Give it up…

July 16, 2021

CBC News – Caitlyn Gowriluk
Manitoba’s Indigenous relations minister resigns from cabinet after premier’s comments on colonial history

Two days after Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister called colonial policies “well intentioned,” the Minister of Northern and Indigenous Affairs Eileen Clarke has resigned.  The disagreement prompting the resignation highlights the struggle of Indigenous people to be heard by the settler people and provides ample perspective for serious re-assessment of the colonial approach to Canada’s Indigenous people.   Related article: Global News – Elisha Dacey   Eileen Clarke says resignation due to ‘inappropriate words and actions’  Related article: CBC News –  Danton Unger    ‘You can’t be out here defending residential schools’: Opposition leader calls out Manitoba’s new Indigenous relations minister

Reasons To Be Cheerful – David Byrne
Keeping People Out of Jail Keeps People Out of Jail – To reduce incarceration, some counties and cities have stopped automatically prosecuting minor nonviolent crimes — and crime overall has gone down. A wave of policy and policing reform has followed.

Critics and advocates alike may soon be approaching the point of simple talk as opposed to the convoluted argumentation around crime and prisons.  Byrne is saying that if you don’t want mass incarceration stop sending people to jail.  Then you must tackle the myriads of problems that remain around crimes, prisons and policing.  Misdemeanors are not jail worthy nor are they worth the impoverishment that follows the legal pursuits.  To the contrary, refusing to prosecute lesser crime has had the impact of reducing serious crime and many other types of legal incident.  This is a new take on the perspective for over-policing and excessive law:  “A few places have addressed this in the most straightforward way possible: by not automatically prosecuting these crimes. What has happened as a result? Studies have shown that these places reduced their prison populations without putting the public at risk. Crime did not go up. In fact, in many cases, it went down. And, surprisingly, often not just for misdemeanors.”  The article engages the three study authors in a Q/A exploring the results of their study.    Related article: Reasons To Be Cheerful – Guides for Life After a Life Sentence – “Lifers” face a daunting re-entry after decades in prison. One California program recruits their formerly incarcerated peers to help them navigate.   Related article: Washington Post (US) -Jennifer Rubin    Opinion: Mass incarceration is bad law enforcement policy. It’s bad for the economy, too.   Related article: The Sentencing Project (US) – Josh Rovner   Black Disparities in Youth Incarceration  See  for further information that includes Latin disparities as well, both avail on-line or in pdf version.  Related article: The Sentencing Project –  Nazgol Ghandnoosh  A Second Look at Injustice – Ending mass incarceration and tackling its racial disparities require taking a second look at long sentences.   Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Diverting young adults away from the cycle of crisis and crime

 The Toronto Star – Amira Elghawaby
The government is playing a dangerous waiting game in the case of Soleiman Faqiri. We need answers on the crisis in Ontario’s jails

This account of the death in custody of Soleiman Faqiri is now five years in the making.  The details as offered by the family and in the refusal of the government to release a report on the death while “the Correctional Services Oversight and Investigations (CSOI) unit report, did find reasonable grounds of wrongdoing to dismiss one deputy, two captains and one officer, and gave 20-day suspensions to several other employees, though one officer was later reinstated. The report has never been made public, despite repeated calls by the Faqiri family, as well as Gurratan Singh, the NDP’s attorney general critic, to release it.”  Critics have further pointed out that mental health prisoners are not supposed to be in segregation and that the Ford government has since dismissed all voluntary jail oversight boards.

 The Intercept (US) – Taylor Barnes
Home, but Not Free: NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Adjusts to Her Release from Prison – Winner’s home confinement is part of the longest sentence ever for leaking material to the press — and her family is seeking clemency.

Remember Reality Winner?  She was an intelligence analyst who leaked to the press a classified document about threats to the US election.  In retrospect of the current revelations about the conduct of the presidency, her request for release from the sentence, having served four years in prison, and now with home confinement with an ankle monitor may well seem the very least due a person of proven integrity.   Related article: Washington Times – Emily Zantow    ‘Skyrocketing costs’: Prisoner advocates push Biden to close 20 federal prisons    Related article: Dream Corps Justice – TAKE ACTION: Help Close Federal Prisons!  (A fact sheet source for US federal prisons)

New York Times – Nick Cumming-Bruce
U.N. to Form Panel to Investigate Systemic Racism in Policing – A panel of three experts in law enforcement and human rights will have a three-year mandate to investigate the root causes and effects of systemic racism in policing.

Advocates were asking for a full commission of inquiry but the UN has agreed only to a panel of experts who will examine the problem with a world-wide lens but given the prompt of the George Floyd killing the experts will undoubtedly focus in part on the US.  “It will look at issues ranging from excessive use of force, racial profiling and police handling of peaceful protests to links between racial supremacy movements and the police and the criminal justice system.”  The panel will report to the UN.

Ottawa Citizen – David Pugliese
Former defence chief Gen. Jon Vance charged with obstruction of justice – In an unprecedented move, Canada’s former top soldier Gen. Jonathan Vance has been charged with obstruction of justice.

Vance who recently retired as the head of defence staff has been charged and will see his case heard in a civilian court rather than a military tribunal.  Maj. Kellie Brennan, who claimed the general had fathered two of her eight children, said that Vance with whom she had had a twenty year affair, had told her to lie to the military police investigation. Related article: Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant   Former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance charged with obstruction of justice