“Life means life”

    Aug 19, 2015

Canadian Press
Harper says he’ll resurrect ‘life means life’ legislation

One of the bills already promised but allowed to die on the order paper, Stephen Harper has resurrected the “life means life” bill in the election campaign.  The cynics say that Conservatives have tried to stick to the dual messages or the economy and security but this old chestnut is a little too helpful in re-asserting the focus on the tough-on-crime agenda and distracting from the Duffy trial.  Critics point out that this legislation is already in place and that people like Bernardo will be repeatedly denied parole once eligible after the first 25 years.  No one believes the measure has anything to do with safer communities. http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/08/18/harper-says-hell-resurrect-life-means-life-legislation/#.VdSKN5chG2B

National Newswatch – Don Lenihan and Suzanne Legault
Open Government: Toward a Pan-Canadian Vision?  What is Open Government?

Two significant players in information and public engagement are offering a vision of what constitutes open government: Open data, open information and open dialogue are the three legs.  Canada, they say, is mostly stuck on the open data level and both the 2011 and the 2014 plan have significant shortfalls.  The article also describes the efforts by the Ontario government to advance the development of the two remaining legs, concluding with a vision of what may be still.  http://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2015/07/31/open-government-toward-a-pan-canadian-vision/#.VdSOdpchG2A

Human Rights Blogger Moni Mazigh
Harper’s recycled anti-terror rhetoric is getting tired

Mazigh is focused on the terrorism related announcement to date from Stephen Harper:  the travel ban to join terrorist groups.  Mazigh thinks the ban is both unconstitutional and impractical, already redundant of present laws.  Even if workable, the idea of banning travel and recording exit from Canada and the destination is offensive logic and more a dictatorship characteristic than a proof of law and order.  With this kind of thinking, could we imagine forbidding travel to destinations known for sex tourism?  Or wedding destinations to countries which are economic competitors?  https://moniamazigh.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/harpers-recycled-anti-terror-rhetoric-is-getting-tired/

Prison Policy Initiative (US) – Peter Wagner
Jails matter. But who is listening?

One out of every three people who are locked up daily in the US are in local jails, not prisons or penitentiaries.  Wagner argues that the myriad of reasons why people are locked up in jails is largely off the public radar and entirely confusing anyway; the circumstance involves 11 million people annually and seems to defy reform.  The problem is especially glaring in that the majority in jails are denied bail and on remand, never having been convicted of any crime.  http://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2015/08/14/jailsmatter/     Related article: VERA Institute of Justice     Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America      http://www.vera.org/pubs/special/incarcerations-front-door-misuse-jails-america      

The Nugget (North Bay, ON) – P.J. Wilson
Mentally ill ‘warehoused’ in jail  

Wilson is reporting on a new report from John Howard about the interfacing of mentally ill persons with the Ontario justice system.  The report concludes that the allegations of warehousing the mentally ill are evident from the frequency of untreated but mentally ill people in prisons and the limited options available to the courts to deal with them.  http://www.nugget.ca/2015/08/18/mentally-ill-warehoused-in-jail   Related article:  John Howard Society –  Unlocking Change: Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario     http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Unlocking-Change-Final-August-2015.pdf     Supporting JHS Document:   Press Release   Plan for Decriminalizing Mental Health Issues in Ontario     http://www.johnhoward.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/JHSO-Press-release-Unlocking-Change-Report-Aug-18-2015.pdf

The Age National (Australia) – Harriet Alexander
Doctors debate ethics of detention centre boycott 

Australia’s doctors who attend immigration detention facilities have a gag order about speaking to media about conditions in the facility.  They could be sentenced to two years in jail for breach of that gag order but they are currently engaged in a lively debate about withdrawing services rather than submit.  “It is analogous to health services in prisons, where the need to separate the governance of health from corrective services is well recognised,” Dr Young wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia.    http://www.theage.com.au/national/health/doctors-debate-ethics-of-detention-centre-boycott-20150819-gj2wdb.html#ixzz3jHMNdSfn

The Lethbridge Herald – Delon Shurtz
Moldovan law students studying Cdn. justice system 

This article is about a visit to Lethbridge from three lawyers from Moldova who think Canadian Law is pretty good and are anxious to meet RJ proponents to discover how it works.  The visitors are here because of the Leavitt Institute for International Development, an organization of legal professionals dedicated to spreading the rule of law and development of democratic liberties in developing nations.  http://lethbridgeherald.com/news/local-news/2015/08/19/moldovan-law-students-studying-cdn-justice-system/