The prescription drug…

    Aug. 5, 2015

Globe and Mail – Jacqueline Nelson
The high-stakes battle of medications, insurers and the government  

While many drug users do not realize that there is a list of drugs called a formulary that any drug plan will pay for, and more drugs not on the formulary that the plan will not pay for.  Many of the new drug treatments for both common and uncommon diseases are proving very expensive, particularly if long term use is dictated.  Nelson’s article draws attention to the practice of protecting the plan, government or private, by refusing to list the more expensive ones on the formulary.  The issue then becomes how do we pay for them?  Nelson explores all the practices and issues in this insightful article.

 Toronto Star – Irwin Waller and Michael Kempa
Stephen Harper’s empty promises to victims of crime

The authors are both University of Ottawa professors who take a dim view of the failure of the standards of best practices that are missing from the new Victims Bill of Rights.  “Fundamentally,” they say, “the bill does not provide “rights” in the proper meaning of the term. Law students learn early that for a person to have a right there must be a legal remedy for any violation that is enforceable in court. The new legislation does not provide for this.”  A second major concern they raise is that no one is identified to provide or ensure the rights are accessed by the victims and the access often simply dies at the level of the police.

 Globe and Mail – Adam Dodek
Accountability needed: Why was Justice Russell Brown appointed to the top court?

Dodek is a professor of Public Law at the University of Ottawa and an acknowledged constitutional expert.  Brown, a prolific blogger who took issue with any number of controversial legal matters, is suspected of gaining an appointment to the SCC through the conservative views his blogs articulated: attacks on the SCC itself, against Trudeau, and against anti-Harperites.  Dodek hopes “that the media asks him (Harper) why he chose Justice Brown, why he did not choose someone from Saskatchewan and what he expects from Justice Brown on the Supreme Court of Canada.”

 Globe and Mail – Debra Haak
Amnesty’s stance on sex work is too narrow in its focus   

Amnesty International is meeting shortly in Dublin to consider their policy on sex and prostitution.  Haak’s critique of the policy reflects the problems with the current Canadian laws around prostitution and the lack of protection for those not voluntarily engaging in the sex trade, especially for human trafficking.  Haak is a Ph.D. candidate at Queen’s Law School.

 Penal Reform International (UK) (PRI) – Guest Rick Raemisch, Colorado Dept of Corrections
Opening the steel door: how Colorado is reforming solitary confinement

At any given moment, researchers say, there are 80,000 people held in the US prison system under solitary confinement conditions.  Raemisch acknowledges from the beginning that often the stated goal of the use of solitary is to run an efficient institution and then he denounces the failure to assert public safety as the institutional goal. He sees the public safety issue as the release from prison solitary confinement directly at sentence expiry and suggests Colorado has reduced the use of solitary and changed that practice with less than 1% currently in solitary among the males and no women.

Restorative Justice Council (UK)
Restorative practice in housing

The problems attendant in housing are multiple and offer involve a considerable application of police resources with often fruitless results.  This UK operation uses RJ practices for pretty well all the disputes and conflicts collectively called anti-social disputes and include even long simmering disputes between neighbours.

The Conversation (US)
 Loss of innocence: the experience of exonerated death row inmates

Confidence in the US justice system deteriorates with every exoneration realized – over 1600 known cases since 1989, including 154 from death row.  Contrary to popular public opinion which thinks that exonerees are compensated for their years of wrongful imprisonment, the evidence says that few get anything beyond good wishes in leaving prison.  While the experience is turning public opinion against the death penalty in the US, the re-entry without any sort of assistance continues to be problematic.