LWOP in limbo…

    June 1, 2015

 Globe and Mail – Sean Fine
Tories’ life-without-parole bill in limbo

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan is telling media that Bill C-53, the bill that increases the sentencing for certain types of murder, also known as the life-means-life provision, may not get through the House before the end of the current session.  The House shuts down on June 23 until after the October election.  C-53 also makes statutory release provisions harder.  Critics say it is another bill likely to be challenged constitutionally quickly if it is passed.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawas-life-without-parole-bill-unlikely-to-pass-before-federal-election/article24718626/

Toronto Star – Lauren Pelley
‘My past doesn’t define me’: How former inmates are helping others start over

Lindsay Jennings of John Howard Society Reintegration Centre in Toronto works in the shadow of the province’s superjail, the Toronto South Detention Centre with beds for 1600 inmates.  With a personal history of incarceration and with a serious brain tumor requiring surgery and two years out of the job market, Jennings knows well the struggles that re-entry brings for ex-inmates.  Her peer support program is thought to be a first in North America.  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/05/31/my-past-doesnt-define-me-how-former-inmates-are-helping-others-start-over.html

Toronto Star – Joan Bryden
Canadian political parties are embracing big data on the campaign trail

It used to be that home visits from political candidates was an opportunity for glad-handing and whipping up support.  Well, it’s more these days.  In this article Canadian Press has a look at what the Liberals are doing to catch up to the ‘big-data’ efforts, gathering data from voters to allow analysis of intentions and preferences.  Liberal national director Jeremy Broadhurst says that by itself the big data collection is meaningless.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/05/31/canadian-political-parties-are-embracing-big-data-on-the-campaign-trail.html

Globe and Mail – Stephen Kakfwi, Joe Clark and Paul Martin
An extraordinary opportunity to build a better Canada   

Three distinguished Canadians, all members of Canadians for a New Partnership, offer their assessment of the potential for new beginnings on the eve of the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.   “With the road map the Commission will lay out in their final report, we will be given an extraordinary opportunity to help build a better Canada. Wouldn’t it be a great way to prepare for the nation’s 150th anniversary for us all to commit today, next week and in the months to come, to work together to bring positive change to the relationship between First Peoples and others across this land?” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/an-extraordinary-opportunity-to-build-a-better-canada/article24697845/

The Peace Alliance – Be the Movement (US) – Bob Baskin
Humanizing Justice Systems, an In-Depth Spotlight

This US based organization has a number of irons in the fire and is supporting a number of pieces of legislation aimed, as the title suggests, in combatting the horrendous impact of mass incarceration.  The approach engages young people in particular with a number of very specific and focused solutions to the deficiencies in the way justice rolls out for many people.  The link offers more detail on the proposals, some now before the US House and Senate and the Alliance is using social media to bring support for the legislation.  http://peacealliance.org/humanizing-justice-systems/

Journal of Public Policy, Administration and Law – Lynn Fournier Ruggles
The Cost of Getting Tough on Crime: Isn’t Prevention the Policy Answer?

Crime is down and stats have often said that Canadians don’t see tough-on-crime as aiding safety.  So this article is asking the most sensible question around the costs of the tough-on-crime policy:  why don’t we spend on prevention rather than punishment?  Ruggles walks the reader through the strategies – increased police presence, strengthened sentencing laws, and prevention of youth drug and gang involvement –   and their costs.  She concludes:  “Instead of a policy of ―tackling crime, Canada needs a strong, integrated preventing crime policy, with the corresponding funding to build healthier and safer communities for all.”  http://jppal.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/jppal/article/viewFile/34373/31270

Daily Mail (UK) US News
‘Ferguson Effect’: Commentators claim ‘criminals are feeling empowered’ as police back off after months of protest and violent crime rises

The term is used to describe the sudden but noticeable increase in violent crime when confrontation with police and citizens leads to a decision by police to back off aggressive enforcement.  The term suggests that anti-police protests are to blame.  According to police statistics crime in New York City, Baltimore, St Louis, Chicago and Los Angeles has spiked.