Prison health…

Dec 3, 2021 

CBC News – Jack Julian
National advocacy group joins inmate’s lawsuit alleging substandard medical care in prisons – ‘We believe that this is throughout the federal prison system,’ says John Howard Society

John Howard Society is calling on government and Corrections Canada to address what has been repeatedly and consistently documented: the lack of adequate health care for people in federal prison.  Under Canadian law, federal prisoners are excluded from provincial health-care systems, and medical treatments are provided directly by the Correctional Service of Canada… “We believe that that’s really the crux of the issue…. When your jailor is your health-care provider, it creates an irreconcilable set of conflicts,” said Catherine Latimer, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada…  “As the jailor, you’re preoccupied with security issues and fiscal issues, and those often trump the medical needs of the individual prisoner.”   The lawsuit has been filed in Nova Scotia.  A similar lawsuit has been filed in BC over the CSC medical response to Covid-19.  Related article: Nunatsiaq News  Madalyn Howitt  Transfer of Inuk inmate to new prison prompted 74-day segregation, witnesses say – Inquest into suicide of murderer Mark Jeffrey while in prison enters second week of testimony  Related article: Muskoka Joyce Jonathan Crone   Ontario justice system fails Indigenous people like deceased Beaver Creek inmate – A national framework needed, says Mohawk columnist  Related article: The Conversation (Queen’s) –  Jasmeet Bahia   The acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse raises questions about white privilege

CTV News – Rachel Aiello
House of Commons unanimously agrees to pass conversion therapy bill

Unanimous!  That’s how the House of Commons dealt with the conversion therapy bill, a previous controversial bill delayed in the previous Liberal government’s legislative agenda.  “Bill C-4 proposes to eliminate the harmful practice in Canada for all ages, through four new Criminal Code offences. It includes wider-reaching vocabulary of what constitutes conversion therapy than what the federal government attempted to pass in the last Parliament.”  The Bill is now en route to the Senate before becoming law in Canada.

Homeless Hub, Mental Health Commission of Canada, and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
COVID-19, Mental Wellness, and the Homelessness Workforce

This briefing is intended for the caregivers and suggests what can be done at the service and organizational level to respond to those in mental health crisis or addiction while at once homeless.  The 12 page report offers concise recommendations and the key considerations behind the recs.  The conclusion to the report has some things we need to hear about the status of the care givers in particular, after the Covid-19 impact.   Homeless Hub link:

Senate Public Bill 230 – Sponsored by Senator Kim Pate
An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act – Short title: Providing Alternatives to Isolation and Ensuring Oversight and Remedies in the Correctional System Act (Tona’s Law)

The Bill has finished first reading in the Senate as of December 2, 2021.  Among other changes, the Bill requires that people sentenced to prison with mental health issues be sent to a hospital and that structured intervention be limited to 48 hours without a direct court order.   Full text of Bill S230 at First Reading:

Ontario TVO – The Agenda with Sheila Regehr

“If income is the problem, then you address income.” –

Sheila Regehr, (Basic Income Canada Network (BICN).  The link is to an excellent one minute summary of why basic income is the solution to the disparity of income that prompts so many other service in piecemeal or silo approaches.  Very sensible advice from Sheila on the TVO show Agenda with Steve Paiken.   (Unable to get a link to this panel discussion at Basic Income or at TVO.  It may be too soon for the moment.) Web site:


Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Making rehab work

Webster offers access to a report from two researchers, Kevin Crowley, Mike Pattinson from Phoenix Futures, a residential rehab center.  The use of and access to residential treatment facilities for addiction has been declining in the UK and the report seeks ways to restore the proven effectiveness to help those receiving treatment: the stats amount to .8 % or 2,000 of 270,000 of those in treatment.  Over a ten year period the number has decreased by one half overall and resources dwindled to the point of pre-occupation with survival among the residences.  Related article: NBC News (US) – Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project   Banned from jobs: People released from prison fight laws that keep punishing them – Thousands of laws and policies prevent people with criminal records from working in fields from cosmetology to counseling.   Related article: Prison Reform Trust (UK) – It Doesn’t Have To Be Like This Prisoner Policy Network Perspectives on Future Prison Design  Related article: Blogger Russell Webster (UK) – Prisons need to become places of purpose, not just punishment

Brennan Center for Justice – Michael Li
Early Lessons from Redistricting – Five initial takeaways from the map-drawing process so far give some clues to what to look out for next.

Known as gerrymandering, the process is endless and based on the latest census to determine the proportions of representation to which each district is entitled.  But the process invites looking at the way the established district voted the last time and how it may be re-districted to alter the potential outcome to the party in power.  All political parties (including Canadian) do it but nothing is more destructive of the voter’s right since the process alters the choice to the party rather than the voter.  The Brennan Center is a well-respected advocate for democracy in the US.