Access and the law…

Sept 19, 2021

Mayfair Foundation – Advancing Justice Series (Canada) – Sabreena Delhon
Beyond gatekeepers: Fostering accountable justice

Delhon is advocating for the justice that eliminates poverty and wonders why is that justice so slow in coming.  What, she asks, is “the relationship between human rights, poverty, racism, and the criminal justice system?”  She raises questions about the access to justice through lawyers, and calls on reports from the Canadian Bar Association’s Equal Justice Initiative and the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice that confirm that “the primary barriers to accessing justice in Canada mainly relate to cost, confusion, and disengagement.”  She offers the pandemic, wrongful evictions, family breakdown, domestic violence, employment issues and seniors as areas where access to justice has been denied.     Related article: Canadian Bar Association –  Yves Faguy    Why not commit to transforming justice? Modernizing our justice system in more ways than one needs to be a priority in this election.    Related article: Making the Shift  In Conversation Recap: Re-thinking “The New Normal” for Youth Transitioning out of the Child Welfare System — Early Intervention to Prevent Youth Homelessness  (A May 2021 Webinar)

Scottish Daily Record – Jane Hamilton
Even a cynic like me may have to accept ‘smart’ justice isn’t soft – Experts want judges to stop jailing people under 25 who commit crimes… is it time to embrace rehabilitation?

This link is an infrequent, and very public, change of stance by a hardliner on justice.  The real change comes as Hamilton acknowledges that the heart of all justice is whether an individual can be rehabilitated and if so, especially among youthful offenders, what can we do effect genuine rehab rather than harden the individuals with spiteful punishment?  The key pushing the change for Hamilton is the science of brain development around impulse control.  Scotland has a specific problem with youth carrying knives.   Related article: Stowmarket Mercury (UK) – Tom Potter   Criminals confess to nearly 400 offences thanks to specialist police unit

Toronto Star – Alyshah Hashem
A ‘nightmare’ Toronto murder trial is over. What comes next highlights one of the most difficult questions facing Canada’s prisons

Yostin Murillo and David Beak found Rhoderie Estrada alone in her bedroom and sexually assaulted her, and killed her. Sentenced to life in prison, the two will enter the federal prison system and likely maximum security.   “For Murillo, however, that assessment will likely confront an additional and extremely rare question — can a convicted criminal be too dangerous to go to a women’s prison?”  The issue is around Murillo’s self-identification as transgender.

ABC News (Utah) – Austin Facer
‘Extremely significant’: Death penalty expert believes Utah may be on path to eliminate capital punishment

The significant mover for this expectation is a coalition of state prosecutors who wrote a letter to the Utah governor asking for the repeal of the death penalty.  In part based on the execution of Joe Hill, a labour advocate, now thought innocent, the request reviews the fallacy of the pro-death penalty arguments but highlights that most violent crimes are committed by young males whose brains have not yet fully developed the part of the brain governing impulse actions. Robert Dunham, who works as the Executive Director at the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) in Washington D.C. says: “Most people who commit murders, do so in their adolescent years or in their early 20s, which is before the portions of the brain that address impulse control and consequential thinking are fully developed,”   (Make a point to play the news conference video.)    Related article: BBC News (UK) – Scottish judges to consider rehabilitation first when sentencing young people  Related article: The Marshall Project (US)  – Life Inside Series   Abd’allah Lateef   Parole Is Better Than Prison. But That Doesn’t Mean I’m Free. At age 17, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. I got out due to Supreme Court decisions, but there was one catch: Parole for the rest of my life.