Mental health in housing…

Nov 25, 2020

Wellesley Institute (Canada) – Vinusha Gunaseelan, Alissa Klingbaum, Thrmiga Sathiyamoorthy
Jurisdictional Scan of COVID-19 Provincial and Territorial Income Transfer Programs in Canada

The link offers a summary of the latest information on the programs in various jurisdictions and additional expenses sent to these various programs for relief of Covid-19 related Federal response.  “The aim of this scan was to document recent income transfer program changes in order to help compare the performance of Canadian provinces and territories during the pandemic and to inform upcoming program decisions.”   Related article: Wellesley Institute Justice-focused Mental Health Supportive Housing in Toronto Needs Assessment and Action Plan (Those concerned with the effort to mitigate the forced errors of police intervention with the mentally ill may find this document helpful.  (Cf as well the Executive Summary, p.4)

CTV News / Algonquin College – Peter Szperling
New research centre at Algonquin College helps support victims of violence

Algonquin College (located on three campus site around Ottawa) has celebrated the National Week for Victims by opening a new research centre for the study of experiences of survivors of violent crime. Benjamin Roebuck, research director and professor, says “a disproportionate number of people in minority communities are being impacted by homicide…“People who are Black are five times over represented as victims of homicide in Ottawa compared to their percentage of the population. Middle-Eastern people are four times over-represented.”  Aline Vlasceanu is Executive Director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) is one of the agencies expecting to have some questions answered by the new research centre.  “I hope that this sort of research really sheds a light on the reality of victims, on their needs, and the gaps that exist so that, moving forward, while there is no one size fits all solution, we can start bridging those gaps tangibly and legitimately.”   Related article: CBC News – Kathleen Harris   Ombudsman says police, first responders must do more to inform crime victims of their rights – Heidi Illingworth calls for parliamentary review of act passed 5 years ago   Related article: St. Catherine’s Standard  (ON) – Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press   Canada-wide survey of women’s shelters shows abuse more severe during pandemic

 Courier Journal (KY) – Chaly Downs and Jennifer Hancock
When parents are incarcerated, it’s a ‘shared sentence’ for children

The link provides some outrageous statistics on the incarceration of women.  Kentucky has the third highest rate of incarcerated parents – 12%.  64% of women incarcerated have children and 27% are incarcerated for a drug offense.  “Data show that since the 1980s, the percent of women incarcerated in Kentucky jails increased by more than 700% and those in prison increased by more than 1,000%.”  Equally important the data should explore why the women are part of the mass incarceration, the length of the sentences, and the offenses, beyond drugs, leading to incarceration.  The impact on the lives of the children must also represent an enormous concern and expense.   Related article: The Hill (US) – Marc Schindler and Ryan King    It’s time to acknowledge that long prison terms do not prevent violence  Related article: National Catholic Reporter – Dwayne David Paul   Prisons and law enforcement are not the solution to our social problems

N.Y. Times (US) – Shawn Hubler
Unemployment Scam Using Inmates’ Names Costs California Hundreds of Millions – Investigators say the payment of benefits claimed with the names of prisoners, including many on death row, “appears to be the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.”

What happened to the scammed money?  Some was delivered via pre-paid debit cards to the addresses listed on the application forms and then later passed to a long and notorious list of prisoners under sentence in the prisons.  Others went directly to the institutions themselves.  The fraud is certainly widespread and made easier by the sheer numbers that overwhelmed the state’s computer systemic capacity to cope.

The Intercept (US) – Rachel M. Cohen and Marcia Brown
Court Order: The Congress has the Power to Over-Rule Supreme Court Rulings:  Here’s how. 

Lilly Ledbetter got the bum’s rush on her pay compared to the men she worked with.  On retirement, she went to court in protest of the failure in equity and the court ruled that she was too late in the claim.  Them, she discovered the difference between a statutory ruling and a constitutional ruling.  Justice Ruth Ginsberg wrote a dissenting opinion and advocated that Congress clarified the meaning of the law and on retrospect of the change, Lilly never got her money but she did get the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act named after her in 2009 when Obama signed the Act into law.  The authors suggest that much of what has come from this dysfunctional president can be corrected if Congress were clarify since many of the Court’s decision are the statutory type where the Justices interpret the statute rather than the constitution.   Cf also Lilly’s story:

The Marshall Project – Life Inside (US) – Keri Blakinger
Why My First Thanksgiving in Prison Was the Best One I’d Had in Forever

This Thursday, Nov 26, is the traditional Thanksgiving holiday in the US.  One of the Marshall Project’s staff people has written her memory of what the celebration brought her when she was incarcerated with ‘a mean group.’ Blakinger had been sentenced to two and a half years for possession of heroin and had been addicted at the time of her arrest and conviction.  Everyone abandoned anger and hostility that one day and pitched in ingredients and cooking effort.  “Now this is what I think of when I think of redemption. It was only one day, and then everything went back to how it was. But this is how change happens, one day at a time. People learn about kindness and hope and change through individual moments that eventually add up to a different person. Those moments felt so scarce behind bars.”