Bail and covid…

Nov 19, 2020 

Lawyer’s Daily – John Schofield
Ontario Court of Appeal rules pandemic should not trigger automatic bail reviews

While the advocates are trying to reduce risk to prisoners from Covid-19, the Ontario Court of Appeal has rejected the notion of automatic bail review on those denied bail but not yet convicted.  The Court “has found in a split decision that the pandemic does not in every case constitute a material change in circumstances automatically warranting a new bail hearing.”

 Friends of Crime Prevention of Kitchener-Waterloo 2020 fall events

The link provides a listing with links of events sponsored by the KW group this season starting with a focus on Keeping Families Safe from domestic violence consequent to the stay-at-home provisions under the Covid-19 pandemic.  The second event is about Human Trafficking in the region.  The notice also reminds us of the original front porch chats formats, now in a variety of languages including Farsi, Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish.  The K-W groups has had a remarkable success in the arena of Crime prevention and offers its secrets in an on-line downloadable booklet while the link offers a farewell to the dynamic Christiane Sadeler.  Smart Justice joins in the tribute to Christiane’s guiding and extra-ordinary involvement:  “Christiane has left an indelible mark on our community and will be fondly remembered for her vision, brilliance, dedication and incredible heart for all people and how we can live in community.”

Kelly Clarkson Show (California) –
The brothers-in-blue and Palma…

This link is a preview of another CNN show with Lisa Ling coming Nov. 29.  Lisa visits Soledad prison and finds an educational outreach from Palma High School where students can visit inside the prison with prisoners and discuss the great themes of Literature that eventually become the access to a great deal of personal growth and personal revelation on the part of both the high schoolers and the prisoners, the format for discovering common humanity.  “One particular student named Sy made such an impression that the inmates pulled together what little money they had to donate $30,000 for his school fees. Kelly chats with Sy and a former inmate Jason to hear how this program has positively impacted the students and the inmates.”   Says Mia Mirassou, one of the co-ordinators of the prison visitation program, now on Zoom with re-broadcast video available to the entire Soledad population, “these Zooms airing inside to 5,000 men give hope.”   Related article: Washington Post (US) – Joel Castón and Tyrone Walker   D.C.’s promising initiative for young incarcerated people

The (US) – Elise Swain
Anti-Nuclear Pacifists Get Federal Prison Terms for Nonviolent Protest – The most dedicated peace activists you’ve never heard of are headed to federal prison amid a deadly pandemic.

The quiet consequences of an effort by peace activists in Georgia require that the noise level be raised considerably.  Those who remember the protests around the Vietnam War and lived through the threats of non-compliance with government, saw their peers drafted and later saw the KIA notices, we may all wish for a better outcome for those courageous souls who still voice objection to nuclear weapons, all the more when the stability of those with their fingers on the buttons is a further issue.  The link may help awareness of a continuing threat to our safety and security.  It is unquestionably an issue for determining what keeps us safe and secure.

CBC News – Power and Politics – Vassy Kapelos

The controversy surfaced in early October, and former director general of criminal justice with Public Safety, Mary Campbell, speaks on incarceration, healing lodges, and Terri Lynne McClintic.  McClintic was moved from prison to healing lodge and sparked a number of objections that she was moved without merit to ‘an easier life.’  The conversation – serves to bring a sharper focus to healing rather than punishment.

VERA Institute (US) – Nicholas Turner
Reimagining Prison Web Report

This reports presents a bold connection and an equally bold challenge to re-imagine prisons.  The report also offers comparison with other place that have begun the journey to think differently about prisons.  In the words of director Nicholas Turner:   “This document—unlike anything we have ever produced at the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera)—is about the possibility of radical change. It asserts a dramatic reconsideration of the most severe criminal sanction we have: incarceration. It articulates a view that is sure to be alien to many. Yet we need not accept as a given the way we do things now, and we encourage you to envision a different path. Indeed, our vision has concrete reference points. It is in the hope, daring, and promise of a small unit for young adults in a Connecticut maximum-security facility. It is inspired by what we learned studying and visiting prisons in Germany, where the very conditions and operations of that entire system are defined by a commitment to uphold human dignity—a commitment born of that country’s coming to terms with the Holocaust. And it is rooted in our own obligation—now physically exhibited in a museum and memorial in Montgomery, Alabama—to acknowledge and atone for our brutal history of dehumanization and racial oppression and to understand how it has shaped what we do today in our justice system. Our mission is to link these things and suggest a path forward that is as much about reconciliation as it is about criminal justice reform.”

N.Y. Times (US) – Michelle Alexander
The Newest Jim Crow – Recent criminal justice reforms contain the seeds of a frightening system of “e-carceration.”

The lady who changed the face of the US justice reform movement (The New Jim Crow) has another insightful offering for justice advocates.  She takes issue with the use of computer algorithms in replacing the end of cash bail brought already to several jurisdictions.  Here’s the problem:  “These advanced mathematical models — or “weapons of math destruction” as data scientist Cathy O’Neil calls them — appear colorblind on the surface but they are based on factors that are not only highly correlated with race and class, but are also significantly influenced by pervasive bias in the criminal justice system.”  She also invites re-consideration of electronic ankle devices and the role of private prison authorities, all of which she calls ‘e-carceration’  and sees the rush to electronics as an extension of mass incarceration.   Related article: The Austin Chronicler (Texas, US) – Austin Saunders  D.A.-Elect José Garza Taps Reform Advocates for His Team – It’s a new day in court for Austin’s top law enforcement office

APTN Investigates: 

“Senator Kim Pate has kept a close eye on Canada’s justice system. After her appointment to the Senate in 2016, she has continued to advocate for women who have been convicted and imprisoned for self-defense in abusive relationships. APTN Investigates Friday: A Life Sentence.”