Dry cell…

Nov 10, 2020 –

CBC News –
Federal prison investigators press for changes in use of ‘dry cells’ – Current correctional investigator calls dry cell conditions ‘by far the most restrictive imaginable’

The controversy over the use of segregation in the prison system has reached a new high point.  Two federal Correctional Investigators, one current, Ivan Zinger, the other his predecessor, Howard Sapers, have registered concern over the use of ‘dry celling’.  “Dry celling” is a practice where prisoners are kept in a cell with the lights constantly on, without a flushing toilet or running water, and watched through a glass window and security cameras 24 hours a day, even while using the toilet.”  Lisa Adams suffered 16 days of dry celling because guards thought she was hiding something in her vagina.  The 16 days aggravated a mental condition and Elizabeth Fry is helping to challenge the constitutionality of the practice as ‘cruel and unusual’ and discriminatory for those with disabilities like mental illness.  In Adams’ case, nothing was found.  Sounds suspiciously like solitary by any other name.  https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.5787652?s=03  Related article: CBC Nova Scotia – Shaina Luck  Case challenges ‘horrific’ prison surveillance some consider harsher than solitary confinement   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/court-challenge-prison-solitary-1.5748168

CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition
First trust, then treatment: Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah

This link comes to Smart Justice from the MOMS of Ottawa who offer support to mothers who have sons in prison and who are needful of psychiatric treatment.  This may well be a yardstick for establishing the treatment needed for the prisoners, starting with establishing personal and professional trust as a treatment context.  “Saadia Sediqzadah… a psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who works primarily with patients who experience psychosis. She speaks with Chattopadhyay about how she builds trust with her patients and the role of police in mental health calls.”  https://www.cbc.ca/radio/sunday/the-sunday-magazine-for-november-8-2020-1.5792672  (A 23 minute audio)  Related article: Guardian (PEI) – Ryan Ross   Mental illness support lawsuit proceeding in P.E.I., judges call for class action legislation  https://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/mental-illness-support-lawsuit-proceeding-in-pei-judges-call-for-class-action-legislation-518274/    Related article: The Marshall Project (US) – Christie Thompson  When Going to the Hospital Is Just as Bad as Jail – A new lawsuit claims Black Americans with mental illness are being forced into traumatic emergency room stays.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/11/08/when-going-to-the-hospital-is-just-as-bad-as-jail

 Mother Jones.com – Madison Pauly
Private Prison Stocks Drop as the Reality of Biden’s Win Sinks In – But quitting for-profit detention won’t be so easy.

“Stock prices for the country’s two largest prison companies, the GEO Group and CoreCivic, have fallen 14 percent and 19 percent respectively since Election Day.”  Prisons for profit hold about 9% of the prison population.  Biden has promised to eliminate them, a serious threat to both GEO and CoreCivic, who depend for their existence on federal government contracts.  Besides criminal convicted people, the private prisons have been holding some adult immigration detainees (not the children).  Overall, the private prisons hold about 17% of those arrested by federal agencies such as ICE who are heavily depended on the private prisons.  https://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2020/11/private-prison-biden-stocks/   Related article: Sacramento Bee (US) –  Bruce Western and Emily Wang    California must reduce jail and prison populations to fight COVID-19 — and racism   
https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article246788412.html#storylink=cpy   Related article: Lincoln Journal Star (Nebraska)  – Todd Cooper   Most Nebraskans voted to abolish slavery as criminal punishment. But 32% voted to keep it  https://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/most-nebraskans-voted-to-abolish-slavery-as-criminal-punishment-but-32-voted-to-keep-it/article_04c5e813-6256-5e2e-8cc1-349972729d64.html   (Ed note: Most US states abolished slavery but some keep an exception that allowed slave labour from prisoners, adult and children.  Nebraska, which no longer actually practices slave workers in prisons, still saw a substantial number vote against Amendment 1 to abolish it.  Some commentators think the difficulty of understanding the amendment explains the approximately one-third support.  Texas still has the exception and punishes prisoners who refuse to work.  Prisoners receive little or no wages and are not protected by any labour laws protecting human rights or personal safety in the workplace.)

BC Civil Liberties Association
RCMP Commissioner Sued by Civil Liberties Group for Preventing Release of Watchdog Report into Police Spying

The BC Civil Liberties have had enough waiting.  They want to report on the RCMP spying on the Indigenous nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.  The complaint also alleges that the RCMP had shared the information with both the oil companies and the National Energy Board.  Turned over to the RCMP watchdog, the Civilian Complaints Review Commission, the report was issued to Superintendent Brenda Lucki in 2017 and has been idle since, in spite of assurance that the obligatory response would be forthcoming in six months.  https://bccla.org/news/2020/11/press-release-rcmp-commissioner-sued-by-civil-liberties-group-for-preventing-release-of-watchdog-report-into-police-spying/   Related article: The New Republic (US) – Ankush Khardori    How to De-Trumpify the Justice Department – After four years of corruption and venality, can the country’s law enforcement agency be saved? https://newrepublic.com/article/160001/de-trumpify-justice-department  Related article: CBC News – Brigitte Bureau    Immigration detention centres emptied over fear of possible COVID-19 outbreaks – Lawyers have long argued confinement is inhumane. Pandemic lockdowns may have convinced Canadians, too     https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/immigration-detainees-released-covid-1.5795659?cmp=newsletter_CBC%20News%20Morning%20Brief_2530_217137

CBC News – Amanda Pfeffer
Province’s move to hire fraud investigators angers social assistance recipients

While most of the country is struggling on ways and means to off-set the deleterious income effect, including a basic guaranteed income, Ontario under Doug Ford is reverting to long rejected of policing welfare and is spending $1.5 million on hiring fraud inspectors.  Critics say the money would be better used helping those with disabilities cope with the impact of Covid-19.  “They will spend [money] on anything other than actually helping the people ODSP is designed to help,” said Jessica-Faye Watters, ODSP (Disability) recipient and advocate.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/social-assistance-recipients-and-advocates-angry-over-priority-to-hire-fraud-inspectors-1.5791196  Related article:  CBC News – Malone Mullin   Federal NDP eye basic income pilot in N.L., but doubts linger about willpower to create one   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/basic-income-momentum-1.5795673

KXII.com – Dallas, TX  (US) – Braylee McCoy
Motivational speaker shares story with Sherman ISD students

A lifer sentenced to 65 years for three years of break-and-enter, Damon West, was released after serving seven years.  Now he is a motivational speaker who delivers his story of crime and prison to high schoolers.  Life is like a coffee bean, he says.  It suffers heat and pressure from boiling water and changes to the new environment.  He says he found out how the coffee bean works from within a maximum security prison.  https://www.kxii.com/2020/11/09/motivational-speaker-shares-story-with-sherman-isd-students/

Huff Post Business – Nichola Saminather, Reuters
TD Bank Says It Won’t Finance Oil And Gas Activities In The Arctic – The move comes after RBC said it wouldn’t finance exploration or development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The headline may be a significant environmental as well as business announcement.  These two banks are saying that they will no longer invest and financially pursue the oil and gas industry in environmentally sensitive areas.  The RBC is now joined by TD Bank is this specific developmental investment, i.e. in the Artic Wildlife Refuge.  The oil and gas loans account for about 1% of total loans from these two banks in Canada.  https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/td-bank-arctic-oil-gas_ca_5faa9eeac5b6f21920dfea6a?ncid=tweetlnkcahpmg00000002