Mar 24, 2022

Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) – 50th anniversary
Democracy under threat? Polarization and public policy in Canada – IRPP 50th Anniversary event series: What should be on Canada’s policy radar?

IRPP is inviting direct personal participation or on-line participation in the a discussion held in collaboration with the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, on the impact of polarization on public policy in Canada.  This series of events is co-sponsored by IRPP, the CBC and the Munk School of Global Affairs at UofT.  March 30, 2022 at 4PM   Register:  Personal attendance –  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/democracy-under-threat-political-polarization-in-canada-tickets-298513420677?mc_cid=37882ef88e&mc_eid=0823b9a108   On-Line:  https://munkschool-utoronto-ca.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZYWNHxqMT7GsJQdlZJTW9g?mc_cid=37882ef88e&mc_eid=0823b9a108

Ottawa Citizen – Andrejs Berzins (Letter to the Editor)
Restorative Justice deserves funding

The comments here link to the last newsletter’s story about Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA).  What is noteworthy is that the writer is the recently retired Crown Attorney for Ottawa and former board member for this volunteer group.  Rather than “a someone-told-me-so” commentary, this is a statement of support by a very credible witness.  https://epaper.ottawacitizen.com/ottawa-citizen/20220321/page/5/textview

Blogger Russell Webster (UK)
Education, experience of care and offending

The commentary is taking advantage of the Big Data reports obtained by combining several data sets.  The focus here is on the educational needs and experiences of three subsets of offending youth: those cautioned but for less serious offences, those caution or convicted of serious violent offenses, and those with prolific offending.  The report offers a series of commentary on the level of educational achievement.  https://www.russellwebster.com/education-experience-of-care-and-offending/

Toronto Star – Brendan Kennedy
Supreme Court hearing to put ‘mass’ Indigenous incarceration in the spotlight – Advocates say if case is upheld it could help reduce the number of Indigenous people behind bars.

In the mind of Dr. Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator, the country is approaching “historic and unconscionable levels of Indigenous concentration in federal penitentiaries.” In fact, he says, “Nearly half of all women in Canada’s federal prisons are Indigenous… That’s 10 times their share of the general population… Looking at men and women together, Indigenous people account for about one-third of those in federal custody.”  Pam Hrick, executive director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, says it’s worse.  She calls the record “mass incarceration, and it’s directly linked to systemic discrimination and the effects of colonialism.”  In the Sharma case, mandatory sentence was overruled and upheld in an appeal court but challenged by the federal justice department.  The Supreme Court will hear the case and decide further on the constitutionality of mandatory sentences, especially in the light of Gladu.  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/03/22/supreme-court-hearing-to-put-mass-indigenous-incarceration-in-the-spotlight.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_canada

The Sentencing Project and Fair and Just Prosecution  (US) – Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D., Emma Stammen, and Connie Budaci
Felony Murder: An On-Ramp for Extreme Sentencing

A 36 page downloadable pdf is a joint effort by several collaborating organizations and seeks to expose the connection between felony murder prosecutions and the growing tendency to impose unreasonable sentences.  The report looks in detail at the scope of the problem, racial bias, the impact on women, and criminological unsoundness of the practice.  “Murder typically refers to an intentional killing. But “felony murder” laws hold people like Mendoza liable for murder if they participated in a felony, such as a robbery, that resulted in someone’s death… These laws impose sentences associated with murder on people who neither intended to kill nor anticipated a death, and even on those who did not participate in the killing.”  https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Felony-Murder-An-On-Ramp-for-Extreme-Sentencing.pdf

The Lawyer’s Daily – Amanda Jerome
Ontario introduces legislation increasing police enforcement tools in wake of convoy disruption

The new Bill has a focus, it appears, on impeding border traffic rather than what was witnessed in Ottawa.  The Keeping Ontario Open for Business Act, 2022 says the government release would “enable law enforcement to better protect jobs that rely on international trade and shield the economy from future disruptions like the recent illegal blockade of Windsor’s Ambassador Bridge, which led to factory closures, shift reductions and halted billions of dollars’ worth of trade.”  https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/criminal/articles/34684/ontario-introduces-legislation-increasing-police-enforcement-tools-in-wake-of-convoy-disruption?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal

The Crime Report (John Jay College – US) –  Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Alia Nahra
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’: The Failure of Prison Oversight

The media, both public and social, is alive with reports around traumatic brain injury and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) as major contributing factors in justice and mass incarceration.  Add to the confusion a growing realization that adequate supervision of what happens inside the prison and in the 8×10 ft cell, a view typically well outside the over view of any regulatory body.  Incredibly, there are some 18 bodies doing the over sight but pretty well all rely on monitors employed by the system.  “Terrible condi­tions of confine­ment in Amer­ica’s pris­ons and jails continue to persist, and the nation is in dire need of more prevent­at­ive and inde­pend­ent correc­tional over­sight to rein these abuses in.”   https://thecrimereport.org/2022/03/16/out-of-sight-out-of-mind-the-failures-of-prison-oversight/  Related article: Physicians for Human Rights (US) – “Excited Delirium” and Deaths in Police Custody – The Deadly Impact of a Baseless Diagnosis   https://phr.org/our-work/resources/excited-delirium/   Full report:  https://phr.org/news/excited-delirium-often-cited-as-cause-of-death-in-fatal-police-encounters-is-scientifically-meaningless-phr-report/  (Full report and Executive Summary available – scroll down to heading)

CBC News
Ottawa reveals details of emergency immigration program for Ukrainian refugees – Canada has pledged to take in an ‘unlimited number’ of Ukrainians fleeing the war

 Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has revealed the plan for coping with a large number of expected Ukrainian refugees coming to Canada.  The plan simplifies the document requirement and offers the refugee a three year visa.  Ottawa will also waive all fees for the processing of the requests and is looking only for biometric data and compliance with public health.  Private groups are also engaged in bringing Ukrainian refugees to Canada.   https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ircc-ukraine-visa-program-1.6388498