Punishing mental illness…

    Aug. 17, 2015

Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey
Ontario justice system ‘punishes’ mental illness

The John Howard Society of Ontario is about to release a new report on the interface of mental health and criminal justice.  The report is calling for sweeping changes because the criminal justice system has become the entry point for treatment for mental health problems.  The reality is, says the report, that we are confronting the criminalization of mental health and need to confront the problem with bold and immediate action.  “When the health system fails to treat the mental illness, the justice system punishes the symptoms,” says co-author Jacqueline Tasca.  The full report is due for release on Tuesday, Aug. 1. http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2015/08/16/ontario-justice-system-punishes-mental-illness.html9   Related article: Toronto Star – Amy Dempsey    Toronto man needed help, but wound up living a five-day nightmare in jail   http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2015/08/16/toronto-man-needed-help-but-wound-up-living-a-five-day-nightmare-in-jail.html

Globe and Mail – Peter McKnight
Why is an opiate antidote harder to obtain than the drug?

McKnight is focused on the report Canadian Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use which is confirming that at least 655 Canadians have died from 2009-2014 from opiate overdose with fentanyl.  In BC there has been a 700% increase in the last two years.  So McKnight is wondering why naloxone, the anti-dote to the fentanyl, is so hard to get.  Trouble is, naloxone is available in hospitals but not where people shoot up and discovered what they took had fentanyl in it.  How about  “Take Home Naloxone programs, which provide education in administering naloxone along with a supply of the drug to opiate users or those who associate with them.”   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/why-is-an-opiate-antidoteharder-to-obtain-than-the-drug/article25959264/

Toronto Star – Anna Leventhal
Why Lena Dunham got it wrong on sex work

A motion before the board of Amnesty International in its international meeting in Ireland is re-awakening a lot of the controversy around sex workers and prostitution laws.  Several Hollywood stars have opposed the Amnesty International decision for full decriminalizing prostitution, and opponents think the only way to offer genuine and safe protection to sex workers is in fact to decriminalize.   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/08/16/why-lena-dunham-got-it-wrong-on-sex-work.html       Related article:  Toronto Star: Heather Mallick   Amnesty prostitution ruling is heartless   http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/08/14/amnesty-prostitution-ruling-is-heartless-mallick.html    Related article:  Globe and Mail – Simon Hedlin    The Swedish sex-work model is a success    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/the-swedish-sex-work-model-is-a-success/article25959922/  (Hedlin is the former gender advisor in  the Swedish PM’s office.)

Toronto Star – C. Scott Clark and Peter Devries
The economic conversation we need to have – The federal parties’ economic strategies all assume an imminent global economic recovery. But that’s not going to happen. 

Clarke is a former federal deputy minister of finance and  DeVries is a former director of fiscal policy.  They think that the conversation about the Canadian economy in the pre-election perspective is making a very questionable assumption that the economy is going to improve.  They think the major problem is a downturn in the growth potential.  They are calling for strengthening the economic efficiency of the economy by federal / provincial trust and co-operation and “an acknowledgement that the tax system has become a serious impediment to economic growth and must be simplified. But it will take real political courage to remove inefficient and unjustifiable tax entitlements.”   http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/08/16/the-economic-conversation-we-need-to-have.html

Canadian Press – Jim Bronskill
Feds again put off gun-marking regulations aimed at helping police trace weapons

Now deferred until June 1, 2017, the regulations were introduced in 2004 and supposed to take effect on December 1, 2015.  The latest delay to the long standing regulations was announced quietly a few days before the writ of election.  The regulations would require the manufacturer, a serial number and Canada or CA be stamped on all domestically manufactured weapons and the CA on imported weapons.  The rationale offered for the delay is further consultation that only highlights a struggle between the government appointed advisory group – a gun lobby group for the most part, and police and gun control groups.  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/08/17/feds-again-put-off-gun-marking-regulations-aimed-at-helping-police-trace-weapons/#.VdHdPJchG2B     Related article:  Globe and Mail – Steven Chase   Ottawa studies Saudi power shift as arms deal hangs in the balance     http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-studies-saudi-power-shift-as-arms-deal-hangs-in-the-balance/article25982244/

N. Y. Times – Nick Pinto
The Bail Trap

This article is illustrative of the problems that are created when someone is arrested and cannot respond to or is not offered bail.  Tyrone Tomlin bought a soda and got a straw that two N.Y. City Police detectives claimed was drug paraphernalia.  A day later, the judge imposed a bail of $1500 that Tomlin did not have and could not raise.  Mass incarceration, says Pinto, is not a federal problem.   “But as bail has evolved in America, it has become less and less a tool for keeping people out of jail, and more and more a trap door for those who cannot afford to pay it.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/magazine/the-bail-trap.html?_r=0

Toronto Star – Geoffrey Vendeville
Ontario group to tackle growing violence in hospitals – Provincial roundtable will look at ways to curb workplace hazards for nurses and other health-care workers.

Workplace violence towards health care workers has seen drastic increases in the last few years and Ontario has created a roundtable group to consider solutions.  The roundtable will meet for the first time in September and has a three year mandate.  Linda Haslam-Stroud, president of the Ontario Nurses Association, says that the incidents are daily but frequently go unreported.  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/08/16/ontario-group-to-tackle-growing-violence-in-hospitals.html

Globe and Mail – John Ibbitson
Ingredients of a populist rebellion simmer in Canada

Ibbitson says that the left as well as the right can be brought to the point of rejecting the standard political fare and looking to radical social stirrings among people left in precarious finances for whatever reason.  He cites the case of British MP Jeremy Corbyn of the Labour party, a radical socialist who is leading in the party leadership election.  As far as Canada goes, Ibbitson says:  “With luck, things will never get as extreme as Donald Trump or Jeremy Corbyn. But don’t be too certain. Remember Rob Ford.”  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ingredients-of-a-populist-rebellion-simmer-in-canada/article25981396/

Globe and Mail – Doug Saunders
How do you spot the next terrorist?

Here is a day-in-the life of an analyst for one of the security agencies trying to anticipate the next terrorist and/or act of terrorism.  The twist is that the analyst begins to wonder if he or she is looking for a radicalized suspect or simply a person with violent tendencies attaching himself or herself to a cause.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/how-do-you-spot-the-next-terrorist/article25971277/