Hope for the future…

    Sept 14, 2015

Please note that Smart Justice Network of Canada has prepared and already distributed its 2015 Election bulletin entitled:  Calling for a Smart Justice Approach: Election 2015.  We are working on posting on our web site while we are distributing the document as a pdf file.  If you have not received the file, but would like to have it, let us know at info@smartjustice.ca

iPolitics – Michael Harris
Record shows Sheriff Steve’s not so tough on crime after all 

Harris has no love for Stephen Harper but in the article Harris draws a still disturbing picture of Harper’s effort to bend the legal system and the Supreme Court by a series of incidents that would suggest a gross distortion of the facts and needs.  Most recently, there is the case of NDP candidate and former judge Carol Baird Ellan; then there are the attacks on the SCC, and the Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin, and the recent story about Springhill Prison expansion.  Added to all those disturbing efforts to make-over the justice system is the on-going corruption scandals like Bruce Carson.  http://ipolitics.ca/2015/09/13/record-shows-sheriff-harpers-not-so-tough-on-crime-after-all/

Ottawa Citizen – Lee Berthiaume
$350 million for refugees and immigration returned to government, unspent 

How do you get a budget surplus?  Easy, don’t spend the allocated amount for the various departments.  First the veterans, then the military, then Aboriginals, then foreign aid, and now Citizenship and Immigration:  $350 million sent back to government coffers over three years.  Says the Parliamentary Budget office: $130 million in 2013-2014; $140 million in 2012-13; and $80 million in 2011-2012.  Numbers for 2014-2015 are not yet available.    http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/350-million-for-refugees-and-immigration-returned-to-government-unspent

US Department of Justice – Juvenile Justice
Violent Death in Delinquent Youth after Detention  

What is particularly helpful here is the fact that the study is longitudinal, unusual for youth focus.  What is alarming is that the mortality rate for male youth previously in custody is four times that of the national picture but for females the rate is eight times the standard rate.    The document is a 14 page downloadable pdf. http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/248408.pdf?ed2f26df2d9c416fbddddd2330a778c6=lzffhhdho-lkowgkos

Waterloo Regional Record – Anam Latif
Prison watchdog is worried about inmates   

Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator, who has already been served notice of his imminent dismissal by the government, has some concerns and he wants to urge ordinary citizens to work through voting “to change the channel of the discussion.”  Speaking of a 17.5% increase in federal prison inmates in the last decade, he adds:  “Simply locking up more of our citizens for longer periods of time, only to release them with little or no assistance is not a recipe for increased public safety.”   http://www.therecord.com/news-story/5839372-prison-watchdog-is-worried-about-inmates/

CAMH – Michael Parkinson
Webinar:  Opioid Use in Ontario: Evidence for Change

Tuesday, 15 September 2015 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (EDT)

Smart Justice has been directing attention to the high number of deaths in Ontario, and elsewhere, around the use of opioids, especially fentanyl.  Here is the link for tomorrow’s free webinar and more information on how you can join the discussion.  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/opioid-use-in-ontario-evidence-for-change-tickets-18072283687?aff=estw

Reclaim Justice Network (UK) –
Prison Action London: Challenging prison expansion in London 

This article is from a new UK group who want to see prison expansion and prison construction stopped in favour of more holistic approaches to the problems.  The article identifies three sites anticipating growth and suggest that the efforts are more responsive to the prison industrial complex than the needs of society.  https://downsizingcriminaljustice.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/prison-action-london-challenging-prison-expansion-in-london/   Related article: Reclaim Justice Network: Dr Sarah Lamble, Birkbeck University – Organising for change  (A 23 minute video by Sarah Lamble, a Canadian, on what options are available if police and prison are off the table)  https://downsizingcriminaljustice.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/organising-for-change/

American Bar Association / NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
Joint Statement on Eliminating Bias in the Criminal Justice System

This is a 7 page downloadable pdf on the presence of bias in the system and 12 reform steps that in the estimate of the joint authors could eliminate the systemic bias and its impact on lives, calling for both micro and macro solutions.  Recognizing that America is at the crisis point in justice, the report concludes: “America has no choice but to do better.”  http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/abanews/aba-ldf_statement.pdf