Looking good, doing poorly…

    Aug 21, 2015

Ottawa Citizen – Lisa Kerr and Anthony N. Doob
How the Conservatives have changed crime policy
The article by these two fine experts – Kerr a Queen’s law professor and Doob an Emeritus criminologist at U of T – on the criminal justice system serves to make graphic what the criminal justice system has lost over the last few years.  Determined to appear ‘tough-on-crime,’ the Harper government has introduced measure after measure to punish more forcefully without regard for rehabilitation or prevention.  What Kerr and Doob have to say is a little disheartening as they trace the development of the punish motif but is also a path to putting some sort of sanity back in the system.  http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/lisa-kerr-and-anthony-n-doob-how-the-conservatives-have-changed-crime-policy    Related article:  The link above offers a condensed version of the original article.  For the full versions go to:   The Harper Decade: Canada has changed     The Conservative Take on Crime Policy   http://www.theharperdecade.com/blog/2015/8/17/the-conservative-take-on-crime-policy   Related article:  Ottawa Community News – Nevil Hunt     Former PC adds red Liberal sign to his lawn – David Daubney calls Harper government ‘mean spirited’    http://www.ottawacommunitynews.com/news-story/5806953-former-pc-adds-red-liberal-sign-to-his-lawn/%3bsend=false    (David is an advisor to Smart Justice Network Canada, a former Conservative MP, and a former chair of the Justice and Solicitor General Standing Committee, and Advisor to the UN on RJ)
MacLean’s – Evan Solomon
Why we’re not talking about health care this election

With on-going discord between the provinces and the federal government as a context, Solomon raises an important point about the lack of any discussion around health care in the federal election.  56% of voters over age 45 say it is their number one concern, as do 43% of those 18-29.  The discussion has been drowned out, says Solomon, by the Duffy affair, the pipelines and the-if-there-is-a-recession question.  Where the federal government once put 50% in the health care pot, experts think that by 2020 that will drop while on the present projector to 20%.  “The federal government is dangerously close to being non-players in health care in Canada,” (said) Dr. Chris Simpson, the president of the Canadian Medical Association.   http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/why-were-not-talking-about-health-care-this-election/     Related article: Globe and Mail – Gloria Calloway    First Nations Health Care: The system failed my son     http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/first-nations-health-care-the-system-failed-myson/article26020926/

The Kitchener Post – Melissa Murray
The waiting game: affordable housing

Though pointed specifically at the K-W region, the article, the first of a three part series, draws attention to the additional common problems attendant on waiting for availability of affordable housing.  The list in K-W is four-five years of waiting, a fate shared by more than 3000 households (alternately put at more than 7,000 by Deb Schlichter, director of housing for the Region of Waterloo) who see their financial circumstances drop lower and lower as high rental costs eat into food budgets and oblige entire households to go to soup kitchens and food pantries for support.  http://www.kitchenerpost.ca/news/the-waiting-game-affordable-housing/   Related article: St. Catherines Standard – David Seigel   Fighting poverty with Housing First     http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2015/08/20/siegel-fighting-poverty-with-housing-first

Global News
Letter of understanding between the Red Cross and Canada Border Services Agency

In Canada, the supervision of immigrants held in detention under Canada Border Services Agency is in the hands of the Canadian Red Cross.  Global News is offering a copy of the MOU on how the two agencies are fulfilling each their separate duties in the case of detained immigrants or refugees in so far as the mandate applies to Ontario Ministry of Justice facilities.  The MOU covers conditions of detention including access to medical care, treatment of detainees, legal guarantees and family contact.  The item is news worthy in the light of the recent death of a detainee in Peterborough.  https://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/letter-of-understanding_signed.pdf

Christian Science Monitor (US) – Sarah Gaspari
How one teen’s app could stop cyberbullying at its source

Here’s a novel idea for coping with cyberbullying: stop it before it happens with the Re-think App, designed by fifteen-year-old Trisha Prabhu.  She thinks that 12-18 year olds are often impulsive and that they are more likely to send without thinking.  They are unable to slow down and think about such a hate message.  In testing, the use of the app has resulted in significant reductions in follow through after the app detects certain words and asks for affirmation to send.  http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2015/0820/How-one-teen-s-app-could-stop-cyberbullying-at-its-source   Related article: CTV News (Halifax)    Keith Doucette, Canadian Press   Lawyer plans to challenge Nova Scotia’s anti-cyberbullying law  http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/lawyer-plans-to-challenge-nova-scotia-s-anti-cyberbullying-law-1.2525626

 Northumbria Chronicle (UK) – Sophie Doughty
How Northumbria Police is changing the relationship between police and football fans

Here’s good news conversion story for RJ.  The Northumbrian Police have decided that the best way to handle rowdy football fans is by using RJ methods to replace the we-and-them that had developed consequent to using police to separate rival fans.  Now, says Sgt Neil Pacey, “it’s all about policing with the community. The fans know me and the other officers by name, and some even have my phone number.”      http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/how-northumbria-police-changing-relationship-9900316

Yahoo Health (US) – Cassie Shortsleeve
What Happens to a Young Brain in Solitary Confinement  

Solitary is more common than suspected but also more damaging for youth than for adults.  Human rights groups as well as the American Medical Association are denouncing the practice for youth as well as adults.  Here is one youth’s description to Human Rights Watch of the personal impact:  “The only thing left to do is go crazy—just sit and talk to the walls. … I catch myself [talking to the walls] every now and again. It’s starting to become a habit because I have nothing else to do. I can’t read a book. I work out and try to make the best of it. But there is no best. Sometimes I go crazy and can’t even control my anger anymore. … I can’t even get [out of solitary confinement] early if I do better, so it is frustrating and I just lose it. Screaming, throwing stuff around. … I feel like I am alone, like no one cares about me — sometimes I feel like, why am I even living?”  Does not sound like a solution to anything, does it? https://www.yahoo.com/health/what-happens-to-a-young-brain-in-solitary-127235455527.html     Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Aug. 20, 2015)  Ban placing teens in solitary for more than 24 hours: Editorial     http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/08/20/ban-placing-teens-in-solitary-for-more-than-24-hours-editorial.html

Toronto Star – Bill Graveland
Woman who murdered her family when she was 12 to be freed next spring

After the recent announced intent of the Conservatives to pursue the ‘life-means-life’ option if re-elected, this article invites understanding of both youth justice and the parole / pardon processes that would be swept away.  The article involves a young woman who received the care she needed and is now found to be healthy enough over an extended treatment and period of observation to re-enter a more normal life stream than prison can afford.  http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/08/20/woman-who-murdered-her-family-when-she-was-12-gets-sentence-reviewed.html