Youth in focus…

Oct 21, 2020

Campaign for Youth Justice (US)
WINNING THE CAMPAIGN: State Trends in Fighting the Treatment of Children as Adults in the Criminal Justice System 2005 – 2020

The link gives both the current status and the trending in the way the states handle criminal matters involving youth.  The information applies to the age of offenders and the practice of charging juvenile offenders as adults.  The trending includes efforts on the part of the states to mitigate harm and six recommendations.  The work of this project will shortly be handed off to the Sentencing Project ( )   Related article: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – by Ashley Thomann,  Latocia Keyes, Amanda Ryan and Genevieve Graaf   Intervention Response to the Trauma-Exposed, Justice-Involved Female Youth: A Narrative Review of Effectiveness in Reducing Recidivism   Related article: American Spectator – Pat Nolan  Should Young Teens Who Commit Serious Crimes Die in Prison? – The case of Brett Jones will be heard by the Supreme Court Nov. 3.

Related article: NBC News – Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff   Lawyers say they can’t find the parents of 545 migrant children separated by Trump administration – About two-thirds of the 1,000-plus parents separated from their kids under a 2017 pilot program were deported before a federal judge ordered that they be found.   Related article: The Sentencing Project – Chris Uggen, Ryan Larson, Sarah Shannon, and Arleth Pulido-Nava   Locked Out 2020: Estimates of People Denied Voting Rights Due to a Felony Conviction – 5.2 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of felony disenfranchisement, or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes   Related article: Elections Canada  Voting by Incarcerated Electors

 Armaghi News (Ireland) – Staff
Prison mums using Zoom to read bedtime stories to their kids

Here’s an easy and flexible humane response to the past shutdown and after solitary confinement from the Covid virus:  mothers reading bedtime stories to their children using Zoom.  So far, the effort has resulted in over 20,000 such family visits from wat is described as “A pilot project at Northern Ireland’s only female prison facility was launched in August to provide additional contact for mums with children at home or those placed in foster care.”   Already termed a ‘huge success,” the Hydebank Wood prison allows visits between 5-7 and includes bedtime stories and homework help.

 Pew Foundation (US) – Jake Horowitz  
California Criminal Justice Reforms Can Safely Shorten Probation, Parole Terms

California bill AB 1850 has undertaken an effort to re-design the present supervision of peole on parole or supervision.  A lot of the changes are focused on the cost of revocation of parole for minor rule breaking: “In California, more than 300,000 people1 in 98 adult residentswere under some form of mandatory supervision at that time. Incarceration for supervision revocations costs state taxpayers at least $2 billion annually. Just among those on felony probation, there were more than 14,500 revocations to prison or jail in 2018, primarily for rule violations and new minor offenses.”   Related article: Pew Foundation – Bipartisan Jail Reform Remains a ‘Top Priority’ for Michigan Leaders – Lawmakers advance data-driven criminal justice bills in line with task force recommendations

Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung
Federal government asks court to keep Canada-U.S. pact to prevent ‘influx of refugee claimants’

Back to the third country safe question for Canada in the light of fears that what happens in the US will prompt large numbers of refugees crossing the Canada border.  “In July, the Federal Court ruled the accord unconstitutional because the United States routinely detained asylum seekers in poor conditions. It gave Ottawa six months — until Jan. 22 — to fix the policy and make sure it complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms before the pact becomes invalid…On Friday, the appeal court will hear a motion by the federal government to extend the deadline until a full appeal can be heard on a later date.”  Critics say that the government has squandered the time to fix the constitutional issue. The real impact will not be known until the land border re-opens on Nov. 21.   Related article: Canadian Lawyer – Michael Spratt   The U.S. justice system is broken   Related article: Miami Herald –    Broward jail leaders fired after another mentally ill inmate gives birth in her cell, BSO says

Women in (UK) – The Nelson Trust, Together Women, Anawim and Brighton Women’s Centre
Report Launch: The Case for Sustainable Funding for Women’s Centres

The report tries to show the need for a new model of funding given the inadequacies of the present model of piecemeal and silo funding, a critical financing problem for all non-government agencies.  The group is requesting core funding and “guidance to local commissioners to ensure a network of appropriate services is available nationwide.”  (For full report, click towards the bottom of the intro.)  Related article: Prison Reform Trust   PRT comment: Sustainable funding for women’s centres

HuffPost (Canada) – Ryan Maloney
 RCMP ‘Let Down’ Mi’kmaw Fishers, Indigenous Services Marc Miller Says After Violence In Nova Scotia – “It is a disgrace to see these threats and acts of intimidation and violence take place in this country.” 

The tensions in Nova Scotia’s dispute between Indigenous and white fishers continues but now with assessments of the effort of the RCMP to secure an equal justice for all.  The Indigenous are quick to point out that what is in dispute, namely the rights of the Indigenous fishers, establishes the parameters as nation-to-nation rights beyond the racism issues. “A 1999 Supreme Court ruling, known as the Marshall decision, affirmed the Mi’kmaq treaty rights to fish for a “moderate livelihood.”   Related article: Good Men Project – Samuel Granger   Violence Is Never the Answer, Unless You’re White and Armed – Finding ways to paint a disempowered people as more of a threat than their more armed and powerful oppressors has long been a classic tactic of upholding the continued oppression of said people.

Toronto Star – Laura Armstrong
Police use of genetic data like that used to find Christine Jessop’s killer is cause for concern, privacy experts say

The Christine Jessup case recently solved after an innocent conviction has introduced publicly the privacy issues around genetic genealogy.  The practice allows police to compare samples with DNA to DNA records already on file but apart from the criminal data bases and housed on public sites where the volunteer samples have been placed.  “The result is not a DNA match, rather a “family tree” — a long list of potential persons of interest, who share common DNA lineage with the sample found in the crime-scene evidence. Toronto police do not consider genetic genealogy evidence, acting Staff Supt. Peter Code told reporters on Thursday. It is a technique that can lead them to a list of potential persons of interest, he said: a jumping-off point for more classic investigative techniques, including interviewing and poring over historical records.” (Ontario) – Aaron Pickard
Exactly what does a Canadian need to do in order to be pardoned for their crimes? – Since 1970, more than 500,000 Canadians have received pardons and record suspensions

In Canada there is a debate around the pardon and the record suspensions practices and policy.  At one point, a person convicted of a crime could get an actual pardon but for some time now the pardon process has been replaced by a record suspension process which effectively means that the offense still circulates in the background of the offender and he/she must wear the crime like the proverbial scarlet letter.  Here’s an update on process and numbers.