Statscan crime

July 29, 2021

 Government of Canada – Statistic Canada
Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations, Canada, provinces, territories and Census Metropolitan Areas

The report (released July 27, 2021) covers 2016-2020 and is measured on the number of crime incidents per 100,000 of population.  The chart provided is a national picture and as usually many local municipalities will likely shortly report their standings.  In 2020 the stats are showing almost a 10% reduction in incident and more reductions in many of the divisions for the same period.   The report also shows the number of incidents cleared, cleared by charges, and otherwise cleared.  The total number of cleared incidents is about 40% of those reported.  The report also details the crime severity rates.  Data is presented as searchable for specific geographic areas / municipalities.   Statscan Crime severity rates:   Related article:  CBC News – Lethbridge police chief says residents can do more to prevent crime after city tops StatsCan list – Crime severity index in southern Alberta city was highest in country in 2020

 Montreal Gazette – Denis Gros-Louis
Opinion: Time for Indigenous languages to take their rightful place – Governor General Mary Simon’s installation speech Monday, in which she used Inuktitut, was a source of inspiration.

Here is a challenge for those critical of the new Governor General Mary Simon’s ability with French.  Gros-Louis points out that her own native language is also indigenous to Quebec.  Simon has the advantage of knowing far more about French / Anglo cultural influences than Francophones and Anglophones know about hers.   Gros-Louis thinks this moment may be very ripe to adjust this disproportionate status. “Those who suggest that the Governor General of Canada is expected to have complete command of English and French, while ignoring her superior capabilities and contributions to the wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples, as well as her experience as a senior government official, reveal the ongoing impact of Canada’s attempts to achieve the cultural and linguistic assimilation of Indigenous Peoples across the country.”

The Conversation (Queen’s University) – Joe Hermer
Homeless encampment violence in Toronto betrays any real hope for police reform

Hermer is a U of T sociology professor who weighs the significance of the recent police actions evicting poor people from living in parks in Toronto.  He sees an escalation in unnecessary and police provoked violence, and views the political spin on the aftermath as posturing and deceit.  The estimation of the chances for police reform in this context is couched in the recommendations of Missing and Missed: Report of The Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations.   The report investigates the Toronto police conduct in dealing with the reports of missing persons, mostly gay persons, in the case of serial killer Bruce McArthur between 2010 and 2017.   Full Independent Report:

The Lawyer’s Daily – Murray Fallis
Why I can’t sleep

Fallis, a lawyer with John Howard Society, attended a recent briefing in which Corrections Canada informed a gathering that 26% of those held in Structured Intervention Units (Corrections speak for solitary) would be released in the next six months.  The picture appears to be to aggravate the problems before releasing people.  Indigenous and Black people serve longer in solitary.  “As Dr. Jane Sprott, an expert witness noted before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Safety: We found that overall, 38 per cent of stays were qualifying, by the Mandela rules, as solitary confinement or torture.  Canadian courts would likely agree.”  Related article: Globe and Mail – Justin Ling   Internal data offer rare glimpse into how RCMP deploy force in the line of duty

Toronto Star – Stephanie Nolan
Roots of a dream:  He worked our farms for decades, hoping to make Canada home. Then the pandemic changed the landscape

Luis Mendoza, Migrant worker for years to Canada from Mexico, is one of those who does labour Canadians do not want to do, and at considerably less wages, is also an example of undervalued essential workers.  Beyond the wages, the double standard leading to exploitation of him and his family, and many others like him, is worth including among those policies we need to change.  There are few happy endings for most immigrants who are largely unprotected by Canadian labour law and practice.

Simone Biles and Mental Health:

CBC News – Benjamin Blum   Simone Biles’s withdrawal from Olympic event could ‘normalize’ mental health conversations, experts say – 4-time gymnastics gold medalist’s decision seen as step toward destigmatization

NY Times – Jeré Longman   Simone Biles Rejects a Long Tradition of Stoicism in Sports –. Biles was widely embraced as the latest active, elite athlete who had the courage to acknowledge her vulnerability


 The Marshall Project (US) – Alysia Santo
The Separation – Introducing “Tutwiler,” a new Marshall Project/Frontline documentary about women in an Alabama prison who support each other through pregnancy, labor and saying goodbye to their newborns.

A 34 minute documentary about women who give birth while incarcerated at Julia Tutwiler Prison in Alabama.  It’s hard to find the joy of life giving in this scene.  “In an attempt to ease the trauma, the prison in 2018 began allowing doulas—professionals trained in childbirth—to attend births, holding hands, wiping tears, and reminding the mothers to breathe. Mothers still usually have only about 24 hours to bond with their babies before they are split apart and the women are sent back to lockup, a moment everyone refers to as “the separation.” But at least new mothers no longer give birth with only a doctor and prison officer present.”   Related Twitter: Sothern Center for Human Rights (US) – Hannah C. Riley    Lee Arrendale State Prison — Georgia’s largest women’s prison — is in shambles

 BC Tyee – Deep Dive
Bringing Reconciliation to Tragic Attention

This is a little unusual – the initial link is to a short paragraph but the internal links seek to expose the wider dimension of the questions about settler reconciliation with the Indigenous people impacted by the Residential Schools experience. There are several other articles germane to the concerns as well on Indigenous art, Dr. Peter Bryce, and the parameters for genocide.

The Atlantic Journal (US) – Jamie Lowe
What Does California Owe Its Incarcerated Firefighters?  Those risking their life on the front lines of the state’s wildfires earn a fraction of minimum wage.

The US prison system has long been in discussion about the 13th Amendment and the exemption from the requirement to pay prisoners for work performed.  Much of the discussion is now re-enforced by the awareness that many low income people do the most dangerous jobs in the face of the Covid.  This aspect is getting some attention now: California prisoners who work fighting forest fires at little or no wages.  Those who decide on careers consequent to the experience in forestry are often barred by the criminal record, a glaring and perverse reality.  Governor Gavin Newcomb has just introduced legislation to remedy the post prison opportunity for many state jobs by expunging the record on release.  Lowe argues for decent wages as well.

Inquest (US) – Rachel Barkow and Mark Osler
Where Reform Goes to Die – The Justice Department is not, and never will be, an ally in ending mass incarceration

The article is a powerful and very direct challenge to the notion that the prosecutors of the Justice Department are the right people to be in charge of justice and prison reform.  Barkow and Osler, professors of law at New York University and St. Thomas University respectively:  “DOJ is bold in the easy job of locking people up and timid in the more difficult task of crafting alternatives to brute-force incarceration.”  The authors review the justice department’s performance on elements of the current reform effort and conclude that there are a number of functions that should be removed from the justice department and the whole department / system reformed by fundamental institutional change.