Healing a sick nation…

   April 7, 2014

 CBC News – Stephen Smith
Martin Luther King, Jr.: Why he asked a Canadian to help ‘heal a sick nation’

 On anniversary of King’s assassination, Janet Somerville reflects on time spent with the civil rights activist.  King delivered the Massey Lecture on CBC radio in the centennial year 1967.  Somerville was the reporter behind the story of the invitation to King for Canada’s centenary celebration. But King’s invitation to Somerville was “to come down here and help heal a sick nation.”   http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/martin-luther-king-jr-why-he-asked-a-canadian-to-help-heal-a-sick-nation-1.2594125  

 Syracuse.com – Syracuse School Board:
‘Restorative justice’ is the path to improving school discipline

 The school board offers a commentary to the Syracuse paper on why a restorative justice approach seems to go further than zero tolerance policies.  “School districts have learned the hard way that repeatedly removing disruptive students from the classroom is a recipe for continued failure.”  http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/04/syracuse_school_board_discipline_restorative_justice_commentary.html   

 Urban Institute and the Greater Health Foundation of Cincinnati – Jocelyn Fontaine, Ph.D., and Helen Ho with Kaitlin Greer 
Lessons Learned through the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati’s Substance Use Disorder and Severe Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System Initiative

 This 36 page pdf report comes from the Urban Institute and the Greater Health Foundation in Cincinnati, funded by state dollars.  Chapter four is dedicated to lessons learned around addictions and mental health and the study includes data appendices.  https://www.interactforhealth.org/upl/CJS_Complete_Final_Report_032913.pdf    

N.Y. Times
Cities Advance Their Fight against Rising Inequality 

 Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says that people just can’t afford a decent life and local policy makers say they can’t wait for Washington to act.  But for the local city level, the question is whether there are means available to re-distribute the wealth.  The city, says the critics of the unequal income problem, has become less fair and less inclusive.  “There’s been a forced exodus of low-wage workers,” said Kshama Sawant, the City Council member who is leading the push for the $15 minimum wage. “Life is very hard for a large majority of people, and there’s a burning anger about these things.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/business/economy/cities-advancing-inequality-fight.html?_r=0  

 N.Y. Times – Editorial Board
The Mentally Ill, Behind Bars 

 The Times has three pointed requirements for the current prison reform led by Joseph Ponte: better care, access to care on release – mostly to have those released signed up for Medicaid, and the use of mental health programs for those who represent no danger to the public.  Those with mental illness spend twice as long on average in jail than others, an average of 112 days vs 61.  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/07/opinion/the-mentally-ill-behind-bars.html?_r=0 

 University of Alaska – Lacie Grosvold
UAA Justice Center Looks at Violence Statistics 

 The stats are from 1985-2012 and show a surprising change in the weapon of choice for violent crime.  Once a gun, now the choice is for knives, an almost threefold increase.  No one is offering an opinion about why the change. But the change seems to reflect a national trend.    http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/uaa-justice-center-looks-at-violence-statistics/25343622

 The Guardian (UK) – Dana Goldstein
The new school detention, where kids make rules and a prison pipeline ends 

 Student courts are growing in popularity – because they work.  Lyons School in Brooklyn, N.Y. offers examples and the data showing that these student run courts are an effective way to end the school to prison pipeline that gets created when students are suspended for behavioral problems, especially in the Black communities.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/07/new-school-detention-student-courts-restorative-justice  

 Toronto Star – Jason Straziuso
A killer and his victim: 20 years after Rwandan genocide, they’re friends 

 The article, marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, is a most extraordinary story of RJ.  A man who killed a child and cut off the mother’s hand is now friends with that mother.  Both are now working on housing projects for survivors of the Rwandan genocide, the context for the killing.   More than 800,000 were killed.   “The very first family I killed, I felt bad, but then I got used to it,” he says. “Given how we were told that the Tutsis were evil, after the first family I just felt like I was killing our enemies.”  http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/04/06/a_killer_and_his_victim_20_years_after_rwandan_genocide_theyre_friends.html  Related article: Globe and Mail – Philip Lancaster   Twenty years after Rwanda, the world has learned nothing   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/twenty-years-after-rwanda-the-world-has-learned-nothing/article17852085