Justice at issue…

     Oct 29, 2015

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Liberal justice: experts expect less punitive, more principled approach to crime – Legalizing pot, repealing parts of anti-terror law and reviewing sentencing regime on agenda 

Justice issues were few and far between in the recent election but Trudeau and the Liberals are committed to a few very specific changes.  Mary Campbell (Retired director general of corrections), Anthony Doob (Professor of Criminology, UofT), and Sharon Rosenfeldt, (Victims of Violence) offer an assessment of what may be on the table.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-trudeau-liberal-justice-crime-marijuana-1.3292965

 CBC News – Jacques Marcoux, Caroline Barghout
Manitoba jails bursting at the seams even though crime rates continue to fall – Jail guard among fastest-growing occupations within the provincial public service   

The article, graph and stats included are an excellent witness to the problems of over-crowding, significant in Manitoba and Saskatchewan but across the country, and the failure to deliver programs because of the over-crowding.  Additionally the article points to the role of remand and the failure in bail as contributing factors in the mess.  And again, indigenous people are most impacted.  The increases in the number on remand over the last decade are particularly forceful. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-jails-busting-crime-rate-falling-1.3293068   Related article: CBC News   Prison not the only option for offenders: justice expert    Saskatchewan incarceration rates among highest in country   http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/prison-not-the-only-option-for-offenders-justice-expert-1.3293327

 CBC News: Neil McDonald
Not just aboriginal women should be scared of Quebec’s police – Sûreté du Quebec has a long history of being an authority unto itself, which politicians know well

The recent news of Quebec provincial police misconduct has sparked a whole new level of analysis which suggests that police are significantly estranged and even feared by ordinary Quebecers.  The suspension of eight officers led to booking off sick by the entire complement of offices in Val d’Or, a move that critics say simply shows the force as “bully boys” from the foundational union breaking days of Maurice Duplesis.  McDonald recalls the SQ behaviour during the Oka Crisis as well.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/quebec-police-surete-neil-macdonald-aboriginal-women-1.3293187  Related article: Globe and Mail – Yves Boisvert   Val-d’Or abuse allegations a sign of justice system in crisis http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/val-dor-abuse-allegations-a-sign-of-justice-system-in-crisis/article27023050/

 Prison Reform Trust (UK) –
Briefing to the House of Lords 

Prompted by a number of reports, Prison Reform Trust designed a response to increasing concerns about the treatment of 18-24 year olds in prison and the incidence of self-destructive behaviour and suicide.  The perspective includes alternatives to prison as well as the role of the families of inmates.   Link is a 10 page downloadable pdf.  http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/PRT%20Briefing%20House%20of%20Lords%20Harris%20Review%20291015.pdf?dm_i=47L,3R5OK,6JSCMH,DIMPW,1  Related article: Prison Service Journal (UK)  Special Edition: Reducing Prison Violence     (A 68 page downloadable pdf of the September 2015 Edition)  http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/sites/crimeandjustice.org.uk/files/PSJ%20221%20September%202015.pdf?dm_i=47L,3R5OK,6JSCMH,DIS19,1#page=22

 CBC News
Justin Trudeau’s Senate appointments plan backed by advice from justice officials – Senators gather in Ottawa for 3-day meeting as Liberals consider Senate reform

Passage of bills in Canada still requires the consent of the Senate.  The once Liberal and now independent senators are in a minority as the senate is presently constituted.  There is a shortfall of 22 senators in this House of Sober Second Thoughts and advisers are suggested that Trudeau convene an advisory panel to put names forward since the Prime Minister must actually appoint.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/justin-trudeau-s-senate-appointments-plan-backed-by-advice-from-justice-officials-1.3292533    Related article: iPolitics – Elizabeth Thompson   Trudeau’s plans a ‘big black hole,’ independent Liberal senators complain    https://ipolitics.ca/2015/10/28/senators-hold-bipartisan-meeting-on-improving-the-upper-chamber/

 Toronto Star – Wendy Gillis, Jim Rankin, Patty Winsa
Ontario sets strict new limits on police street checks – Tactic of stopping and questioning people not suspected of a crime has been applied disproportionately to blacks, data shows

The curious part of the carding controversy is that the practice was commonly acknowledged as illegal and supporters dressed the practice in various guises to allow the practice to continue.  The new regulations when passed will offer some rights protection to the individual and place some onus on police to both justify the information request and report its application.  http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/10/28/province-to-unveil-limits-on-carding.html   Related article:  Toronto Star – Desmond Cole  New carding rules can’t regulate decency and respect in policing – We can’t regulate decency and respect in policing, but we must nevertheless demand it http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/28/you-cant-legislate-police-decency-cole.html

 Grist (US) – Aura Bogado
Elon Musk’s solar company used panels made by cheap prison labor for a big taxpayer-subsidized project 

How would a manufacturing company maximize profits even after a generous tax incentive?  Easy…  Use prison inmates for workers.  The article tells how a company supposedly creating local employment in the state’s economy turned to inmates instead.  Worse still, the work involved manufacturing solar panels to be used by the Oregon State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology.  The concession came with employment creation and retention eligibility for the breaks.  http://grist.org/business-technology/elon-musks-solar-company-used-cheap-prison-labor-for-a-big-taxpayer-subsidized-project/

 The Daily Beast –
Black American Seeks Asylum in Canada over Police Brutality –

A US Black man, Kyle Canty, is in Vancouver and applying for refugee status because he says that he belongs to a vulnerable minority which is being exterminated at an alarming rate in the US.  To substantiate his claim, Canty who has resided in six different states provided evidence of police harassment in all six. An Immigration spokesperson says that they are not aware of any other such case in Canada.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/28/black-american-seeks-asylum-in-canada-over-police-brutality.html