Where’s the money?

April 11, 2022

National Magazine  / Canadian Bar Association – Dale Smith
Budget 2022: What’s in it for justice – Federal budget promises more superior court judges, legal aid.

This week’s federal budget seems to have some money for more judges and for legal aid.  “…the Trudeau Liberals are promising to create 24 new superior court positions, including new associate chief justices for Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. The price tag for this promise is $83.8 million over five years, with $17.8 million per year ongoing for these positions… The budget also outlines a one-time $60 million contribution to legal aid services, in partnership with provinces and territories, intended to flow in the 2023-24 fiscal year… The budget proposes to inject $43.5 million for the current fiscal year to enhance legal aid for immigration and refugee legal services to support legal aid for asylum seekers.”  https://www.nationalmagazine.ca/en-ca/articles/law/access-to-justice/2022/budget-2022-what-s-in-it-for-justice  Related article: Canadian Politics and Public Policy – Kevin Page with Sahib Dhaliwal and Meagan Frendo  https://www.policymagazine.ca/budget-2022-modest-measured-and-responsible-in-uncertain-times/   Related article: CBC News – Joseph Tunney  Finance Minister Freeland defends the budget, citing $30 billion for child care   https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/women-budget-2022-gender-inequity-1.6414178  Related artcile: CBC News – John Paul Tasker  Freeland’s budget leaves out a number of major Liberal campaign promises – Money for long-term care, cash to hire more doctors and a promised mental health transfer didn’t make the cut  https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/freeland-budget-election-promises-missing-1.6413722

 CBC News
Canadian inmates still face isolation amounting to torture, experts say – Criminologists say 2021 study that found ‘torture rates’ higher in Quebec, B.C., Yukon went unheeded

The use of solitary in Canadian prisons is perniciously stubborn despite abundant evidence and expert testimony around the damage done to the incarcerated, – torture-  but yet solitary persists.  “Following court rulings finding inmates’ charter rights were being violated, the Canadian government officially abolished administrative segregation in November 2019 and replaced it with a new system known as structured intervention units (SIU)… But an Enquête investigation has found the new system is still being used more often — and for longer periods of time — than intended.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/federal-inmates-solitary-confinement-enquete-1.6410882  Related article: Radio Canada (French) Johanne Faucher  Illustrations : Sophie Lecle  La prison dans la prison –  Les Nations unies l’ont qualifié de torture; des tribunaux canadiens, de traitement cruel et inusité. L’isolement carcéral, officiellement aboli par Ottawa en novembre 2019, se poursuit derrière les murs malgré tout. Le Service correctionnel du Canada a du mal à se passer de cette pratique pour maintenir l’ordre dans les pénitenciers du pays.  https://ici.radio-canada.ca/recit-numerique/3895/prison-penitencier-isolement-trou-canada-mandela   Related article: CBC News Enquetes – Johanne Faucher Sortir du trou  https://ici.radio-canada.ca/tele/enquete/site/episodes/601357/prison-isolement-trou-torture-detenus

CBC News – Shaina Luck
N.S. judge agrees to strike down law permitting prison ‘dry cells’ – ‘We are thrilled,’ says lawyer for Lisa Adams, who spent 16 days in cell without flushing toilet

‘Dry cells’ involves locking incarcerated women in a cell long enough to cause them to pass any contraband hidden in body orifices.  The practice is a variation on solitary confinement but one is under constant watch and lights.  The amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act regulations will not ban the practice entirely – only for those suspected of concealing something.  “Prisoners placed in one of the cells are subject to round-the-clock lighting. They are constantly watched by guards through a window and monitored by security cameras, even while using a toilet that doesn’t flush… (Lisa) Adams was in the institution serving a two-year sentence for drug trafficking and was put in a dry cell on suspicion she hid drugs in her vagina. A doctor’s examination eventually showed she did not have any drugs inside her… She suffered a mental breakdown and severe emotional distress during the 16 days she was in the cell.”  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ns-judge-agrees-to-strike-down-law-permitting-dry-cells-1.6247118?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar  Related article: Toronto Star / Canadian Press – Laura Osman, The Canadian Press    Dry cells to be banned for women prisoners suspected of carrying contraband in bodies   https://www.thestar.com/politics/2022/04/11/dry-cells-to-be-banned-for-women-prisoners-suspected-of-carrying-contraband-in-bodies.html

Criminological Highlights – Anthony N. Doob and Rosemary Gartner, University of Toronto

The eight papers that are summarized in this issue address the following questions: 1)   What happens if a medium security prison is set up in a manner that allows prisoners to live productive lives within the prison walls?  2)   What accounts for the fact that the Black incarceration rate in the US is roughly 6 times that of the White incarceration rate?  3) What is the impact on crime of letting prisoners out sooner than might be expected?  4) Why are calls to “defund” or “abolish” the police counterproductive? 5) What is missing in the manner in which halfway houses are conceptualized and run?  6) Why might the term “overdose prevention site” be preferable to the term “safe injection site”?  7) Are police more at risk when they respond to disputes involving intimate partners than when they respond to similar incidents in which the participants are not in such a relationship? 8) Do mandatory sentencing laws affect crime rates?  https://www.crimsl.utoronto.ca/research-publications/criminological-highlights  (Note: there is a brief delay posting the latest edition to the website – patience this edition has a number of very pertinent commentaries.  You can request a free subscription if you wish a pdf version.)

Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis
Brampton teen died hours after ‘struggle’ with off-duty Toronto cop, documents reveal – Toronto police Consts. Gurmakh Benning and Calvin Au are facing misconduct charges for allegedly failing to document the confrontation with 19-year-old Chadd Facey. The SIU is separately investigating Facey’s death.

19-year-old Chadd Facey had an encounter with two Toronto police constables and died one day later.  There is mystery and confusion around the encounter and the involvement of the officers in a Kijiji sale of an alleged counterfeit watch.  “Exactly what led to Facey’s death remains unknown, including whether it was caused by the interaction with Toronto police Consts. Gurmakh Benning and Calvin Au, who are now facing misconduct charges for allegedly failing to document or report their involvement.”  The two policemen are currently charged with six offences each under the Police Services Act.  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2022/04/07/brampton-teen-died-hours-after-off-duty-toronto-cops-confronted-him-over-counterfeit-apple-watch-documents-reveal.html?li_source=LI&li_medium=thestar_recommended_for_you

Washington Post (US) – Jasmine Hilton
Georgetown degree program launches for Maryland prisons

Most justice advocates place great trust in the power of education, especially tertiary education, in rehabilitation of incarcerated persons.  Georgetown is a Jesuit University known for law and foreign services in Washington, DC., but the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, Maryland now has an initial 25 enrolled in a liberal arts degree program.  The plan, first developed as the Prison Scholars Program in the DC jail, will add 25 more students successively until the program has 125 enrolled.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/04/10/georgetown-university-degree-maryland-prison/   Related article: The Marshall Project (US) – Keri Blakinger  The Prisoner-Run Radio Station That’s Reaching Men on Death Row – They can’t go to classes or prison jobs, and they don’t have tablets or televisions. But they do have radios.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/12/20/the-prison-radio-station-that-s-reaching-men-on-death-row?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_medium=social