Youth in Solitary in BC…

June 24, 2021

Campaign for the Abolition of Solitary Confinement
Letter to B.C. Premier and Ministers on Solitary in “Youth Jails”

“The BC Ombudsperson, Jay Chalke, on June 15th issued a report, three years in the making, documenting the use of solitary in “youth jails,” especially of Indigenous youth. The Minister for Children and Family Development responded to its “heartbreaking” material. We invite you to join us in calling for serious action, to end solitary confinement for young people. 

 The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, called the use of solitary over 15 days “torture,” while noting that harm can occur in only a few days. There is no safe limit on the use of solitary. For children, the Special Rapporteur calls any use of solitary “abuse.” …The UN special rapporteur, accordingly, calls for all states to prohibit solitary confinement of any duration and for any purpose for juveniles (UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/28/68, March 5 2015). One might except placement for “cooling off,” for a matter of hours, less than a day, but hardly more.”  Letter writing to BC Government officials:     Related article: Global TV News – Canadian Press   Placing jailed youth in solitary confinement is ‘unjust’: B.C. ombudsperson   BC Ombudsman Jay Chalke – Full Report:  Ombudsperson calls for sweeping changes to separate confinement of youth in custody   Related article: The Sentencing Project (US) Marcy Mistrett      Bringing More Teens Home: Raising the Age Without Expanding Secure Confinement in the Youth Justice System

CBC News – Bryan Eneas
Sask. First Nation announces discovery of 751 unmarked graves near former residential school

Ground penetrating radar has uncovered at least 751 remains at the site of the Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan.  “Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme spoke at a virtual news conference Thursday morning. This is not a mass grave site. These are unmarked graves,” Delorme said.”  The oral memories of the band suggest that some of these remains are adults from among those who attended the church but there also may be more children than the estimate.  At one point there may have been markers.  “Delorme said the community wants to put names to the people in the graves in the coming months. He said the community would be treating the site “like a crime scene.” … He said he would like to see a monument built at the site that includes the names of those identified.

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Building social capital to support desistance

Social capital building supporting the desistance process by Dr. Katherine Albertson is the latest of a UK prisons report that “summarises the concept of social capital and how increases in the strength, range and quality of bonding, bridging and linking opportunities can be beneficial in supporting the desistance process. A six-stage social capital building process model is presented to aid the practical identification of a wide range of such opportunities.”  The notion is that real rehabilitation happens in the context of real community partnership and bonding.

CBC News – Pam Berman
Hate crimes underreported, Halifax police chief tells board of commissioners – ‘There’s regular outreach to the various communities that are affected by hate,’ says HRP Chief Dan Kinsella

Both the Halifax police chief and his counterpart with the RCMP – Chief Supt. Janis Gray of the Halifax district RCMP – think that reporting hate crimes is the critical element in adequately responding.  Kinsella thinks hate crimes are seriously under reported.  He reminds all that hate crimes have a considerable scope: “Whether it be religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender identity, we’re trying to see trends to make sure we’re identifying particular target groups early so we can do intervention where we can.”

Washington Post – Tom Jackman
Amid rising police violence, New York City police to train entire force in de-escalation – Training applies only in situations where subject doesn’t have a gun, but that is the case in 40 percent of all police shootings

They call it ICAT – Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics, intended “to reduce violent encounters and injuries to both officers and citizens.”  The largest municipal police force in the US (35,000) is committing to training every officer in de-escalation.  The police want to apply the approach to all situations in which there is no gun involved; concern from police about increasing the likelihood of injury to attending police have proven the opposite.   The training seems to reduce significantly the number of police killings, the incidents of violent arrests, and even suicide by cop.   Related article: NY Times – Neil MacFarquhar   Why Police Have Been Quitting in Droves in the Last Year – Asheville, N.C., has been among the hardest hit by police departures in the wake of last year’s George Floyd protests. About a third of the force quit or retired.

McGill University – Max Bell School of Public Policy – Yvette Yakibonge
Police Use of Body Cameras: No Quick Fix

Yakibonge reviews the sort of situations typically part of the Body Worn Camera that some police use, the assumptions about the benefits and deficiencies of such cameras, followed by the conclusion about the helpfulness of such cameras for monitoring or changing the behaviour of those videoed.  “Contrary‌ ‌to‌ ‌popular belief, studies on BWCs have actually had mixed results. Overall, none has substantially proven that BWCs truly impact police behaviour or public perceptions of‌ ‌the‌ ‌police. Recently, a year-long pilot project launched by Montreal police concluded that BWCs were not cost-effective and had little impact on police interventions. Furthermore, there is no empirical evidence proving that BWC footage would lead to more officers being held accountable or increased transparency.”

ABC News – WHAM (Wash, DC) – Michael Balsalmo and Michael R. Sisak Associated Press
AP sources: Officials mulling ousting US prisons director

Readers may find this link helpful for its summary remarks about the safety and protection of people in federal custody while the Bureau of Prisons is currently under the direction of Michael Carvajal, a Trump appointee who over saw the recent rash of federal executions as well, and who is apparently under consideration for removal.  “Nearly one-third of federal correctional officer jobs in the United States are vacant, forcing prisons to use cooks, teachers, nurses and other workers to guard inmates. The expanded use of that practice, known as augmentation, has been raising questions about whether the agency can carry out its required duties to ensure the safety of prisoners and staff members while also putting in place programs and classes required under the law.”