Prison spending…

Mar 7, 2017

Blogger Justin Piché – Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa

Government of Canada promises alternatives to confinement, while funding carceral expansion

Piché reminds us that shortly after the last election, Justin Trudeau called for a justice review with the intent of inserting more RJ measures in the penal system.  Piché finds the current spending on prison infrastructure incompatible with the RJ orientation.  He is calling for a moratorium on prison spending “so that promising alternatives to confinement can be given consideration and an opportunity to flourish across the country.”    Related article: MacLean’s – Evan Solomon    The mental health crisis in Canadian prisons

Globe and Mail – Daniel Leblanc
Ottawa set to reject plans to beef up national-security oversight committee

The federal government will refuse to adopt many of the recommendations consequent to Bill C-22, the bill to establish a parliamentary oversight committee for Canada’s various security agencies.  One noteworthy difference expected is that rather than parliamentary committee of the House, the committee will report directly to the Prime Minister and all reports will be vetted by government before release.

Toronto Star – Reid Rusonik
Three factors that cause trial delays

Rusonik is a Toronto criminal defense lawyer who reacts to the Supreme Court Jordan decision that puts a time limit on the completion of prosecution of crimes.  In short, the lack of control by the courts over the number of charges, the politicization of the charging process, and the frequency of social problems deemed criminal.   Related article:  CBC News – Joe Lofaro   Ontario judges stayed 46 cases due to court delays in 2016 – Courthouses in Toronto, Ottawa recorded most stayed cases after Supreme Court ruling

Globe and Mail – Elizabeth Sheehy
Capacity for consent and the Halifax ruling: Did the judge err?

The ruling by a Halifax judge that a case of a drunken woman passenger in the backseat of a cab lacks evidence that the alleged rape victim refused consent for sex has the legal community looking for appeal and further ruling about what constitutes the incapacity to refuse consent to sex.  Sheehy outlines the actual circumstances of the case prompting the decision, the gaps, and the potential resolution of the confusion.   Related article: Globe and Mail – Adina Bresge      Cab driver’s acquittal in sex-assault case prompts letter-writing campaign

Washington Post – Jeff Guo
America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality

Guo invites a look at the impact of mass incarceration on the employment reality and stats.  Since Blacks are incarcerated at much higher rates than whites, the Black unemployment rate balloons when those imprisoned are added to the mix.  Says Guo: “One in nine black children has had a parent behind bars. One in thirteen black adults can’t vote because of their criminal records. Discrimination on the job market deepens racial inequality. Not only does a criminal record make it harder to get hired, but studies find that a criminal record is more of a handicap for black men. Employers are willing to give people second chances, but less so if they’re black.”

 Abacus Data – David Coletto
Finding Parity: Canadian Opinions about Women in Politics

2100 Canadian adults answered this survey about both the perception and reality of women in politics.  Coletto offers five conclusions from the response and notes that most respondents believe that the lack of gender parity will not be redressed soon.   Full report:  Related article: Globe and Mail – Tavia Grant   Who is minding the gap?

 International Institute for Restorative Practices
Conversations about Restorative Justice: Moving toward a New Paradigm – April 4-5 2017 – Ottawa, Canada (Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa Kanata) – $400 – (Includes registration, lunches and reception)

FOCUS:  Community Contexts for Restorative Justice; An Aboriginal Focus on Healing and Reconciliation; Restorative Approaches in Youth Justice (courts, custody, community); Restorative Approaches in Adult Justice (courts, custody, community)

Resources Persons:  Valarie Binder; Gayle Desmeules; David Stam; Barbara Tomporowski; plus a dozen or more sessions facilitators


Contact: Bruce Schenk at   Direct Line 289-251-1923