Access to justice…

  Feb. 10, 2014 

 Toronto Star –  Alyshah Hasham
Access to justice: Help coming for people headed to Canada’s civil and family courts 

 Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell who chaired a comprehensive report on how to improve justice sees the present justice system as complicated and inefficient, particularly around civil and family law.  The first solution, he says, is better and readily understandable information to the public.  Several jurisdictions have begun on-line forums for initial triage services.    Link to a 46 page report: Access to Civil and Family Justice: A Roadmay for Change (Oct. 2013)

 iPolitics – Steve Sullivan
What a life sentence really costs 

 Victims advocate Steve Sullivan – Canada’ first ever federal ombudsman for victims of crime – now at the Ottawa Victim Services and Algonquin College takes the phrase “life means life” and teases out some meaning beyond glibness that escape most of us.

 Toronto Star – Carol Goar
Medical ethics overtaken by technology

Ontario now has an on-line medical record from which individuals can not opt out, making all types of medical information of your personal life – medical, psychological, mental – now in the hands of public data companies to manage and do what they will without anyone’s consent.  The ministry of Health, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the privacy commissioners have all signed off on the guidelines.   Ontario guidelines for health records: 

 Penal Reform International – Kim Pate (E.Fry)
Death of 19-year-old in custody rightly ruled a homicide 

Pate guest blogs on PRI’s site on the recent ruling by a coroner’s jury that the death of Ashley Smith was in law a homicide.  Pate offers a frightful summary of Smith’s treatment and the commentary includes summary comments about some of the 104 recommendations passed to the jurors.  

 London Evening Standard (UK) – David Cohen
The former child soldier with a very unpalatable message about gangs 

 Emmanuel Jal, 34, a rapper and former child soldier in South Sudan, has some very disturbing commentary about his life as a child soldier when he speaks to potential gang members.  His conclusion should stir all of us to the connection between violence and hunger:  “It is difficult to bring peace to a neighbourhood when food is scarce.”

 The Bakersfield Californian – Christine Bedell and Courtenay  Edelhart
Prison guards want ability to transfer to avoid valley fever

 Three employees have died of ‘valley fever’ and over 100 have been treated in the last four years for the same disease that has plagued inmates at three state prisons.  The state is now spending $23 million per year for health care around the fever for the 2600 inmates.  The disease comes from fungal spores that grow in a dry climate and Blacks and Filipinos are particularly susceptible to getting the disease.