Death in custody…

Dec 16, 2020 

CBC News – Shanifar Nasser
Jail guards violated use-of-force policies in fatal restraint of Soleiman Faqiri, court documents suggest – Fired sergeant acknowledges combination of tactics posed ‘triple threat’ in cutting off air supply

“Shackled, pepper-sprayed, face down wearing a spit hood. Nearly four years to the day that Soleiman Faqiri died on the floor of a jail cell, newly filed court documents suggest the guards who restrained him in the final moments of his life violated the use-of-force rules set out in their training.”  Fagiri endured what the jail sergeant later called a “triple threat” for asphyxia: pepper spray, spit hood and kneeling on his stomach, a violation of the jail’s established protocol.  Two jail managers were fired for the incident but the facts are only coming out now.  Related article: CBC News – Farrah Merali and Shanifa Nasser  Soleiman Faqiri family learns no one will be charged with his death – The family of Soleiman Faqiri, a mentally ill man allegedly beaten by jail guards, has now learned no one will be charged in his death.   Related article: Toronto Star – Angelyn Francis  Jail guards involved in Soleiman Faqiri’s death ignored restraint training guidelines, court documents reveal    Related article: CBC News – The Fifth Estate – Shanifar Nasser  Deadly restraint   Related article: CTV News (Saskatoon) – Lisa Risom   24 inmates test positive for COVID-19 at Saskatchewan Penitentiary

Business Insider – Allana Akhtar
The typical full-time salary in America would be $102,000 if wages had kept up with growth — but the economy has failed 90% of workers

“A new report from the nonprofit Rand finds that the median salary would have been as high as $102,000 for a full-time employee if wages increased at the same pace as GDP.”  The median income now is $50,000.  The report further says that the top 1% have seen their incomes grow to 300% of the rate of economic growth.  The average wage of over 44% of workers before the pandemic was $18,000.

The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, ON) – Jeff Outhit
Police pay has outpaced other municipal staff

The article lends an element to the discussion about defunding police in that it illustrates what happens when police get a bigger portion of the municipal budget.  The chart shows the increase in police salaries over the increases to the salaries of other municipal workers.  Police salaries escalated – considerably – compared to a loss of real income over the last six years.  Related article: Toronto Star – Betsy Powell  Why Toronto didn’t defund police in 2020 (nor all those other times)   Related article: Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis  Where does the money go? How Toronto police planned to spend more than $1 billion in 2020

The Guardian (UK) – Francisco Garcia
Why are so many prisoners in England still serving these cruel, endless sentences?

This practice is akin to indefinite sentencing but with a twist.  In the UK, prior to 2012, a person could be sentenced to a determined period but with a tariff added “Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) which meant that the convicted person could be held beyond the determined sentence until a parole board agreed to release.  Shaun Lloyd had been convicted of a street robbery in 2006, aged 18, sentenced to 2 ½ years and is still in jail, even though the IPP lapsed in 2012.  There were almost 9,000 people held by IPP from 2005 to 2013 as the elasticity of the term ‘most dangerous’ stretched.  Worse, release included a 99 year probation.  There are about 1800 still serving time under the IPP provisions but equally distressing there is a growing rate to ‘recalled to prison’ under the 99 year probation.  Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Is the Sentencing Council Doing Its Job?

Iola Register (US) – Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
Death penalty ‘peak horror’ of racism – Attorney: Death penalty ‘peak horror’ of racism

Given the recent perverse determination to execute as many as possible before the end of the Trump term – Biden has already announced a policy to end capital punishment- this reflection highlights a perspective sometimes loss to the horror of execution itself.  “Years working capital murder cases and appeals of the wrongfully convicted led criminal defense lawyer Cheryl Pilate to conclude the government’s willingness to order execution of men and women stood as a potent expression of racism’s grasp on the justice system.”  (Access needed) Related article: Twin Cities Pioneer Press (US) – Robin McDowell and Margie Mason Minnesota juvenile lifer walks free after 18 years in prison

MacLean’s Magazine – Editorial (Dec 15, 2020)
The pandemic has offered a look at prison reform possibilities – A quarter of all adult inmates in provincial prisons have been released since March and there’s been no noticeable crime uptick in said provinces. So, why not adopt these policies permanently?

Adelina Iftene, a law professor at Halifax’s Dalhousie University and associate director of the school’s Health Law Institute says that chances of getting Covid-19 in jail are 13 times higher.  So, she says, “The state has a very serious responsibility to protect the people in its custody.”  If the feds and the provinces can release so many, why are they there in the first place?  There has been no serious up-tick in crime; the week-enders and the pre-trial detention groups should not be in jail.  “So if a minimalist approach to jailing makes sense during a pandemic, why not adopt such policies permanently?” (Canada)
Appeal Draconian 18-Year Sentence of Alberta Abuse Survivor Helen Naslund
Toronto Star – Rachel Mendleson and Wendy Gillis
Police punches, kicks, slaps and body slams are going untracked in Ontario. That’s because much of the physical force officers use is not reported — and there are growing calls for that to change

Surprisingly, in Ontario, police are not required to fill out use of force – violence – forms in encounters with the public unless the injury, as determined by the police, require medical attention.  Police themselves acknowledge that the present system makes it very difficult to arrive at a conclusion of excessive force.  RCMP have reporting standards beyond provincial and municipal police services.  Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former ambassador to the United Nations says that we are “experiencing a pivotal historic moment — one where the use of force by police must be “examined because it is so often out of control,”