A tax on broken souls…

  Dec. 10, 2013

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Judges defy order to impose Tories’ victim-services surcharge 

 Describing fines on impoverished defendants as “a tax on broken souls,” there appears to be a growing resistance to the idea of making people who are fined pay towards funding victim services.  Judges appear to seek out creative ways to deal with the obligation under law – refusing to apply it, 99 years to pay, reducing the fine to make the percentage for the surcharge low. Says Ontario Court Justice Colin Westman of Kitchener, ON: “Can you imagine being a person who’s got mental illness, who lives under the local underpass, at the hospital or on a park bench, who eats at the soup kitchen, and you’re going to have them pay $100 because they had their day in court?”  John Rimore of John Howard (Sudbury, ON) reminds us that in spite of the rebellion, once the fine is imposed, non-payment can derail efforts to get pardons as well.   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/judges-defy-order-to-impose-tories-victim-services-surcharge/article15820100     Related article: Law Times (Canada)  – Rosalind Conway   A Criminal Mind: Defence counsel warned to pay attention to victim fine surcharges    http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201312093655/commentary/a-criminal-mind-defence-counsel-warned-to-pay-attention-to-victim-fine-surcharges?utm_source=responsys&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20131209_CLNewswire  

 Government of Ontario
Preventing Crime Together: A New Framework for Ontario 

 Issued jointly with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, this 41 page pdf offers a perspective on community safety and crime prevention and was introduced at the recent national RJ meeting in Toronto.Government page link:    http://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/en/events/00000150    Pdf link:  http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/stellent/groups/public/@mcscs/@www/@com/documents/webasset/ec157730.pdf

 Washington Times Communities (US) – Millicent Carvalho-Grevious
Nelson Mandela’s conflict resolution legacy at Pollsmoor prison 

 This article tells of efforts to bring conflict resolution to the prison where Mandela was held.  Joanna Thomas risked her own life to offer an alternate way to the inmates of South Africa’s most violent prison with the Numbers gangs.   http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/why-cant-we-get-along/2013/dec/9/nelson-mandelas-conflict-resolution-legacy-pollsmo/#ixzz2n582L5CC 

 University of Washington
Communities across U.S. reduce teen smoking, drinking, violence and crime 

 This program prevents behaviours likely to be destructive for later life by intervention at the community level when the students are in the middle years in schools.  The studies suggest improvements in health, schooling and reductions in crime.  http://www.washington.edu/news/2013/12/09/communities-across-u-s-reduce-teen-smoking-drinking-violence-and-crime     Link to home page of Communities That Care: http://www.communitiesthatcare.net/#prettyPhoto 

 Care2 News Network – S.E. Smith
We Need Justice Reform: 6 Life Sentences for 15-Year-Old 

 Norfolk, Virginia is the site for this disproportionate result.  A 15 year old robbed a house party and in part because he is black and he chose to plead not guilty, he wound up with six life sentences for 48 convictions.  This story, serious though the offence, seems to be saying more about our own distorted sense of justice.  http://www.care2.com/causes/we-need-justice-reform-6-life-sentences-for-15-year-old.html  Related article: ACLU – Alex Stamm   15-Year-Old Gets Six Life Sentences?   https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform-human-rights/15-year-old-gets-six-life-sentences  Related article: Pilot-on-line – Louis Hanson   Life times six    http://hamptonroads.com/blount    Related article: The Sentencing Project    Ralph Brazel   http://sentencingproject.org/template/person.cfm?person_id=270