Continuum of care…

Sept 6, 2021 

Lawyer’s Daily – Murray Fallis
Prescription for public safety nightmare

Fallis, a John Howard lawyer, is trying to draw attention to the deficiencies of the present release process for federal prisoners.  The releases often involve mental illness and the prisoner is given two weeks of the prescription he is using as he leaves the prison.  Fallis is using the Corrections Canada  Report on the Continuum of Mental Health Care and compares it to reading Ripley’s Believe it or not in regards to the continuum of care one may rightly expect.  Corrections Canada Report:,%20r-410%20-%20continuum%20of%20mental%20health%20care.pdf

 Labour Day in Prison:  John Howard tweets:

“On Labour Day, consider whether Cdn federal prisoner’s labour is fairly treated: Max wage is under $7 per day without even COLA increases for decades while cost of canteen items like shampoo + stamps continues to rise and wages are docked 1/3 for room and board.”  Further, those who have additional income frequently pay more for the amenities of prison life.

Toronto Star / Atkinson Foundation – Colette Murphy
What COVID reveals about Canada – Stephanie Nolan

“Stephanie spent a year in conversation with people whose lives have been torn apart by COVID-19. Her brilliant Toronto Star series reveals more than a few new cracks in the old system. It tells the stories of those who are stuck in fractures and faults in the very foundation of the system created by white supremacy, colonialism and racism in all its forms. The crisis has made these crevices wider, deeper and harder to escape, but also much easier to see who benefits from a social, political and economic system designed to perpetuate inequality.”

CBC News – Dexter McMillan
Drug possession charges dropped across Ontario at an unprecedented rate – More than 85% of charges dropped before trial in the past 12 months, a CBC analysis finds

This development is much in keeping with the long term advocacy for treating drug addiction as a health and social rather than a criminal matter.  But now in the decision about following through with drug charges laid by police, the courts seems to insert a voice.  The decision making around prosecution for drug possession appears to have considerably increased around dropping charges:  “In the past 12 months, courts across Ontario have withdrawn or stayed 85 per cent of drug possession charges in the system before they ever reached trial, according to public data analyzed by CBC Toronto… By comparison, 45 per cent of such charges were dropped in 2019, prior to the pandemic.”

 CBC News – Richard Raycraft
There’s an upward trend, but a rise in violence has not meant a rise in the rate of fatalities

All the political parties have policy platforms around ‘gun violence.’  All three major parties decry the increase in violent crime but it seems there is a gap between the assumption of the use of guns in homicide, the leading measure of violent crime, the rate of the use of guns in homicide and the other deaths from guns such as suicide; but neither homicide nor suicide rates are increasing.  Clearly, the gun violence has the seeds for considerable fear; unfortunately much of the political talk is around assault weapons on which there is majority consensus but so far, little attention goes to handguns, a perennial concern in cities.

Death Penalty Information / Innocence Project (US)
DNA Exonerates Georgia Man Who Had Waived His Appeals to Avoid Wrongful Execution

This article points to the most pernicious part of imprisonment: the experience can be so destructive as to persuade an innocent man condemned to death to accept death rather than further struggle with the system.  As is usually the case, prosecutorial misconduct is at the roots of the wrongful conviction.  “When Dennis Perry stood with his defense team on the steps of the Brunswick, Georgia courthouse (pictured) after a trial judge dismissed all charges against him, he was a free man, exonerated of the racially motivated murders of a deacon and his wife in a local Black church in 1985. His case was one of at least four death-penalty prosecutions involving misconduct by Brunswick Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney John B. Johnson III. And it was the latest of more than 30 exonerations across the country since January 2019 in which police or prosecutors sought the death penalty against innocent defendants or threatened defendants or witnesses with the death penalty unless they falsely confessed or provided false testimony against others.”   Said Clare Gilbert, the executive director of the Georgia Innocence Project (GIP) “The fact that they sought the death penalty on a case with incredibly weak evidence, and involving extensive misconduct, is an indictment on the death penalty,”  Related article: The Cincinnati Enquirer (US) – Amber Hunt   Cincinnati man requests new trial based on study finding racial disparity in capital punishment   Related article: The Death Penalty Information (US)  Federal Court Stays Texas Execution After Appeal Lawyer Abandons Prisoner

ABC News (US) – Nick Cheesman
What constitutes torture? A recent case in Thailand demonstrates its perverse logic

This article comes from practices discovered by a CCTV video in Thailand but has ramifications for all, as it describes “clean torture,” torture that leaves few marks.  “The video in question is dated 5 August 2021. It is almost ten minutes in length. Its origin is a CCTV camera in the office of the narcotics suppression police in Nakhon Sawan, a few hours north of Bangkok. In it, a group of men, since identified as policemen ranked from corporal up to colonel, suffocate a detainee with plastic bags.”  Cheesman invites examination not only of the wrong of torture but what constitutes torture.  Starting with the requisite secrecy, he lays out the elements of torture.