferred to home confinement. Now, I want to be clear that in the BOP’s program [home confinement under the Barr memo], it’s a transfer until the end of the pandemic and then a return to prison if the pandemic is declared over, unlike compassionate release, which is just a — which is a release, essentially, to home confinement.”    Related article: Reuters News –  Peter Eisler, Linda So, Jason  Szep, Grant Smith and Ned Parker   Dying Inside: The Hidden Crisis in America’s Jails – Part 1   Why 4,998 died in U.S. jails without getting their day in court    Related article: (Ft Lauderdale, FL) – Christian De La Rosa    Sheriff ‘highly disgusted’ at deputies who didn’t help woman giving birth in jail cell   Related article: N.Y. Times – Allyson Waller   Man Sentenced to Life Over Theft of Hedge Clippers Is Granted Parole – Before 2017, a person in Louisiana could be sentenced to life in prison after receiving a fourth nonviolent conviction under the state’s habitual offender law.

Toronto Star – Nadine Yousef
Majority of gun fatalities in Ontario are suicides by older men in rural areas, new study find

The results of this study were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and speak about the period from 2002 – 2018.  “Of 2,700 (gun related) fatalities in that period, 68 per cent were due to self-harm — and most were middle-aged or older men living in rural Ontario across all income levels.”  Research Dr. David Gomez reminds us that psychiatric services are less available, guns are more common in rural areas and are more lethal in suicide.  The death rate is just over 50% for those 45 and older and higher as well for higher income levels.

 CBC News – Logan Turner
As Ontario eyes correctional expansions in the north, skepticism, alternatives to incarceration emerge

There are surprisingly few details available about the proposed new prison for Thunder Bay and what is available is prompting critical objection for the single focus on the prison and not on programs or even alternatives to prison.  Critics, including the guards’ union officials and the Indigenous People, are calling the decision “a knee jerk reaction,” in spite of the long term overcrowding at both Thunder Bay and Kenora Jail.

Lawyer’s Daily – Bhavan Sodhi
Jessop file: It is never too late to correct a wrong

Guess what is the total number of years served by innocent people convicted of a crime in Canada?  23 Canadians  and 210 years known to date with another 37 years about to be acknowledged in BC, one Phillip Tallio. The recent revelations around the Christine Jessup case have highlighted the work of the Innocence Project (Author Sodhi is a director of the project). .“However, Tallio is not alone. Over the past three decades, the problem of wrongful conviction has become an accepted reality of our Canadian criminal justice system. A number of factors contribute to wrongful conviction and imprisonment, including erroneous eyewitness identification and testimony, police and prosecutorial misconduct, false confessions, over-reliance on in-custody informants, and unsound forensic science or its misuse.”  Related article: Toronto Star – Jeremy Grimaldi   Was it him who cried out, ‘please God, help me’? Christine Jessop’s mother on the questions that come after learning who killed her daughter

The Marshall Project (US)
The System:

A four week mini-series by e-mail.  This is a novel approach to the availability of research and advocacy material.  The four week series, starting Oct. 20, will address: policing, bail, trails and prison.  One needs to sign up for the e-mails.   Web site is full of excellent material on current topics.