Immigration detention

December 5, 2012

Victoria Times Colonist – Katie DeRosa
 Free on streets of fear

What prompts refuges to take chances with human smugglers?  DeRosa follows the case of a 25 year old Sri Lankin and his family. Family dispersed, he is waiting in Thailand for resolution of his status for over five years, four of them in a windowless detention center.

No one is illegal (Vancouver, B.C.)
Bill C 31 will re-victimize women refugees and their children

In Canada, the new legislation, advocates say, makes the detention and removal process much easier.  “Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, will result in the arbitrary detention, intimidation, failure to protect, and ultimate re-victimization of highly vulnerable people who seek asylum in Canada, especially the most vulnerable among them, women and children.”

Medill Report (Chicago) – Tara Kadioglu
 Sister of Mercy urges compassion for immigrant detainees

A 77 year old Roman Catholic nun is in the middle of the immigration detention and removal issue in Chicago.  She explains her ministry and her frustrations in a four minute video.

Guardian (UK) – Sadhbh Walshe
Expensive and inhumane: the shameful state of US immigrant detention

This report from the UK Guardian puts some numbers on US immigration detention practices and raises concerns about the growth of the private prison to pursue them.  “Since mandatory detention laws were introduced in 1996, the number of immigrants who are held in custody as they fight deportation orders or seek asylum has increased from around 70,000 per year in the mid 1990s to a record 425,000 in 2011. This has been a major boost for private prison companies who have captured (literally) about half of the lucrative immigrant detention market.”

Boston (MA) Daily – Jean Trounstine
Why Keep Dying Prisoners Behind Bars?

Following a recent report from Human Rights Watch and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Trounstine paints a deplorable  picture in the area of compassionate commutation of sentence for the dying in the state and federal prisons.  The system, if ever on track, is now decidedly off the rails. The report says Trounstine “creates a shocking picture of a broken compassionate-release system at the federal level for a growing population of sick and elderly prisoners. Among the findings is how the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) fails to bring prisoners’ cases to the courts. It’s similar in Massachusetts.” Full Human Rights Report:

Abbotsford Today (BC) – Abbotsford Restorative Justice and Advocacy Association (ARJAA)
 The Value Of Abbotsford Restorative Justice

Executive Director Joanne Field lays out the funding and suggests a multiplier effect in preventative measures in the community, especially among first time youth offenders.  The approach and model is  replicated across Canada and speaks volumes about the strength of community based volunteers involved in justice issues.  ARJAA Board chair says: “I have learned first-hand from working with youth that, Restorative Justice provides a timely and powerful life changing intervention that redirects youth from a possible path of crime towards becoming a positive and contributing citizen of our community.” ARJAA Web site:

Occupational Health and Safety Magazine – Greg Burchell
On the Brink – Prison overcrowding

Burchell suggests that the raising of the cap on the officer / prisoner ratio and the reduction of officer has led to a considerable increase in violent incidents in prisons in BC, now at almost double the capacity number.  The magazine editor draws a comprehensive view of the problems and causes, first in BC and then across Canada, and involves a number of well known authorities on these issues.  In short, an excellent article on a growing concern.

Canberra Times (Australia) – Michael Inman
 Databank ‘not enough for justice’

Here’s an interesting proposal about putting some humans in place to interpret and monitor Australia’s new $2.2 million databank of sentences for criminal offences. “Canberra needs a council of justice experts to act as a bridge between the criminal justice system and the general public,” senior lecturer Dr Lorana Bartels says.