Hats off for Dallaire…

Dec 23, 2016

Hill Times – Kate Malloy
Dallaire’s on a mission and it’s not impossible

Here’s a hope –filled note, one arising from a well-spring of intense suffering.  At 70, former Lieutenant General and Senator Romeo Dallaire is directing an international initiative to extract child soldiers from the conflicts spread across the news every day.  Dallaire suffers from PTSD and admitted to suicidal wishes to combat the horrors of the Ruanda genocide he witnessed, powerless to change.  “As I race around the globe, meeting with heads of state and international organizations—Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Iraq, and the Hague this month alone—I’m angry that I can’t do more. And I understand that the anger comes from a place of hope.”   Hats off to this Canadian warrior!  http://www.hilltimes.com/2016/12/19/dallaires-mission-not-impossible/90954?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN)&goal=0_8edecd9364-fb43b3941f-90770637&mc_cid=fb43b3941f&mc_eid=9dd5d0d66d

The Sentencing Project (US)  – Marc Maurer
The Obama Legacy: Chipping Away at Mass Incarceration

Maurer is the director of the Sentencing Project and offers a review of the past year (2016) and a prospect on the coming year (2017) in the light of mass incarceration and the efforts to put some solutions in place.  Maurer proposes that the explosion of prison populations are related to drugs: an emphasis on drug arrests from the Reagan era and the imposition of mandatory sentences based on the quantity of drugs.  After offering a summary of Obama’s influence, he thinks prison reform faces a bleak future at the federal level:  “Realistically, opportunities for justice reform are more likely at the state level. Many local officials are already convinced of the need for sentencing reform and re-entry initiatives, and they may be less influenced by the political climate in Washington. If so, such changes at the local level may ultimately gain traction in a Trump White House as well.”  https://talkpoverty.org/2016/12/21/obama-legacy-chipping-away-mass-incarceration/    Related article: US Bureau of Justice Statistics  –  Probation and Parole in the United States, 2015   http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5784&utm_source=juststats-122116&utm_campaign=juststats&utm_medium=email&utm_content=PPUS15_HeadA&ed2f26df2d9c416fbddddd2330a778c6=zvtwfpssvp-zfmsfpat Related article: US Bureau of Justice Statistics – 2015 data added to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) API on BJS.gov   http://www.bjs.gov/developer/ncvs/index.cfm?utm_source=juststats-122016&utm_campaign=juststats&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NCVS_API_Headline&ed2f26df2d9c416fbddddd2330a778c6=gptslzjjkp-glkelzjt   Related article: Alternet – Sarah Lazare   Mothers Incarcerated With Their Children in Obama’s Disgraceful Family Prisons Want Freedom for the Holidays   http://www.alternet.org/immigration/mothers-incarcerated-their-children-obamas-disgraceful-family-prisons-want-freedom

iPolitics – Michael Harris
Those who walk the line… Did the push towards punishment in Canadian prisons put guards in the crosshairs?

The article is the second of a series of articles by Harris examining the practices in prisons.  This one, extensively an interview with Jason Godin, the head of the Correctional Services of Canada guards union (UCSC), offers the perspective of the front line officers charged with maintaining the order of the prisons.  Harris adds a commentary on the approach of the management and how it – i.e. the punishment or the RJ approach – can influence directly what goes on.  Then, through Godin, a 12 year veteran of the cell blocks, Harris offers some of the solutions that the union would like to see. http://ipolitics.ca/2016/12/21/those-who-walk-the-line/

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Inmate families say prison drug-scanning tool finds false positives at ‘alarming’ rate – Family member says ‘the damage caused by this flawed system is counter-productive’

Mothers Offering Mutual Support (MOMS) want people to know about another indignity around the effort to support family members who are imprisoned:  meant to detect small quantities of drugs coming into the prisons by visitors, and part of CSC prevention program in the opioid or fentanyl struggle, ion scanners give off a large number of false readings.  Anne Cattral knowns first-hand.  “Cattral said a positive test can lead to the visit being denied. It is also recorded on an offender’s file, affecting future private family visits, transfers, and parole, she said. She says she’s been denied entry, and knows others   various drugs, such as found on currency circulating in the general public and once having been contaminated by a real user.  Next step, say the MOMS, is an electronic petition to Parliament, already undertaken.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-prisons-drugs-ion-scanners-1.3905662  For the petition go to:  https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-516   (500 signatures requires that the petition be presented in the House.)

iPolitics – BJ Siekierski
Bernier, Tory leadership field mum on Emery pot arrest and charges – Bernier has welcomed ‘Prince of Pot’s endorsement and encouraged his network to donate

Politics does make for strange bed-fellows.  Canada’s Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, is fighting a rear-guard action with the government stemming from his operations of pot shops in Montreal.  Many wonder what the point is since the feds are promising new legalization legislation in the spring of 2017.  The answers are likely the amount of money forecast to come from the trade and the Tory acknowledgment of the pervasive use of marijuana among the young – Canada has the highest rate of use of marijuana by youth.  Trudeau has told police to enforce the current law, a practice often called ‘low-hanging fruit’ in which police arrest street users with small amounts.   http://ipolitics.ca/2016/12/22/bernier-tory-leadership-field-mum-on-emery-pot-arrest-and-charges/