Feb 15, 2023 – Police drive city budgets…

Feb 15, 2023 – Police drive city budgets…


CBC Radio – Bob Becken

‘Defund the police’ calls in Canada began in 2020. Today, budgets continue to climb – 51% of Canadians supported the idea in 2020, according to a survey

At one point, over 50% of the Canadian public supported the “defund the police” movement but facts are that no police agency in Canada has in fact seen a reduction in funding, most, particularly the larger municipal ones have had sizeable increases to finance more constables.  The lack of political traction may well be due to the fact that the notion has a variety of meanings.  Says Robin Maynard, an advocate and U of T professor:  “”We were promised what was called a racial reckoning by politicians … promising an end to institutional racism, promising an end to the killing of Black people that have been ongoing for successive generations… Those words were just lip service.” She says people were asking for money to be divested from policing, and reinvested into community support and safety — not just for nice words.”  https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/defund-police-2023-budgets-grow-1.6741711   Related article: CBC News – John Rieti, Shawn Jeffords    Toronto police spending $337K on a podcast to avoid perception they’re making ‘copaganda’ – Podcast series ’24 Shades of Blue’ has limited reach, critics question why deal was sole-sourced   https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/tps-podcast-costs-revealed-1.6746905   Tweet from Jessica Hutchison on Waterloo police expenses:  “The WRPS wants $600,000 to pave a parking lot? What else could be done with $600,000?  #RefundTheCommunity


Attention from MOMS (Mothers Offering Mutual Support) of Ottawa:

CBC Ontario Today call-in show with host Amanda Pfeffer


Ontario Today is a CBC radio show that airs at 12:10 – 1 pm Monday to Friday

On Thursday, February 16 the show will be focusing on the rising number of deaths in Ontario jails.   This broadcast is based on the recent report: Sarah Speight and Alexander McClelland. (November 2022) Ontario Deaths in Custody on the Rise. Tracking (In)Justice.    Farhat Rehman will be a featured guest on this program along with Sarah Speight, one of the report’s authors and a former member of the now defunct Citizen Advisory Board (CAB), Rebecca Jessiman.  In addition, two members of MOMS whose loved ones have died in custody will be spotlighted.  You can also listen to the program later by using the CBC Listen app.


Law360.ca – David Dorson

Getting arrested

Under new labelling Lawyer’s Daily is now Law360 and this article draws attention to the lack of complete statistical information about how many people, post-covid, are getting arrested annually.  The article includes conviction rates and national arrest rates, as well as a personal and detailed narrative about an actual arrest.  https://www.law360.ca/criminal/articles/43788/getting-arrested-david-dorson-?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal  Related article: Law360Canada – Cristin Schmitz    Lametti finds ‘likely’ miscarriage of justice in triple murder conviction, seeks appeal   https://www.law360.ca/criminal/articles/43830/lametti-finds-likely-miscarriage-of-justice-in-triple-murder-conviction-seeks-appeal?nl_pk=40ed8ea4-637a-4d76-870f-04f0eeae7de8&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=criminal


Tweet from Brandi Morin – On RCMP arresting a journalist:  “The Narwhal ⁦@thenarwhalca⁩ & photojournalist ⁦@photobracken⁩ are suing the RCMP for unlawful arrest when Amber arrested while covering Wet’su’wet’en raids. For meaningful consequences of police when they interfere with the rights of journalists.”   (https://twitter.com/Songstress28/status/1625210350303072262?t=heu09jJEijsiyH6cUd3fUg&s=03)   Cf  https://t.co/iK1NSGT4a4

Tweet from Alec Karakatsanis – On what crimes to prosecute (US):  “Today in the U.S., corporations will steal $137 million in wages, rich people will steal $2.75 billion in taxes, and 1,300 people will die from poverty, air pollution, and medical error. Think about who benefits from the news ignoring this and focusing on low-level crime instead.”


