Grotesque greed…

Aug 10, 2033

(Last newsletter advertised the availability of a British Lancet article entitled “Social thinning and stress generation after childhood mistreatment: a neurocognitive social transactional model of psychiatric vulnerability” by McCrory, Foulkes, and Viding of University College of London.  Smart Justice has available a pdf of their study that contributes significantly to the awareness and understanding of trauma in childhood and its implications for human development.  This study projects forward from childhood the impact of maltreatment trauma, another bookend to all the work with trauma as a reality found in incarcerated persons.  This is a most worthwhile article and available on your e-mail request. )

 CBC News – Guy Quenneville
After UN chief calls out ‘scandalous’ profits, Ottawa offers no plan to hike taxes on oil and gas industry – UN chief recently criticized energy companies for ‘grotesque greed’

The theory, more often espoused in its absence perhaps, is that everyone should pay a fair share of taxes.  That did not stop UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres from denouncing what should be embarrassing oil company profits and suggesting that taxing them on behalf of the most vulnerable needs to happen now.  Says Guterres:  “This grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people, while destroying our only common home, the planet,” Guterres said. “We are seeing excessive scandalous profits of the oil and gas industry in a moment in which all of us are losing money.”   Related article:  National Observer – Émile Boisseau-Bouvier & Laura Cameron  Time’s running out on Canada’s reckless, inefficient $8.6-billion Big Oil support

The Lawyer’s Daily – Ian Burns
Grassroots campaign wants to reform ‘dangerous’ non-disclosure agreements in Canada, abroad

NDA’s have shown up in many agreements and contracts, some of which venture in the arena of accountability and prevent transparency of what should be public knowledge.  “The use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) has exploded in recent years, moving far beyond their original intent of protecting trade secrets to cover allegations of sexual misconduct and other incidents of harassment in both the workplace and beyond. But a new international campaign, co-founded by a Canadian law professor, is setting out to reform how they are used.”  The Can’t Buy My Silence campaign is promoted by Julie Macfarlane, a distinguished university professor (emerita) at the University of Windsor’s faculty of law, and Zelda Perkins, who once worked for disgraced film producer and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.

MacDonald Laurier Institute – Ken Coates
Canada’s paternalistic mindset toward supporting Indigenous communities just doesn’t work: Ken Coates in the Globe and Mail – A damning Parliamentary Budget Officer report revealed a gaping disconnect between the government’s aspirations and the amount of money spent on the one hand, and the actual consequences on the other.

The political and social buzz around the costs of Indigenous healing and reconciliation will undoubtedly be accompanied by demands for financial recompense and cost estimates.  In this article, Coates, a distinguished fellow and director of the Indigenous Affairs program at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan, suggests that what has been spent to date does not bring the players closer to any improvements in the goals set for that redress, largely, he suggests, due to the mindset of government paternalism.  Related article: The Crux – John L. Allen, Jr  Roman stunner: More or less, the Vatican tells the truth about its money

 The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK) – Richard Garside and Roger Grimshaw
Criminal justice systems in the UK

Here is a link to an overview of the United Kingdom’s criminal justice system and how it operates.  There are four specific aspects to this report: How are the main UK criminal justice institutions organised? How did they develop over time into their current form?  How are they held to account?  How can ordinary citizens challenge them and influence their work?

 Spectrum News One (Albany, NY) – Nick Reisman
New York will no longer use ‘inmate’ for people in prison

New York state has decided that the term ‘inmate’ is dehumanizing and has decided that the better way to describe the reality is ‘incarcerated individual’ in official and legal documents.  The decision comes with an effort to both reduce prison populations and to improve the support for formerly incarcerated people in the pursuit to re-establish themselves.  Governor Kathy Hochul: “In New York, we’re doing everything in our power to show that justice and safety can go hand-in-hand,” Hochul said. “We can make our streets and communities safer by giving justice-involved individuals the chance to complete their rehabilitation program and work at the same time. By treating all New Yorkers with dignity and respect, we can improve public safety while ensuring New Yorkers have a fair shot at a second chance.”–inmate–for-people-in-prison?cid=share_twitter

Tweet from Eric Reinhart:

“I often take care of people after suicide attempts. When they explain why they tried to die, a large proportion say they could no longer see “the point” in life. “There’s no meaning for me, no reason to live.” Most clinicians push against this idea to dissuade people from it.”  Reinhart, who describes himself as Anthropologist, Physician, Psychoanalyst  Research: political anthropology of law, prisons, & public health; history of racial, psychiatric, & aesthetic ideas, is currently at Harvard and draws some powerful connections between mental health and the ways Public Health could improve both health systems and patient care.  This string is well worthwhile for its succinctness in how we could respond to a myriad of society’s problems including public health, mass incarceration, prisons, addictions …

Solitary Watch – Jean Casella
The Word: The Art of Changing Hearts and Minds on Solitary Confinement

Jack Powers spent 33 years in Federal prison and over two decades in solitary: “…during his time in solitary Jack Powers “committed serious self-harm, wrote prolifically, lost his son, educated himself and participated in a monumental civil case regarding the abuse and neglect of inmates. Today, he is a reflection of all of his life experiences—a profoundly changed man, an author, a mourning father and a loving son, and a critical voice in the anti-solitary confinement and prison reform movements.”  Included is a 13 minute video that Casella says describes “… that space—the chasm between justice and reality—where understanding and outrage are born.“   Cf also other material on solitary at the link.  Related article: Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (UK) – Prison Service Journal #261   A special edition of Prison Service Journal, looking at life imprisonment.