CoSA loses federal funding

 Feb. 27, 2014

 CoSA federal government funding ends the end of March

 Advocates and volunteers alike in the most widely respected and effective program for working with sex offenders, Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA), are reeling from the 30 day notice delivered this week.  Local and national CoSA people are meeting this week to see where the loss of funds leaves them for on-going programs, whether the announcement is definitive, and what response to make.  There are 18 CoSA sites through nine of the provinces. 

Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment   

 Here is a perspective on the initial formation of the CoSA organization and a description of its work history.     CoSA Website: 

 CBC News – Kathleen Harris,
Mentally ill inmates kept in ‘grossly inadequate’ conditions 

Advocates for the mentally ill imprisoned in Millhaven say that the failure of the institution to deliver adequate treatment may well contribute to making them worse.  Some inmates are in solitary and are shackled with leg irons, kept in cells that are totally underground.  Catherine Latimer, Executive Director of John Howard Canada, obtained a report documenting the circumstances.  Her reaction:  “The last thing we want as a society is someone to come out of prison with less mental health than when they went in,” she said. “I think we need to be very worried about this.”  Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator says:  “Huge concerns, operationally and as well from the clinical staff. As a side note, the chaos is overwhelming.”  This article includes further commentary from Farhat Rehman whose son is one of the mentally ill transferred to Millhaven from RTC Kingston.   7 Minute video interview with Farhat and Evan Solomon on Power and Politics:   (cf also the three party politicians speaking on mentally ill inmates)

 Toronto Star – Tondra McCharles
Tory bill would crack down on child sex offenders, child porn, sex tourism

 The proposed new legislation, introduced yesterday in the House by Peter McKay and known as Bill C-26 The Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act seeks to extend both the minimum and maximum sentences for a number of sex offences, including sex tourism.  In all there are nine key changes proposed.   Press Release – Government of Canada:  Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Protect Children from Predators and Exploitation  Bill C-26 text:  (Does not appear to be available yet but it should appear here eventually)

Huffington Post – Conrad Black
Prison Should Be a Repair Shop of Flawed Personalities, Not a Junk-Yard of Human Souls

 After listening to a speech by Ontario’s Roy McMurtry on the penal policy excesses of the federal government Black offers an opinion re-enforced by his own personal experience in the US.  Says Black:  “There is in this federal government’s penal policy an element that is devoid of the humanitarian concern that no democratic regime can be without and still be morally acceptable.”

 Juristat – Statistics Canada – Mary Allen
Victim services in Canada, 2011/2012 

 In this latest statistical report, police services identified some 367,000 victims of violent crime in Canada.  The vast majority of services provided were in protection and crisis.  In Canada there are 760 agencies providing victim services and six criminal injury compensation programs.  Most services are under provincial authority.  

 CBC News –  Natalie Clancy
B.C. nurses face daily violence from child forensic patients 

 Nurses who work at The Crossroads Unit of the Maples Adolescent Treatment Centre in Burnaby are, according to Nurse Jewels Bainbridge subjected repeatedly to violence from the unit’s patients, such that she has left her job rather than face more of the long time abuse.  The unit, which had 25 incidents of worker injury in one year, is under the supervision of the BC government.  

In These Times (US) – Andrew Mortazavi
Do Federal Prosecutors Have a Vested Interest in Blocking Sentencing Reform? 

 The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 initiated federal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences.  Mortazavi reminds us that despite the repeatedly posturing of both Obama and Holder, their efforts to get rid of sentences that one federal judge called “so excessively severe they take your breath away” do not have the force of law and some resistance is already coming from the federal Department of Justice.   Related article: Bloomberg Press – Editorial    Mandatory Minimum Madness 

 Sacramento Bee
Ex-gang member – now a scholar – implores Vista Nueva students to choose success 

 A former gangster has earned a Ph D and has written a book about the transition and how it was effected.  The book is called Street Life: Poverty, Gangs and a Ph.D.   A San Francisco principal was so enthused at the prospect of a model for students that he made it required reading even for staff and invited the author to the school to speak about striving for success rather than just survival.