Eyes open…

May 19, 2021

CBC (BC) –
Powerful anti-racism video encourages Asian Canadians to confront prejudice head-on Eyes Open video was produced for Asian Heritage Month

“According to a report released in March by the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) Toronto chapter, there were more than 1,000 cases of both verbal and physical attacks against Asians across the country from March 2020 to February 2021. And since the start of the pandemic, Canada had more anti-Asian racism reports per capita than the United States… In February, Vancouver police said they saw anti-Asian hate crimes jump by more than 700 per cent in 2020 as reports of incidents rose from 12 in 2019 to 98 in 2020.”  The 2 ½ minute Public Service Announcement could be a very helpful conversation starter for an aspect of Canadian racism that often slips by the average person.  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/anti-asian-racism-video-1.6027843   Youtube source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGQtaCyp8f8  Related video:  This is what anti-Asian racism looks like in Canada   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEwzoairmQk   (Quite a number of additional video resources available at these links.)

Podcast:  The Field with Zoe Paliare
Sharing the stories of formerly incarcerated people and inspiring a future where they are seen for their humanity, not judged for their past. Welcome to the Field.

Paliare offers to this point two excellent podcasts (about 40 minutes).  The first is an interview with Desmond Meade, a formerly convicted and incarcerated Black man (a 15 year sentence) who describes the obstacles to his rehabilitation and the remarkable degree of success in overcoming the obstacles.  Meade’s story is called I am a human being.  The second is an interview with Glen Martin, the founder and prime mover in getting the infamous Riker’s Island in NY closed.  His story is called The Storm is where the magic is and he is a reformed bank robber who was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Both podcasts are not only helpful for issues of re-entry or reintegration but also timely given the present pre-occupation with prison reform and re-integration issues.  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-field-with-zoe-paliare/id1565451446

 Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN)

Changing Circumstances Surrounding Opioid-Related Deaths in Ontario during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“The ODPRN, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario/Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OCC/OFPS) and Public Health Ontario (PHO) have developed a new report describing patterns surrounding opioid-related deaths that occurred in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic up to the end of December 2020. This report updates the data provided in a preliminary report released in November 2020 describing patterns that occurred during the first three months of the pandemic.”   The participants in the new report include ODPRN, the Office of the Chief Coroner, the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service and Public Health Ontario.  https://odprn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Changing-Circumstances-Surrounding-Opioid-Related-Deaths.pdf  (A 32 page downloadable pdf.)

Marshall Project (US) – Keri Blakinger and Jolie Mccullough
Texas Prisons Stopped In-Person Visits and Limited Mail. Drugs Got in Anyway.  Guards smuggle in most contraband, people who live in or work at prisons say.

One of the ‘benefits’ from the Covid-19 protection at Texas prisons has been the tighter limits on mail and the close down of outside visitors while the supply of illicit drugs seemed to thrive and increase.  Insiders are saying that the problem is underpaid guards getting $1,000 per delivery of drugs or cell phones.  “At the Stiles Unit in Beaumont, officials locked down the whole prison to search for contraband in late January, nearly a year after the mailroom restrictions took effect. The searches turned up what prosecutors described as an “unusually large amount of drugs” including K2, cocaine, meth, and items clearly too bulky to mail in — like marijuana, bags of pills, jars of alcohol and 74 cell phones.”  No one charged to date…  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/03/29/texas-prisons-stopped-in-person-visits-and-limited-mail-drugs-got-in-anyway  Related article: NY Times – Neil Vigdor   2 South Carolina Deputies Are Fired for Their Role in Death of Black Man in Jail – https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/us/deputies-fired-jamal-sutherland-death.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

Twitter from Radley Balko:  A series of tweets…

Balko is a reporter for the Washington Post who expresses disbelief that the SCOTUS could rule that the lack of a 12 person unanimous consent to a criminal conviction is not retroactive to the many other cases where the practice has been commonplace for years and where petitioners have filed appeal: the ruling does not apply to historic cases.  https://twitter.com/radleybalko/status/1394328001689669634?s=03   US Supreme Court Ruling on EDWARDS v. VANNOY, WARDEN:  On the issue of non-unanimous jury decisions and the retroactive ruling   https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/19-5807_086c.pdf

NY Times: Kenneth P. Vogel and Annie Karni
Biden Is Developing a Pardon Process With a Focus on Racial Justice – As a senator, he backed legislation that led to mass incarceration and long drug sentences. Now his administration is signaling that he could use clemency to address inequities.

