Human rights

 Aug. 23, 2013

 Ottawa Citizen Editorial
The rights of prisoners 

 The editorial recalls that inmates in prison do have human rights but that some of the recent happenings are suggesting that officials and institutions charged with the interim custody of citizens may operate in such a way to deny basic human rights.  “A big part of the problem is a fundamental disrespect for inmates, many of whom have not even been convicted of a crime.”
Canadians may be victims of illicit spying 

 Retired judge Robert Decary who is charged with monitoring the legal compliance of Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) for Parliament has filed a report suggesting that there have been instances this past year of illegal surveillance of Canadian citizens by our own government spy agency. 

 Ottawa Citizen – Teresa Smith
Crime prevention officers hope to shift policing away from mental health, addiction issues Focus moves to partnerships with community groups

 Ottawa police are about to put a new approach to policing in place.  The model used is from the Community Mobilization program in Prince Albert, Sask., which Sgt. Brent Kalinowski says has brought violent crime down 32 per cent since it began in 2011.

 CBC News
Mental illness patients strain Canada’s police forces 

 This report is part of the Association of Chiefs of Police AGM recently held in Winnipeg and better known by now for its endorsement of tickets for pot users.  But the chiefs also had some comments on the drain caused by making police the front-line for mental health.

 Winnipeg Free Press – Dan Lett
Tories act out of spite in pot spat with cops 

 Lett’s assessment is that there are some bad feelings between the police chiefs and the federal Tories because the chiefs endorsed the notion of a ticket for simple possession of marijuana.  Peter MacKay reacted without addressing the suggestion of alternative response at all, simply re-iterating defense for keeping status quo.

 CTV News
Drug problems persist, particularly in some areas of the city

Here’s a novel educational tool.  CTV has a map of the city of London with red dots to show areas where over 100 discarded needles have been found, thanks to the work of London Cares.  The 13 drop boxes for discarded needles started in 2012 and have taken more than half a million needles out of harm’s way.

 CBC News
Lack of halfway house hurting N.W.T. prisoners

 Joe Pintarics, executive director of Yellowknife’s Healing Drum Society, says that since the Salvation Army closed its Yellowknife halfway house, offenders must go south for a halfway house or stay in jail until full parole.

 Australia Network News –
Australia’s indefinite detention of refugees ‘cruel, inhuman’, UN says 

 Accusing Australia of breaking the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN has declared the indefinite detention of 46 people cruel and unjust.  The 46, who were first declared refuges and therefore could not be sent back, are detained without the ability to challenge the detention. 

 The Age (Australia) – Fiona McLeod
Paying the price for public safety –  Prisoner rehabilitation works if the justice system is adequately funded

 The perspective is a little like what Chesterton said about Christianity: no one can say Christianity does not work – no one has tried it.  So with parole and re-entry.  The common stumbling block seems to be a willingness to pay adequately for the required services.  This may be a good article for prompting dreams about what a system of parole with adequate community funding could do to recidivism. 

 Huffington Post – Dyanoosh Youssefi
James Forcillo’s Bail Proves a Double Standard 

 While agreeing with the decision to offer bail, Youssefi points out that others charged with second degree murder would wait in jail for trial, suggesting a double standard.  But if the system can work this well for a police officer, why not for the average person caught up in the criminal courts as well?