Indefinite detention…

   Sept 17, 2014

 End Immigration Detention
Actions across Canada mark 1-year anniversary of ongoing protest-strike by immigration detainees 

Protesters are hailing the first anniversary of the strike by immigration detainees in a maximum security prison in Lindsay, ON.  The detainees are under indefinite incarceration, a practice prompted by an inability of Canadian authorities to resolves the status of the detainees and a practice condemned internationally and by the UN Human Rights Commission.

 Toronto Star – Alex Boutilier
Supreme Court ruling hasn’t stopped police from warrantless requests for data  

In June, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the practice of police requesting information from cell and internet providers without a warrant as an invasion of privacy.  While the number of such requests has slowed they have not stopped; and the providers are still providing information.

 Toronto Star
Court overturns Robert Latimer’s travel restrictions 

Federal Court Judge Michael Manson has overturned a parole board ruling that prevented international travel for Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer who killed his severely handicapped daughter in 1997.  Latimer was given full parole in 2010 and was assessed at no risk to anyone.  But the Attorney General of Canada had argued that the gravity of the crime was sufficient reason for the denial of travel.  Commentators branded the rationale as “nastiness for the sake of nastiness.”

 CBC News – Natalie Clancy
Barry Rhodes, former B.C. prison guard on sister’s rapist: ‘He would taunt me’ 

A BC provincial prison guard, now a retrained heavy equipment operator, has brought a human rights complaint against the system for its refusal to transfer him so his duties would not include encountering the inmate who had raped his sister.  His sister later killed herself.  The solution, Rhodes says, is that he was told is “to suck it up and get back to work.”

 Toronto Star – Bruce Campion-Smith
Suicide claims more soldiers than those killed by Afghan combat 

The numbers are scary.  Between 2004 and 2014 (March) Canada’s Armed Forces lost more to suicide than to combat in Afghanistan:  160 to date:  118 male members, 10 female and 32 reservists.  Canada saw 138 KIA’s in the period from 2002 to the end of the Afghanistan involvement in 2014.  Though allegedly having budgeted for more personnel, the Armed Forces are still not at their complement of medical personnel to confront the mental illness.

 The Guardian (UK) – Anna Bawden
How restorative justice is steering young offenders away from crime 

Surrey restorative justice, which deals with 70-80% of youth crime or almost 3,000 cases to date, is getting credit for an 18% reduction in youth crime.  A committee of two police sergeants and two senior support workers make up the Youth Restorative Intervention.

 PsychCongress Network  (US) – Ann Harding
Severely Mentally Ill at Higher Risk of Domestic, Sexual Violence 

While researchers have suspected higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault among the severely mentally ill, a new study is putting some numbers and comparing the frequency against the general population.  The pilot study of 303 severely mentally ill patients confirmed the higher numbers and reported attempts at suicide among women victims were startling: 53% vs 3.4% of the general population.

 The Guardian (UK)  – US Money Blog report
Want to live in a state with no income tax? Make sure you’re super rich first

The US poverty rate is stagnant and he gap between the income levels is unsustainable.  This article looks at the role of the state income tax is sustaining the inequality.  There are seven states that have no income tax but the studies have shown that the poor are disproportionately taxed when the rich walk away.  People from lower income brackets shoulder a greater tax burden.   Related article: Toronto Star – Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew    Growing inequality in society a corrosive thing: TD chief

 Early Alert:   CBC Doc Zone – Andrew Gregg

Canada’s crime rate is at its lowest point in more than forty years. So why are we spending billions of dollars to get tough on crime now? More prisons cells, tougher laws for parole, more mandatory minimum sentences: they are all now part of Canada’s high-cost justice system – and they are all ideas that failed in the United States.

Our criminal justice system is currently undergoing a radical rethink.   Where will it lead? Will the crime rate continue to fall as our prison population increases?  What is being done to prepare prisoners for life after jail?   These are some of the issues under consideration in an incisive new documentary that looks at where our criminal justice system is headed.

STATE OF INCARCERATION will be broadcast on CBC Television’s Doc Zone on Thursday, October 9 at 9PM  (9:30PM NL).