The suggestion of using clemency to over clear inequities in law and not correct the legal problem of racism in the system is troubling many at this early stage of the decision.  “Participants in the Zoom session and other meetings with the White House have come away with the impression that Mr. Biden intends to use clemency grants — which are among the most unchecked and profound powers at a president’s disposal — to address systemic issues in the criminal justice system.”  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/17/us/politics/biden-pardons-racial-justice.html?smid=tw-share  Related article: Rachel Barkow, NYU Law Professor and Faculty Director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law – Author of Prisoners of Politics  –  A Worrisome approach “I want to highlight some of the things in this article that are worrisome to me because I fear this is a bad sign of where the administration is headed on clemency and criminal justice more generally.” https://twitter.com/RachelBarkow/status/1394641294740316161?s=03   The Brookings Institute:   Rashawn Ray, Brent Orrell, and Fred Dews   Bipartisan criminal justice reform   https://www.brookings.edu/podcast-episode/bipartisan-criminal-justice-reform/  (The link has a report “featuring essays by more than a dozen experts offering a range of research-grounded policy analysis and ideas to move the criminal justice system toward a more humane and effective footing.”)   A better path forward for criminal justice – A report by the Brookings-AEI Working Group on Criminal Justice Reform   (A downloadable pdf)  https://www.brookings.edu/multi-chapter-report/a-better-path-forward-for-criminal-justice/  Related article: GPB (Public Broadcasting, California) –  Eric Westervelt   Oakland Becomes Latest City Looking To Take Police Out Of Some Nonviolent 911 Calls  https://www.gpb.org/news/2021/05/18/oakland-becomes-latest-city-looking-take-police-out-of-some-nonviolent-911-calls    Related article: Pro Publica (US) –  Carli Brosseau, The News & Observer, video by Julia Wall, The News & Observer In a Small Town, a Battle for Racial Justice Confronts a Bloody Past and an Uncertain Future  https://www.propublica.org/article/small-town-battle-for-racial-justice-confronts-bloody-past-uncertain-future?s=03   (Scroll down for the start of the 20 minute video.)

John Howard League (UK) –
Arresting the entry of women into the criminal justice system

The link provides a six page commentary on the notion of preventing the needless and inconsequential arrest of women – currently estimate at 37,000 per year.  Women seem to be frequently arrested for showing signs of distress or when they themselves are victims.  As one may expect, Black women are twice as likely to be arrested as white women. The report offers a series of critiques and resolutions to factors creating the problem.  https://howardleague.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/APPG-on-Women-in-the-Penal-System-briefing-3-FINAL.pdf  Related article: CBC News – Mickey Djuric   2 Sask. sisters accused of killing Kamsack farmer say they were wrongfully convicted – Advocates call for their release, review of case, as their cousin confessed to killing man   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/advocates-call-for-review-two-sask-sisters-1994-murder-conviction-1.6031402   Related tweet: Kim Pate – “Indigenous women are under-protected when they experience violence & more likely to be over-criminalized & imprisoned when they protect themselves.”  https://twitter.com/KPateontheHill/status/1395060592214425601    Related article: KALW (San Francisco Public Broadcasting) – bf thames    Re-Entering The Outside World After Prison Isn’t Always So Easy   https://www.kalw.org/2021-05-17/re-entering-the-outside-world-after-prison-isnt-always-so-easy