Health and hard time


January 16, 2013

Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) – Adam Miller
Health and hard time

The association starts the first of a promising multi-part series on health issues in prisons.  The listing of areas of concern is part of this first article.  The article offers an overview of the services, how they change because of prison, what diseases and risks are specific and the problems with bringing health care to this scene.  Part two is entitled “Imprisoning the mentally ill” and due shortly.  SJN will monitor and advise but some may wish to link directly to CMAJ.

 Globe and Mail – Edward Greenspan and Anthony Doob
Harper’s ‘tough on crime’ is all torque

These two well respected expert advocates have been featured before in SJN.  This article addresses the continuing practice of the “torquing” the policy and rhetoric, mostly around the not-criminally-responsible because of mental disorder.  The practice avoids the rehabilitation and re-integration process.

 Globe and Mail – Jeffrey Simpson
 A matter of justice, without delay

Referring to the Cowper report and recommendations in BC, Simpson suggests that there is an urgency about fixing what creates delays in the justice system where we are spending huge amounts more with considerably less crime. Simpson writes: “Take British Columbia, which, until the late 1990s, had the highest rate of Criminal Code offences of the four western provinces. Today, its rate (third lowest of the four) is about where it was in 1970; it has been dropping for the past 10 years, with youth crime falling faster than overall crime. And yet, less crime has not translated into lower court costs. Crime is down 33 per cent in the past six years, but criminal justice costs are up 35 per cent in the same period.”

 CBC News – Canadian Press
Ashley Smith inquest hears inner workings of women’s prisons

The long awaited inquest into the death of Ashley Smith has begun and this report reviews, prior to a visit by the jurors to Grand Valley where Ashley died, how the prison operates, especially the segregation practices.  The link also provides other links on the case.

 CTV News – two minute video summary
Ashley Smith inquest coroner: ‘How can this happen in our country?’
AOL Report – Graham Wood on Arthur Kellermann
Gun Control Debate: Startling Statistic on Violence at Home Is Back on the Radar

Kellermann is a well known Emergency Room doctor and health advocate who suggests a startling stat.  “A gun kept in the home was 43 times more likely to be involved in the death of a member of the household than to be used in self-defense,” Kellermann told National Public Radio in a recent interview.

APTN National News – Matt Thordarson
From gangs to ‘Crazy Indians’

They look like a gang.  They have gang experience and they talk about brotherhood.  But they want to help Aboriginals out of gangs.

 San Francisco Chronicle Associated Press – Bill Kaczor
Group wants private prisons to rehab Fla. Inmates

A group of business-persons in Florida calling themselves the Florida Smart Justice Alliance want to divert non-violent offenders into drug treatment and mental health programs in unused prisons.

 CBC News – Janyce McGregor
Toews on crime: Now it’s going down

The impossible has happened.  Vic Toews now concedes that crime is going down and the cost of policing going up.  He has called together a group of law enforcement, civilian oversight bodies and academics in a mostly closed door conference in Ottawa.  The concession was made in the Minister’s prepared remarks. 

 CBC News – Michael Kempa
The exploding cost of policing in Canada

The CBC intends a multi-part series on the issues around policing costs.  Kempa, a criminologist, finds evidence in Toews’ statements that at this point we may only expect budget trimming, not any substantial reorientation away from enforcement or into prevention.