Missing the mark…

April 29, 2021

Ontario Government
Ontario Strengthens Security at Provincial Adult Correctional Facilities – New devices to help detect and prevent the use of cell phones within institutions

What is noteworthy about this Ontario government announcement is the stubborn and blind insistence on curing what ails the prison and justice system by what is already well known and documented as causing the failure.  It’s hard to believe that the $500 million price tag is in any way acceptable for discredited ion scanners and devices for prohibiting cell phones.  What is equally incomprehensible is the notion that prisoners are able to get large amounts of contraband without help from the very systems design to prohibit them.  https://news.ontario.ca/solgen/en?utm_source=newsroom&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=%2Fen%2Frelease%2F1000009%2Fontario-strengthens-security-at-provincial-adult-correctional-facilities&utm_term=public

CBC Podcasts
Life Jolt – Rosemary Green

Ex-prisoner Rosemary Green hosts this podcast series named for the slang for a life sentence.  The first podcast introduces the experience of arrest and jailing.  She was arrested and sentenced to five years in a US prison.  She tells about American prison, family visits, prison conditions, transfer to a Canadian prison, and relationships in prison.  There are other interesting podcast as well.  The woman’s view is pervasive and different from the male experience of prison.   https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/903-life-jolt

Toronto Star – Rob Ferguson
Ontario’s nursing home residents remain vulnerable to future pandemics, outbreaks, AG report warns

Ontario’s Auditor General has issued a new report saying that while the vaccine seems to have helpful control the virus in the Long Term Care homes, the underlying condition remain unaddressed, leaving these care homes still subject to the ravages of any future virus.  “…residents remain vulnerable to future pandemics and outbreaks because of poor infection prevention, crowding, inadequate staffing and inspections.”  Ontario has now requested and accepted medical personnel from the military, the Red Cross, and from Newfoundland.  At the same time, Christine Elliott, the Health Minister, has allowed non-consensual transfers from hospital to these same long term care homes.  https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2021/04/28/ontarios-nursing-homes-residents-remain-vulnerable-to-future-pandemics-outbreaks-ag-report.html  Related article: Globe and Mail – Canadian Press  Ontario long-term care homes were poorly prepared for COVID-19 pandemic, auditor-general report says  https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-long-term-care-homes-were-poorly-prepared-for-covid-19/   Related article: Global News – Nick Weston   Ontario’s LTC sector not ‘sufficiently positioned, prepared’ to respond to COVID-19 in effective way: AG  https://globalnews.ca/news/7814903/covid-ontario-auditor-general-long-term-care-report-bonnie-lysyk/   Related article: Toronto Star – Rob Ferguson   Ontario appeals to Ottawa for military and Red Cross help as hospitals fill with COVID-19 patients  https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2021/04/26/ontario-appeals-to-ottawa-for-military-help-as-hospitals-fill-with-covid-19-patients.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_recommended_for_you  Related article: CBC News   Small team, ‘big impact’: N.L. medical volunteers depart for Ontario – Nine-person team set to begin work in Toronto Wednesday   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-medical-team-departs-ontario-1.6003286   Related article:  Globe and Mail – Canadian Press   COVID-19 news today: Ontario to allow transfer of hospital patients to long-term care homes without consent   https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-covid-19-news-today-canada-post-temporarily-closes-mississauga-ont/

N.Y. Times (US) – Jane Coaston
The Argument:  Policing is not broken.  It’s designed to work this way.

The link is to a 34 minute audio podcast that examines the title issue: Is the policing broken or designed to cause the flaws we see so repeatedly?  Host Jane Coaston and a guest panel examine three possible cures: “To answer that question, Jane brings together a round table to debate solutions ranging from modernizing training, stronger ties between police misconduct and financial culpability, and divesting from policing to invest in community-based services.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/28/opinion/police-reform-america.html?action=click&module=audio-series-bar&region=header&pgtype=Article

 Alabama.com News (US) – Kent Faulk
Evan Miller, youngest person ever sentenced to life without parole in Alabama, must remain in prison

The re-sentencing of Miller to Life without Parole (LWOP) followed the US Supreme Court ruling that reversed a precedent of a previous SCOTUS ruling that established that LWOP was unconstitutional for a juvenile at the time of the offense. “Hundreds of other prisoners serving life without parole sentences for murders committed when they were juveniles have been resentenced to get a chance at parole (some already released) thanks to Miller’s earlier appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court ruled in Miller’s case in 2012 that mandatory – or automatic – life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of capital crimes was unconstitutional.”  https://www.al.com/news/2021/04/evan-miller-youngest-child-ever-sentenced-to-life-without-parole-in-alabama-must-remain-in-prison.html    Related article:  Reform Alliance: Give Life Back   (A short video / web page supporting the reform of parole and probation, founded by Van Jones.)  https://twitter.com/REFORM   Related article: The Gotham Gazette (NY) – Donna Hylton    Second Chance Efforts Must Center Incarcerated Women Who Never Had a First Chance   https://www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/10427-second-chance-month-incarcerated-women-never-first-chance    Related tweet: Texas Jail Project – A series of tweets protesting the State Bill HB20 seeking to strengthen the bail requirements and likely to increase county jail populations from inability to post bail.)  https://twitter.com/TxJailProject/status/1386800262589845512?s=03

The Canadian Dimension – John Clarke
A post-pandemic social peace accord?  The question of who pays for the crisis will not be settled by enlightened policies from on high but through the class struggle

The recent budget prompted all sorts of commentaries on which group influenced which allocation and for how much.  In this link, Clarke – formerly the founder / director of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) – offers a wider perspective of budgets and the promises they entail.  After a sound criticism of what the budget misses, Clarke says: “It marks something of a change of direction, delivered in an international context in which governments have been driven to shift the emphasis from deficit reduction towards economic stimulation…  It is one thing, however, for this approach to be adopted in the short to medium term and quite another for it to be taken up as a dominant and sustained policy approach.”  https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/a-post-pandemic-social-peace-accord  Related article: Toolkit on Diversion and Alternatives to Detention (UN Guidelines for Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters)   https://sites.unicef.org/tdad/index_56040.html