Polar opposites…

    Dec. 9, 2014

 TedX Talks – Danny Graham
Those least like us have the most to teach us (About Ourselves) 

Danny is a defense lawyer, politician, RJ advocate, and most of all a father of a young son – Patrick – who is a Downs Syndrome child.  Danny is also one of the founders and a director of the Smart Justice Network.  Danny’s explanation is a powerful endorsement of his experience and capacity for learning from Patrick – openness, acceptance and non-judgment – the very approach to community relations that Smart Justice looks to see among all of us, regardless of what we have done.  “Polar opposites,” says Danny, “are the very relationships that give each of the opposites what they truly need.”   If you rarely follow the links of these resumes, this is the one for which you need to create some space and some reflection time.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vRrUnPeKzM   (a 16 minute video)

Some may appreciate as well the anonymous poem Danny quotes towards the end of the video.  Here is the text of that poem:

If you always believe what you have always believed,

You will always feel the way you always felt.

If you always feel the way you always felt,

You will always think the way you always thought.

If you always think the way you always thought,

You will always do what you’ve always done.

If you always do what you have always done,

You will always get what you have always gotten.

If there is no change there is no change.

Quoted also in an earlier international conference on Gross National Happiness at St. Francis Xavier University (NS) as part of an interview for Rethinking Development for Global Wellbeinghttp://www.gpiatlantic.org/conference/reports/2108.htm

 Globe and Mail – Karen Howlett
One in four prisoners faces solitary confinement, ombudsman says 

21,100 men and women who flowed through the federal prison system in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014.  5100 of those spent some time in solitary.  And increasing number of the inmates in solitary are mentally ill and put in solitary by default.  Says Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator:  “The purpose of corrections in Canada is not to isolate and dehumanize people.”    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/one-in-four-prisoners-faces-solitary-confinement-ombudsman-says/article21986991

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Confined‎: The death of Eddie Snowshoe

This article is an extended description of both the solitary conditions and the death of Edward Snowshoe as well the circumstances around the prolonged involvement with the system.  It is a stunning six part series and one may well say with Catherine Latimer, Executive Director of John Howard Canada:  “If we found out that animals in a Humane Society were being caged in circumstances where they were losing their sanity, injuring themselves, killing themselves, society would respond in a very heartfelt way.”  How does this treatment continue?    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/confined-the-death-of-eddie-snowshoe/article21815548

 Globe and Mail – Josh Wingrove
No sign that Ottawa plans to change rules on solitary confinement 

Edward Snowshoe spent 162 days in solitary and killed himself.  Ashley Smith’s inquest recommended changes to the practice of solitary, especially for the mentally ill but no comment from Ottawa.   The UN suggests a maximum of 15 days before solitary becomes inhumane.  The European Courts have banned all solitary as a violation of human rights.  The federal government is not commenting on when the recs from the Smith inquest will be acted on.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/no-sign-that-ottawa-plans-to-change-rules-on-solitary-confinement/article21999412

 Winnipeg Free Press – Astrid Galvan, The Associated Press (US)
Border Patrol seeks female agents as number of women caught crossing border illegally rises

Only 5% of the 21,000 US Border Patrol are women but those agents deal with 120,000 women a year caught trying to cross the southwest border.  Last summer, the illegal border crossings saw a considerable increase in  both accompanied and unaccompanied children.    The recruitment of women agents has not increased.  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/border-patrol-seeks-female-agents-as-number-of-women-caught-crossing-border-illegally-rises-285151331.html

 National Association of Social Workers (US) – Matthew Epperson
Reflections on the Role of Social Work in Criminal Justice Reform 

Epperson reviews the current circumstances of mass incarceration and his introduction to jails.  Then he wants to know how social workers lost their influence over the reform of the criminal justice system.  He wants social workers to lead the reform.   http://www.naswil.org/news/chapter-news/featured/advance-reflections-on-the-role-of-social-work-in-criminal-justice-reform

 Star Tribune (MN) – Paul McEnroe
‘Recovery center’ could replace jail for mentally ill offenders 

Some of the worse problems caused by the intersection of mental health and the criminal justice system have surfaced in Hennepin County Jail in Minnesota.  “The system is broken. … We have high costs and poor outcomes,” said Jennifer DeCubellis, the county’s assistant administrator for health, who designed a plan now being floated by senior county officials.”  The design is a one-stop center where the over one third of inmates with serious mental illness, most of whom are repeaters in the system, can get assessment and treatment.   http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/285165081.html

 National Post – John Ivison
Provinces could kill new prostitution law by refusing to enforce it 

 Dead on arrival?  That’s the suggestion from John Ivison about how the provinces may receive the new prostitution law, one made in Ottawa but enforced locally.  Provinces, Ontario likely a forerunner, may simply decide not to enforce.  Most experts think that if enforced the new law will soon be back before the SCC.  Police may lay charges but the province’s attorney general decides whether to prosecute.   http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/12/08/john-ivison-provinces-could-kill-new-prostitution-law-by-refusing-to-enforce-it