Treatment, not prison…

 Dec. 21, 2013 – Douglas Quan
Understanding the Ashley Smith inquest: Before and after the homicide verdict 

This report interprets the jury’s ruling of homicide by tracking the development of the story and the inquest.  (Some material here may be too explicit for you.)  A fundamental recommendation is that women suffering from mental illness should serve their time in a treatment facility, not a prison. 

 CBC News
Supreme Court ruling forces prostitution policy onto Harper’s agenda

 At the very least, the ruling by the Supreme Court striking down the three prostitution laws and giving government one year to pass alternate legislation will cause a dent in the intended use of time and energy for the next parliament.  Simply allowing these laws to lapse does not appear an option for the Conservative government.    Related article:  CBC News – Canada’s prostitution laws: What the court said   Supreme Court Ruling:

 Ottawa Citizen – Editorial
A mandatory victim surcharge is wrong

 The Ottawa Citizen notes that there appears to be a revolt of the judges against mandatory victim surcharges but suggests that at its most fundamental level the surcharge is offensive to justice by discriminating against the most vulnerable. 

 Correctional Services of Canada
Preliminary Analysis of the Impact of the Restorative Opportunities (RO) Program in CSC

 Although the size of the sample in this study limits the results, nonetheless CSC is will to say that the use of RJ seems to show some promise for the future and wants to study further the interaction between programs involved with face-to-face meetings between the offenders and the victims.

The Sentencing Project (US) 
Drug Free Zone Laws:  Overview of State Policies

 he report acknowledges that all 50 states have an additional sanction for drug offences around schools and public parks.  The report points to some problems: the one offence some times brings two sentences;   in some states all drug offences are considered within the drug free zones; and the zones are often defined  in urban areas where the laws disproportionately impact people of colour or poor people. 

All Michigan News – John S. Hausman
Mental illness and criminal justice: Four ways they affect the public 

Here a succinct assessment of the impact when mental illness and the criminal justice system cross over.  Victimization that cuts both ways, strain on police resources, strain on prison resources and strain on family.  

 Canadian Lawyer Magazine – Kevin MacNeill and Samantha Seabrook
Promoting Psychological Health and Safety: New Standard Requires Commitment to Investigating Accidents 

 More and more workplace safety includes the notion of psychological harm.  The Canadian Standards Association has released a new report which while not requiring compliance will undoubtedly be influential in the near future as such claims are adjudicated.  The key part calls for drafting a Psychological Health and Safety policy.

 The Guardian (UK)
‘Canada has a lot to learn from the UK’s leadership on social enterprise’  

So says the Ontario Minister of Economic Development Eric Hoskins during a visit to the UK.  Hoskins has started a catch-up effort after exposure to some significant successes in social investment and coming to realize the potential to address major concerns.   Social Investment in Ontario:  

 MADD (Canada)
MADD Canada’s Position on Minimum Sentencing 

 In response to numerous requests for clarification of the position of MADD on the practice of mandatory sentencing minimums, the Winter 2013 Newsletter has an article on its position:  “Fair and just sentencing in cases of impaired driving causing death is one of MADD Canada’s policy priorities; it is something we advance regularly when meeting with elected officials and policy makers.MADD Canada does not, however, recommend the establishment of a minimum sentence for impaired driving causing death.