Indigenous health…

Jan 28, 2021

Globe and Mail – Willow Fiddler and Kristy Kirkup
Saskatchewan woman left shaken after arrest by RCMP

Lac La Ronge Indian Band member Emily Kammermayer, 20, was arrested by RCMP and charged with assaulting an officer at the La Ronge Health Center who called police to an incident with the doctor.  The doctor refused to X-ray Kammermayer’s son at the mother’s request and following a recommendation from the grandmother, a nurse.  The case has now raised a long simmering issue around inequity and maltreatment of an Indigenous person within the health care system and the protections of Indigenous people.  “The 20-year-old woman said the RCMP officers tackled her to the ground, punched her repeatedly in the head and face and that one officer placed a knee on the back of her neck. Ms. Kammermayer said the officers then hog-tied her, carried her to a police vehicle and drove her to the detachment…While in custody, she said, officers continued to violate her as she lay on the ground, still bound by her wrists and ankles behind her, telling her to hop like a bunny into the cell and laughing.”   Related article: CBC News -Olivia Stefanovich    Federal, provincial officials discuss ways to counter anti-Indigenous racism in health care – Indigenous leaders say they hope the talks don’t get bogged down in jurisdictional squabbling  Related article:  CBC Radio News – The Current     Sen. Murray Sinclair urges Canadians to reckon with systemic racism

Yahoo Finance – Kristin Myers with Van Jones (US)

‘The criminal justice system is a big waste of money,’ says REFORM CEO Van Jones

The link offers a 15 minute interview discussing reform of the criminal system from the viewpoint of the financing of the cost of the system, an urgent matter, says Jones.  He reviews the reform efforts to date under Trump and Obama and individual state legislators.  There are currently two million in prison and four more under probation and parole.  What is smart for further reform given the US $80 billion but a 20% success ratio.  Related article: The Marshall Project – Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah   A $6,300 Bus. A $33 Last Meal. What New Documents Tell Us about Trump’s Execution Spree – Feds spent millions to restart the death penalty and in the process revealed much about how they do it.   Blogger Udi Ofer on the Biden decision not to renew contracts with private prisons:  (A series of tweets outlining issues)    American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweet on private prisons:  Tweet from Prison Policy Initiative (US) on phone service and ending private prisons contracts:

The Marshall Project (US) – Jamiles Lartney
Think Private Prison Companies Are Going Away Under Biden? They Have Other Plans – CoreCivic and GEO Group have been shifting away from prisons toward other government contracts, like office space and immigration detention.

This article, and those connected with it, offer a more realistic assessment of the potential for genuinely ending the profitability of lock people up.  The decree from Biden does not yet apply to immigration detention centers and even when the state returns as custodian of the prisons there are endless problems first introduced by the profit motive.  Private prisons account for about 8% of the incarcerated but have ensconced themselves in the state and municipal jails where the profit motive is more easily achieved, given the outsourcing practiced.  The private prison industry are also heavy contributors to political campaigns.   Related article:   N.Y. Times –  Jim Tankersley and Annie Karni    Biden Moves to End Justice Contracts with Private Prisons – The president’s latest batch of executive orders takes steps to promote racial equity.  Related twitter feed – John Pfaff   At least three important points to pull from this NYT piece on the private prison   Related tweet: The Sweet Feminist – Getting rid of private prisons should lead to getting rid of public prisons    Related article: Marshall Project (US) – Colorado Tries New Way To Punish Rogue Cops – Individual officers can’t claim ‘qualified immunity’ in excessive force cases, but may not end up paying damages out of their own pockets.

 Royal Society of Canada (2021) – Ricciardelli, R., Bucerius, S., Tetrault, J., Crewe, B., Pyrooz, D.
Correctional Services During and Beyond COVID-19

“In this policy brief, we focus on the current situation and examine the tensions around how COVID-19 has introduced new challenges while also exacerbating strains on the correctional system. We recognize COVID-19 also provides opportunities to re-think various aspects of criminal justice practice as such the current policy brief has two goals, including making recommendations that: a) are directly aimed at how correctional systems manage COVID-19, and b) address the nature and structure of correctional systems that should be continued after the pandemic.” (Executive Summary)  The link is to a 34 page brief with recommendations for all elements considered in the report.   Related article:  Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Winnable criminal justice reforms:  A Prison Policy Initiative briefing on promising state reform issues for 2021 (A ten page report on reform which can be easily done and includes succinct definition of problem with solution and with resources for help implementing.)   Related article: The Hill (US) – Timothy Hill     True criminal justice reform requires family support   Related article: Prison (US) – Andrea Fenster   People in jails are using more phone minutes during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite decreased jail populations –  Our study of 14 jails finds that there were 8% more overall minutes used during the pandemic, despite the fact that nationwide jail populations have fallen about 15%.   Related article: Spring – Gabby Aquino, Adam Lee and Lydia Dobson   Bell, let’s talk about the prison industrial complex

Encouragement for activists:

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” – Angela Davis on the occasion of her 77th birthday, Jan 26.

KSKD St Louis, Mo – Christine Byers
Concordance Academy of Leadership:  Here are the first two parts of an intriguing new approach to re-entry in St. Louis:

‘We truly are breaking down the walls to racial inequality’ | CEO says St. Louis prison re-entry program works – Retired Wells Fargo CEO Danny Ludeman breaks down how Concordance Academy of Leadership is repairing lives, reuniting families and reducing recidivism  (Part 1)

‘They probably saved my life’ | Former inmate says nonprofit keeps him, others out of jail – Derrick Mitchell is one of about 700 people who have participated in the Concordance Academy of Leadership aimed at preventing them from going back to prison (Part 2)   (Part 3 pending) (Thunder Bay)
Call for stricter sentencing narrowly rejected

This is a wake-up call for those who think we are over harsh and indiscriminate prison sentences.  The city council in Thunder Bay missed voting for harsher sentence by only one vote, ending in a failing tie due to the absence of one member.  While cities do not control criminal matters, the vote takes the temperature of the water.  The illustration would seem to add urgency to the question of mandatory sentences, bail and remand reform currently stalled in Ottawa.