Tweet from Alex Karakatsanis – On police goals for drug enforcement:  “As Biden calls for more prison in response to fentanyl use, I ask the following question in this thread on the “War on Drugs”: are punishment bureaucrats incompetent at achieving their goals, or are they pursuing goals that are different from what they tell us publicly?”  (cf thread)

Tweet from Eric Reinhart – On fixing public health (US):  “To fix US public health and remake our healthcare system, we must shrink medicine. This is counterintuitive to some, but medical care today is primarily reactive. Most healthcare needs could have been avoided if we had community-based, lay-run preventive care systems.” (Cf string)


The Sentencing Project (US) – Liz Komar, Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. and Kristen M. Budd, Ph.D.

Counting Down: Paths to a 20-Year Maximum Prison Sentence

The authors first recognize that places like Norway have a good record for rehabilitation of convicted persons and at once have a maximum sentence, except for highly unusual circumstances, of 20 years in prison.  The idea includes the notion of shifting other sentences downward proportionately, speaking directly to the US mass incarceration problem and to the racial bias of the U.S. prison system, and to the practice of second look.  The authors also propose a series of steps which could lead to the implementation of the policy.  Here is the powerful conclusion to their report:  “In short, preventive detention should be subject to an array of mandates and restrictions that ensure that it is imposed as little as possible, for as short a period of time as possible, in the most humane way possible. It is unwise both morally and fiscally to incarcerate individuals indefinitely on the basis of unlawful acts they might commit in the future. This negates human capacity for change as well as our fundamental rights to due process of law. Desistance is the norm and occurs far sooner than current sentencing structures acknowledge.” https://www.sentencingproject.org/reports/counting-down-paths-to-a-20-year-maximum-prison-sentence/?emci=fc443b42-11ab-ed11-994d-00224832eb73&emdi=0a873553-3fad-ed11-994d-00224832eb73&ceid=10203385


The Marshall Project: (US) – Alysia Santo

How to Fight Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons? Sue the Courts. Alec Karakatsanis’s quest to stop courts from punishing poor people who can’t pay their fees.

Santo presents the strategy of Alex Karakatsanis, a lawyer and advocate for justice know to our readers for his tweets (cf above).  Karakatsanis has been bringing lawsuits against courts for assigning prison fees and fines against people who cannot pay and then giving the debt collection over to private companies like Providence Community Corrections.  The result is that poor people get a life time of unpayable debt for minor and felony offenses.  The latest lawsuit, against Rutherford Country, Tennessee:   “The lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven plaintiffs and alleges that indigent defendants in Rutherford County have lost their jobs, houses, cars, and even sold their own blood plasma to make payments and avoid jail time.”  Says Karakatsanis: “Everything about this scheme is in flagrant violation of U.S. constitutional law, federal law, and even specific Tennessee law.”  https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/10/01/how-to-fight-modern-day-debtors-prisons-sue-the-courts   Tweet from Alec Karakatsanis – On diversion programs to increase income and On debtor’s prison:  “Because Cindy had never been arrested in her life, the DA told her that her case would be dismissed if she just paid some cash. This kind of extortion is common. DAs and cops across U.S. use cash from “diversion” programs to boost their already bloated budgets. You can read more about Cindy’s case in this article and read a copy of the complaint on our website.”   https://t.co/fQ0vI6toSL: https://t.co/zZnpVyW8At


Prison Reform Trust (UK)

Bromley Briefings Prison Factfile – January 2023 – Matthew Halliday and Alex Hewson

The link offers the definitive statistical reveal on the British Justice System, including sentencing, parole, release, re-offending, in general the use of custody as a response to conviction.  https://prisonreformtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/January-2023-Bromley-Briefings.pdf  ( A 68 page downloadable pdf.)


John Howard Society Week 2023

JHS will be hosting an on-line discussion on the media and criminal justice policy and law reform.

Thursday, February 16, 2023 Structured Intervention Units (SIU) and the effectiveness of Independent External Decision Makers component


Friday, February 17, 2023 Criminal Record Suspension Programs


JOIN US each day at 1 pm EST – https://meet.goto.com/JHSC