Baby deaths…

Jan 13, 2022

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
A Baby Never Forgotten. A Tribute to Brooke Leigh Powell by Dr. Lucy Baldwin and Louise Powell

This article and the link is most unusual.  Sometimes we can find the worse of our humanity at the edges of the prison system, as many have previously suggested.  This article is one of those narratives: a still-born baby in the toilet stall of a British prison.  Mother Louise: “‘What happened simply should not have, there was time for Brooke to be helped if someone had listened to me and the others asking for help. Also I needed to make sure that this does not happen to any other pregnant women in prison.’”  After a review of other birth related deaths in prison, Dr. Baldwin concludes: “Prison can never be safe for pregnant women.”  Related article: CBC News – Katerina Georgieva   Inmate dies in custody when she needed mental health support — not jail, family says – ‘The system sucks. It’s failed. It’s failed so many people that’s got mental health issues,’ the father says.

 Blogger Russell Webster (UK) –
Why do so many people die in custody?

Acknowledging a “grim but important report” from the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody who studied the incidents from 2016 – 2019, a total of 2769 deaths, the report says that 59% are from natural causes and 80% of these are over age 50, 20% from suicide, 63% under 40. The majority are white in both male and female categories.  There tends to be fewer females than males.  Full report:  Statistical analysis of recorded deaths in custody between 2016 and 2019

CTV News – Brieanna Charlebois
Correctional Service settles human rights case for prisoners addicted to opioids

As a result of a human rights appeal, Corrections Canada has now agreed that public health specialists will oversee the delivery of treatment programs to the 2,684 persons already receiving the treatment, and a further 351 on the wait list for treatment of the approximately 12,500 persons in federal prison. CSC has hired   “Dr. Nader Sharifi, an addictions specialist, to serve as the national medical adviser for the treatment program and agreed to publish wait-list figures to the government website.”  Sharifi thinks that the population with both mental health and addiction concerns is around 32% but concedes that the recent uptick in overdose may be more.   Related article: CBC News –  Dan Scheuerman ·  I watched the opioid crisis from the front lines. I’m glad I’m leaving – Responding to overdoses are increasingly a bigger part of our job as firefighters   Related article: – Aidan Chamandy  Ottawa to study sexual violence in prisons for 1st time in years

Toronto Star – Canadian Press
Appeal Court reduces sentence by half for Alberta woman who killed her husband – Helen Naslund was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Miles Naslund in September 2011 on their farm near Holden, about 100 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

The 18 year sentence for killing an abusive husband raised the hackles of many who thought the conviction even unjust and the failure again of Canadian justice to deal with domestic violence boil over.  “A notice of appeal filed in February of last year said the sentencing judge failed to give proper consideration to the history of domestic abuse… It also said the 18-year sentence brought the “administration of justice into disrepute.”   For many who first objected, a 9 year sentence may not help to restore the integrity of the administration of justice, especially as the Appeal court decision was split 2-1.  What is also at issue is self-defence in the face of a protracted abusive relationship.  Related article: The Lawyer’s Daily – Cristin Schmitz   SCC’s winter term features Charter cases on sentencing, public-interest standing and speedy trials

Toronto Star – Jacques Gallant
Tougher parole rules for some murderers are ‘fair and appropriate,’ Ottawa will argue at Supreme Court

“The case involves Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to murdering six people and attempting to kill six others at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City in 2017.”  As a multiple murderer, Bissonnette was subject to life in prison, usually eligible for parole after 25 years, but Bissonnette was sentenced for 40 years before parole eligibility.  An appeal court already substituted the usual 25 years and now the federal government is seeking a constitutional ruling for the extended eligibility parole sentence.

The Hill Times – Alice Chen
Locked down and locked in: federal inmates face renewed isolation as COVID outbreaks sweep prisons

This time the specific Covid spin-off problem is identified as a collapse of the process of providing Correctional Release plans and it means that persons ready otherwise for release continue to be threatened by the Covid in lockdown.  Many advocates are pushing for release of as many as possible. “Facing an “isolation within isolation,” as federal prisons lockdown in the face of another wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, prisoners are caught in a state of suspension, where progress on correctional plans, and accordingly, the ability to apply for parole and be released, is halted as well, experts say.”  The lockdown means 23 ½ hour a day in the cell.  Included in these experts is the Correctional Investigator Dr. Ivan Zinger.

The Intercept (US) – Jordan Smith and Liliana Segura
Update: Devonia Inman Is Free – After a Georgia judge overturned his conviction, Inman was released after 23 years behind bars.

The frequency of persons who were convicted of murder and serving long sentences is starting to put in question how a court could ever be sure enough of its conviction to impose either the death penalty or a life sentence or otherwise long sentence.   The error this time took 23 years from a person.  Again, the new evidence shows that the prosecutor withheld exculpatory information from the defence.  And as frequently the case, the state fought tooth and nail against the bid for a review of the evidence.