15 days max…

    Feb 6, 2015

 The Coast (Halifax) – Jacob Boon
Five years of solitude -The use of segregation in NS prisons numbers in the thousands.

The article looks at the use of solitary in Nova Scotia’s four provincial prisons and records no fewer than 8,516 times with over 2,000 youth offenders.  “For solitary prisoners, there’s no concept of time. All a person can do is walk, sit, think and scream.”  The UN insists that 15 days in solitary is enough to cause irreversible psychological damage.  Within the five years, 34 inmates were in solitary for more than 15 days.  http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/five-years-of-solitude/Content?oid=4536650

 Guardian (AU) – Claire Parfait
A hunger strike in immigration detention is about to end in tragedy. I won’t let it go unnoticed

Australian immigration and detention practices have been long in the news for the inhumane treatment associated with those practices.  With one Iranian fasting for over 80 days and close to death, 6,000 hours of fasting have been pledged by refugee supporters, ordinary citizens inserting themselves into the political debates around places like Manus Island where indefinite detention has resulted in one MP – Milissa Parke – to remind her parliamentary colleagues that indefinite detention is contrary to the Human Rights standards Australia has promised to uphold.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/06/a-hunger-strike-in-immigration-detention-is-about-to-end-in-tragedy-i-wont-let-it-go-unnoticed

 Winnipeg Free Press – Mary Agnes Welch
Reducing poverty rate by guaranteeing incomes – U of M economist crunches numbers 

The poverty rates in Canada are prompting some new and critical thinking from a variety of professionals.  What if scenarios are popping up around solving the housing problem first on the social agenda and around alternate ways of handling income distribution.   Here’s some number crunching from Manitoba around a guaranteed annual income.  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/reducing-poverty-rate–by-guaranteeing-incomes-291022321.html

The Washington Post (US) – Mark Berman
Supreme Court stays execution of Texas inmate on death row for 30 years

Lester Bower, 67, has spent more than half his life under the death sentence and was scheduled for execution six times over those 30 years. The US Supreme Court will hear an appeal against execution based on the delay as cruel and unusual punishment.  The Supreme Court has also stayed the execution of three more in Oklahoma around the lethal injection issues.   http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post- nation/wp/2015/02/05/supreme-court-stays-execution-of-texas-inmate-on-death-row-for-30-years/    Related article:  Huffington Post – Diann Rust-Tierney    Inconsistency at the Supreme Court   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diann-rusttierney/inconsistency-at-the-supr_b_6608658.html

 Jamaica Observer
Gov’t pursuing legislation to formalise restorative justice 

Jamaica Ministry of Justice is on a path to formally recognize restorative justice as a part of the criminal justice system.  Privacy is an apparent feature of the RJ sessions which will see minor crimes at first but judges will have discretion around what to refer to RJ.   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gov-t-pursuing-legislation-to-formalise-restorative-justice_18351720

 Cape Breton Independent
Greater focus on restorative justice because of Dalhousie case 

When Dalhousie University opted for a RJ process to deal with its misogyny incidents, much of Atlantic Canada began to ask about the process and the approach to justice.  This article draws on the work of Fia Jampolsky, a Whitehorse-based lawyer, who uses RJ in both her Legal Aid cases and in Human Rights issues.  The victims are included and the offense is not just a wrong attributed to an individual but a tear in the fabric of the community.  http://cbindependent.com/2015/02/06/greater-focus-on-restorative-justice-because-of-dalhousie-case/

 Yahoo News (US) – Caitlin Dickson
Bipolar teen’s death in police station highlights rift between cops, mentally ill

Kristiana Coignard was 16 and severely bi-polar when she walked into a east Texas police station and announced she had a gun as well as an obvious knife in her waistband.  This is the sort of story that creates some parameters and some hesitation in involving police with the mentally ill.  Many police forces now use Crisis Intervention Training or CIT as a way to pre-empt the injury of the mentally ill in police encounters.  http://news.yahoo.com/bipolar-teen-s-death-highlights-frequency-of-violent-encounters-between-police–mentally-ill-014049696.html