Voice of Fire…

Aug 19, 2022

Just published:  Our Voice of Fire: A Memoir of a Warrior Rising – Brandi Morin (House of Anansi Press, 2022)

This book, also available as an e-book, is an excellent resource around the impact of the cultural genocide against the Indigenous People, as well as a well written, good read.  Morin is a well-known researcher, journalist and commentator, and now biographer, on Indigenous affairs who writes with clarity and passion about what the Indigenous people face as the aftermath of the government and church policies towards Indigenous People.  The book offers settler hope, understanding and coping in its conclusion: “We will be heard, we will be seen, and we will kindle the fires of justice across the lands.  And we will not stop until the world is ablaze with hope, with peace and with love.”   A must read for anyone pursuing the path of reconciliation in Canada.

Homeless Hub – PROOF, University of Toronto – Valerie Tarasuk, Tim Li, Andrée-Anne Fafard St-Germain
Household Food Insecurity in Canada 2021 – 

“Following the inclusion of food insecurity as an indicator for Canada’s Poverty Reduction Strategy in 2018, the Canadian Income Survey (CIS) began the annual monitoring of household food insecurity. Drawing on data from the CIS, this report presents a portrait of household food insecurity in Canada in 2021, examining who is most affected and how food insecurity rates differ across the country. The report also uses CIS data to examine food insecurity rates in 2019 and 2020, providing a look at food insecurity before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic…This report is designed to provide a tool to describe the problem of food insecurity in Canada, monitor trends, and identify priorities for interventions to address this major public health issue. It builds on the extensive work of Health Canada and Statistics Canada in measuring and monitoring household food insecurity.”  Full report:  https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Household%20Food%20Insecurity%20in%20Canada%2C%202021%20-%20PROOF%5B63%5D.pdf

Toronto Star – Robert Benzie
Doug Ford Tories unveil health-care changes to free up hospitals but stress ‘Ontarians will always access health care with their OHIP card’ – Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra unveiled a suite of changes that may not appease critics who fear increased privatization.

Health critics do not appear to be satisfied that the government announcements for cure to the current health care crisis are anything but minor changes and a rationale for private health care in Ontario.  “After hinting at radical surgery for Ontario’s pandemic-ravaged health-care system, Premier Doug Ford is opting for a series of more minor procedures… But Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra unveiled a suite of changes Thursday that did not appease critics who fear increased privatization.”  https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2022/08/18/doug-ford-tories-unveil-health-care-changes-to-free-up-hospital-capacity-but-stress-ontarians-will-always-access-health-care-with-their-ohip-card.html?source=newsletter&utm_source=ts_nl&utm_medium=email&utm_email=404CAADEF7EB839FC77B1B04F0C251E1&utm_campaign=bn_140317

Post-Incident Neighbourhood Support (Ottawa)
A decade of building resilience in Ottawa communities

This 16 page report may prove helpful to small community crime prevention efforts and aims to help communities deal with traumatizing incidents – shots fired, death by suicide, shootings, etc.  Known as Post-incident Neighbourhood Support or PINS, “PINS encourages a team approach between community health and resource centres, social service agencies, Ottawa Community Housing, resident and community associations, community houses, city councillors’ offices, City of Ottawa staff, the Ottawa Police Service and other community stakeholders.”  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FGKNCfLQAGB7fVcQP2o21E6WiX43FKC6/view  (Follow up contact:  Abdirahman Hussein at 613-745-0073 ext 210 or by email at abdirahman.hussein@crcrr.org

RTE (Ireland) – Ian Marder
How should Ireland’s new sentencing guidelines operate?

Marder, from Maynooth University, offers a reflective piece on a revision of Ireland’s sentencing guidelines.  He includes consideration of sentencing principles, life sentences (minimum of 12 years served), discretion of judges, priorities for sentencing, short term sentences, out of court resolution, and the lower level of maturity in control by youth.  Marder’s link also offers a number of other connections on contemporary concerns in Ireland.  https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2022/0816/1315974-ireland-sentencing-guidelines-judges-courts/

The Appeal.com – Caleb Brennan
Amid Fears of Crime and Mental Illness, States Move to Expand Forced Treatment – Advocates of assisted outpatient treatment say it could reduce homelessness and mass shootings. Critics call it incarceration by another name.

In 1999, 32 year old Kendra Webdale was pushed in front of a subway train by a man just released from a mental hospital two weeks previously.  NY State reacted by legislating Kendra’s law which allows courts to force people who resist mental health treatment into a forced compliance or what is called ‘Assisted Outpatient Treatment’ and further failure to comply can result in forced hospitalization.  Since this NY beginning over 40 states have some version of AOT in place with over 9,000 people under treatment, 3,000 in NY State.  There are over one million people undergoing involuntary psychiatric detentions.  Brennan offers a contrasting view on the legality, the willingness of the states to fund the programs, de-institutionalization of treatment, the relation between mental illness and crime and other items.  https://theappeal.org/assisted-outpatient-treatment-criminalization-mental-illnes/

Washington Post (US) – Lauren Lumpkin
Johns Hopkins wants to change policing. Many fear it won’t work. After protests, two-year ‘pause,’ the Baltimore University moves ahead with a campus police force

The US now has over 18,000 police forces and the ratio of private security to police is about ten to one (President Biden has just announced funding for an additional 100,000).  Universities and college campus are mostly secured by private, hired security without the usual police powers.  Johns Hopkins has renewed a previous decision to establish a police force on campus in spite of considerable resistance, raising the issue as well for other tertiary education sites.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2022/08/16/johns-hopkins-police-force/

Tweet from Christopher Blackwell (Incarcerated in the US):

These days of inflation need to bear in mind that inflation impacts those in prison as well.  “Prices in the prison commissary went up again. They’ve gone up 4 times in 5 months. Some things have almost tripled. Pay has been $.55/hour for decades. I don’t know how prisoners with no outside support can do it anymore. Nothing in prison is free.”  https://twitter.com/ChrisWBlackwell/status/1559305945099841536?s=03  Related article: The Marshall Project (US) – Beth Schwartzapfel    Prison Money Diaries: What People Really Make (and Spend) Behind Bars – We asked people in prison to track their earning and spending — and bartering and side hustles — for 30 days. Their accounts reveal a thriving underground economy behind bars.   https://www.themarshallproject.org/2022/08/04/prison-money-diaries-what-people-really-make-and-spend-behind-bars   Related article:  Michigan Radio (US) – Beenish Ahmed   The cost of calls keep families disconnected and keep jails funded   https://www.michiganradio.org/criminal-justice-legal-system/2022-08-15/cost-of-calls-from-jail

Solitary Watch (US) – Victoria Law
These Labor Unions Are Fighting to Keep Solitary Confinement – A Corrections Officers’ Union in New York Is Campaigning against New Restrictions on Solitary Confinement—and It’s Not the Only Union in the Country Opposing Prison Reform

The clash between employment opportunity and new prisons is well known: prisons provide jobs and often in isolated areas where there is relatively scanty economic activity.  This report draws attention to the second type of such conflict between the perceived interest of labor union representing the guards and prison practices that are known to be ineffective and damaging to physical and mental health of the incarcerated.  In this case the Humane Alternate to Long Term Solitary (HALT Solitary) interrupted an eight month solitary when an incarcerated man had already spent one month in solitary.  “Hailed as the most progressive in the country, it (HALT) limits solitary confinement in New York prisons to no more than 15 consecutive days.”   https://solitarywatch.org/2022/08/16/these-labor-unions-are-fighting-to-keep-solitary-confinement/