Too generous?

Sept 2, 2017

 Angus Reid Institute
Half of Canadians say their country is ‘too generous’ toward illegal border crossers

This survey was prompted by the more than 7,000 claimants crossing the land border from the US into Canada.  Fears that the expiry of the temporary visa status among Haitians in the US will lead to massive movement into Canada are fueling the concern that 57% of Canadians think we are too generous at our borders towards irregular immigrants.  The survey includes a breakdown by political alliance.  In spite of the 26,000 Syrians, critics say the numbers are down from previous years.   Related article:  Policy Options – Andrew Griffith   How to debate immigration issues in Canada   (Griffith is a former Director General for Citizenship and Multiculturalism)  Related article: Globe and Mail – John Ibbitson   How Canada has been secretly giving asylum to gay people in Chechnya fleeing persecution

Great Plains Publications – Anne Mahon
Redemption: Stories of Hope, Resilience and Life after Gangs

Due for publishing in October 2017, this new book is a happy event that brings a Canadian flavour to the questions around gangs in Canada.  It links the Indigenous scene as well as the street scenes we have often heard in media reports about gang activity.  These are stories of people who embraced a gang life and were brought to a new perspective and purpose.  The profits are destined for Gang Action Interagency Network in Winnipeg.  For a preview go to

Toronto Star – Vicky Mochama
Police in schools don’t make kids safer

As we start another school year, Toronto school boards are struggling with the wisdom of having armed police officers in the schools as both an effort to prevent crime and a means of building relationships between youth and police.  The program of 36 School Resource Officers has been suspended for more study after operating since 2008 and the death of student Jordan Manners in a school stairwell.    Related article: Toronto Star Editorial (Aug 23, 2917) Police board should order review of cops-in-school program

Globe and Mail – Sunny Dhillon
UN solitary-confinement rules aren’t binding in Canadian prisons, Attorney-General lawyer says

As the BC trial around the legitimacy of solitary confinement winds down, government lawyer Mitchell Taylor says that the maximum of 15 days, also known as the Mandela Rules and adopted by the UN, have not been endorse by international or Canadian courts and therefore are not binding.  Defence attorneys say that the limits on solitary comprise fundamental justice.

Harvard Gazette – Colleen Walsh
Revising the language of addiction

Harvard and the Massachusetts General Hospital are urging the revision of the terminology that encourages moral judgment and blame around addiction issues.  Says Sarah Wakeman, director of Substance Use Disorder Initiative and consultant to Harvard: The term abuse and abuser   “imply a willful misconduct and have been shown to increase stigma and reduce the quality of care.”

Homeless Hub – Krystle Maki
Housing, Homelessness and Violence against Women

Maki offers both a full report and an executive summary as she tries to connect Violence against Women with housing and homelessness service sectors.  The hope is that National Housing Strategy will develop housing solutions that include in particular the specific needs of women suffering from violence.

Guardian (UK) – Alan Travis
Young black people nine times more likely to be jailed than young white people – report

In a preview of a report due next week, the UK government is preparing to acknowledge a frightening prejudice in the justice system as regards Black and minority treatment by the system.  The Ministry of Justice analysis reveals particular startling results for Blacks:  “While black people are four times more likely to be in prison than white people, the incarceration rate rises to nine times more likely for those under the age of 18.”     Preliminary Report:  Exploratory analysis of the youth secure estate by BAME groups    

The State – Gerald Molloy
How SC (South Carolina) can move from most-improved to MVP in criminal justice…

An alarming increase in the tripling of prison cost to deal with a six-fold increase in the prison population drove state lawmakers to a powerful conclusion:  “It was our laws — not our crime rate — that kept driving the numbers up.”  Low level criminals kept coming back before the courts because prison did not solve the addiction or the mental illness problems. The root of the increase was the preferred solution of locking up parole violators and low level offenders; the solution was better supervision and better response in the communities.  Now the reformers are focused on Sentencing Reform.

Cleveland Plain Dealer (US) – John Ellem
End Ohio practice of sentencing children to life in prison without parole

Author Ellem is a lawyer and former Republican legislator in West Virginia who surfaces again the practice of a sentence of Life-with-out-Parole (LWOP) for a juvenile convicted of first degree murder.  Recently after a Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of LWOP, and an Ohio State Supreme Court also declaring it unconstitutional, the state of Virginia ended the practice.  The resolution of those juveniles already sentenced to LWOP remains elusive.

Los Angeles Times Editorial (Aug 16, 2017)
How the poor get locked up and the rich go free

The Times Editorial Board is offended by the evident racial overtones of justice as practiced in Texas and California and elsewhere.  Says the Times:  “Unjust money bail policies have improperly stripped people of their basic rights for too long.”  The Times is estimating that 60% of those currently in jail are there without conviction, having been refused bail.  Several inmates are known to have died in such custody.  The solution, and a bail reform proposal is to assess the bail from the perspective of risk, and not from the ability to pay.,amp.html

WHSV Channel 3 Richmond Virginia
State report: Virginia has lowest prisoner recidivism rate

Governor Terry McAuliffe credits a vigorous re-integration program for the achievement – a rate of 23.4%.  The Department of Corrections have a strong partnerships with community groups at the base of the results.