AIDS and C-36…

  July 22, 2014 

Toronto Star – Tonda MacCharles
Conservative prostitution bill will keep HIV rates high  

An associate professor in medicine at University of British Columbia and the lead Canadian author of a study presented at the Melbourne Aids Conference and in the medical journal Lancet, Kate Shannon is suggesting that by decriminalization of prostitution we would see as much as a third of new cases of AIDS eliminated.  The study re-enforces the notion that those involved in prostitution are put at greater risk by criminalizes it.  Says Shannon:  “It’s a huge step backwards, Bill C-36,” Shannon told the Star. “It’s really time to listen to science and move past the flawed consultation process that’s been happening over the last few months.”   Related article:  Hill Times – Chris Plecash    Bill C-36 ‘absolute gold’ for Tory Party base, says pollster Lyle    Related article:   Toronto Star – Freddie Arps    Tory bill threatens health, human rights of sex workers

 Vancouver Sun – Ian Mulgrew
Canada would be wise to follow U.S. lead on law and order – Many states removing mandatory minimum sentences, expanding early release 

Mulgrew reports on various US studies that report on efforts to eliminate mandatory sentences and the tough-on-crime approach and wonders why Canada is not following the realization that, as Peggy McGarry, the Vera director, says: “this momentum for reform has redirected the discussion on crime away from the question of how best to punish to how best to achieve long-term public safety.”

 CBC News
Autism linked primarily to common gene variants –  Data from millions of Swedes studied to assess risk factors 

Autism has been long thought to have something to do with the inherited genes, though environment and DNA factors have been considered as well.  This study suggests that that single most important factor is the inherited genes.  Crucial to the results is the realization that the genes are not rare mutants but common variants found in the general population.    Relates article: CTV News  New research sheds light on role of DNA in risk of developing schizophrenia

 Toronto Star – Alyshah Hasham
‘Spiceman’ case sent to unique restorative justice program before sentencing

A restaurant owner who reacted angrily to a mistaken thief and beat the supposed thief with a broomstick and threw spices on him has been found guilty of assault but before sentencing has had the case referred to a RJ process. With the consent of both the victim and the assailant, St. Stephen’s Community House in Kensington Market has agreed to mediate this very unusual case.

 CBC Ideas with Paul Kennedy
Alone inside…

The CBC will repeat broadcast this documentary on the use of solitary confinement in jails on Wednesday, July 23.  Once thought to be a helpful way of allowing inmates reflection, the practice is now a dreaded punishment, even torture, and  thought to make mental illness worse while often the first recourse by corrections officials for even slight infractions.  Time for the presentation may vary by regions.

 City Journal – James Panero
How to Help the Mentally Ill? 

Jerome Murdough, homeless and seeking shelter from freezing temperatures, was arrested for trespassing and then ironically died in Rikers of heat.  Just as in many parts of North America, the mayor of New York thinks “that the criminal-justice system dedicates inordinate resources to policing mental illness, often with disgraceful results.”