Enough meanness…

    Aug 6, 2015

 Toronto Star – Thomas Axworthy
A referendum on Stephen Harper and his meaner Canada  

Axworthy, a senior fellow at Global Affairs at the Munk School of UofT , offers an analysis of the Harper years as an effort to re-design Canada around tax rebates rather than government social programs resulting in a meaner Canada.  Axworthy thinks the real election question is do Canadians want more of the meanness.  But he deplores that Harper’s “strategy of starvation by stealth has been brilliantly successful.”   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/08/05/a-referendum-on-stephen-harper-and-his-meaner-canada.html

 Behind the numbers – Paula Mallea
Five myths about the tough-on-crime agenda 

Here’s an appropriate reminder after the first election debate.  Mallea is a CCPA researcher and lawyer who lists five major shortcoming – dare we say ‘talking points’ – around the tough-on-crime agenda of the Conservative government.  Her points are well taken and well documented in this newsletter over the past four years. http://behindthenumbers.ca/2015/08/06/five-myths-about-the-tough-on-crime-agenda/

 The Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (TPCP) – Justin Piche, University of Ottawa
Reflections on prison (in)justice five days from PJD

TPCP is inviting Canadians to be informed around issues of criminal justice and the role of prisons in punishment in Canada.  The site is in aid of Prisoner’s Justice Day on Aug. 10 but has a very attractive array of information around various issues for the criminal justice system, its provincial and federal prisons.  Events to commemorate the PJD are taking place across but Ottawa’s day starts at the Jack Purcell Community Centre and later becomes march to the offices of the Minister for Corrections, CSC Headquarters and the Human Rights Monument.  Readers are encouraged to follow the leads to Robert Bryden’s article and to Robert Gaucher’s article on the history of Prisoner’s Justice Day.  http://www.tpcp-canada.blogspot.ca/2015/08/reflections-on-prison-injustice-five.html   Facebook link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/114264595586732/

 Huffington Post (US) – Simon McCormack
Suicides in Jails on the Rise: Report 

Though focused on US experience, the article may alert us to both the reality of a higher suicide rate in jails as opposed to prisons but also to some of the reasons suspected for the higher rate.  Suicide is rated as the highest cause of death in jails since the year 2000.  Some think that the suicide rate is linked to the shock of initial jailing and perhaps as well to mental illness.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/suicides-in-jails-on-the-rise-report_55c21ed1e4b0f7f0bebb0d59?kvcommref=mostpopular&ncid=newsltushpmg00000003   Related article: Chronicle Herald – Lee-Anne Goodman, Canadian Press    Prison suicide report blasts Corrections Canada   http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1235417-prison-suicide-report-blasts-corrections-canada

 Ottawa Citizen – Editorial Board (Aug. 4, 2015)
Editorial: The disgrace at the detention centre

The Ottawa Citizen thinks that crisis is an inadequate word to describe the present situation at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, a situation long in the making and long ignoring repeated recommendations.  The Citizen itself first raised alarm in 2004; Andre Marin, the ombudsman, in 2013, said the place “exemplifies everything that is wrong in a correctional institution.”  The editorial concludes:  “This is sheer, unacceptable incompetence on the part of the provincial government.”  How long more?  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/editorial-the-disgrace-at-the-detention-centre    Related article: Ottawa Citizen – Andrew Seymour    Ottawa jail in ‘crisis’ as lockdowns continue to soar    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-jail-in-crisis-as-lockdowns-continue-to-soar

 Vancouver Observer – Valentina Ruiz Leotaud
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: How a city jail became homes with hopeful views

Lots of people are very happy about being able to go to jail in Vancouver.  The former remand center at 250 Powell Street has become an affordable housing development and residents have begun moving in.  The housing unit is divided into various rental levels: a total of 96 apartment units with 24 at shelter rates and 72 at one third income.  http://www.vancouverobserver.com/city/mission-accomplished-how-city-jail-became-homes-hopeful-views