Jan 8, 2018

Toronto Star – Vicky Mochama
Treatment of women in Canadian prisons a human rights travesty

The number of women incarcerated is growing at alarming rates, especially Indigenous women (37% over the last ten years without crime rate increase).  But the measures used to determine the security level or classification, and therefore the access to programs, is based on a model intended for male inmates and falls critically short of the women`s needs. “But for women who are often mothers and primary care providers, these assessment tools prevent them from being part in their families’ lives. For example, many women classified as high-risk opt not to see their children because they don’t want to be seen in shackles. A jail sentence for one becomes punishment for the family.”

USA Today – Crystal Hayes
Number of officers killed hits 2nd-lowest in more than 50 years

The rate of police officer deaths is going down and traffic accidents account for more than gun shots.  The current rate, 128 killed and 44 by gunshot, reflects a lower result from 2016 when 143 were killed and 66 by gunshot.  Crashes killed 47 officers this year, down 15% from 2016.   (Graph from 1957 forward at link)

Globe and Mail – Patrick White
Correctional officers face criminal charges in death of inmate at N.B. prison in 2015

Two guards in NB’s Dorchester Penitentiary will be in court on Feb. 26 charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death in the death of inmate Matthew Hines who died following repeated spraying with pepper spray.  The story is good example as well of the effort to make correctional authorities accountable after the death of an inmate, a problem plaguing the entire prison system.

CBC News – Kathleen Harris
Liberals relaunch family reunification lottery despite angry backlash around ‘immigration fiasco’ – Government faced flood of emails, letters expressing outrage over new random selection process

Canada`s refugee and immigration advocates are furious about the government`s decision to return to the use of a lottery process for selection of candidates.  The lottery process – chances of one in 10,000 – has been termed by frustrated sponsors “cruel,” “heartless” and a “fiasco.”  “The change aimed to make the system more fair and transparent after complaints the process was skewed by geography and an applicant’s ability to pay a lawyer or other representative to get to the head of the queue.”   Related article: National Post- Stephanie Levitz Asylum contingency plan could be put to test as Salvadorans learn fate in U.S.

Globe and Mail – Chris Hannay
New law ends threat of jailing census resisters

Under the former Tory government, the census was considerably abbreviated and those who refused to comp0ly with the demand to complete the form could be jailed.  No more, even though there appear to be a few warrants outstanding for former refusals.  Now refusal or providing false information will bring an up-to $500 fine.

CBC News – Don Pitts
Ontario’s experiment with minimum wage could transform Canada’s economy – We’re the guinea pigs in a real-life research project, and no one can be sure how it will turn out

The growing income gap is bringing us into greater and greater debate over how to close that gap.  Some think increasing the minimum wage as Ontario has done is the way to go.  Others think that a guaranteed annual income is the best solution.  There are, of course, political factors as well.   Related article:  National Post – Andrew Coyne   Why a guaranteed minimum income is a better option than raising the minimum wage   Related article: Toronto Star – Susan Delacourt   Liberals hatch plan to stop Trumpism: fix income inequality – Liberals in Ottawa and Queen’s Park think unhealthy nationalism and nativism are by-products of inequality — and they aim to tackle it.   Related article:  TVO Current Affairs – Michael Coren  Why Tim Hortons doesn’t deserve your sympathy   Related article: Toronto Star – Kathleen Wynee  Pick a fight with me Mr. Joyce, not those working the Tim Hortons pickup window

The Marshall Project (US) – Eli Hager
The Check is in The Mail (For Real)

Billing parents for the cost to incarcerate their children is common in the US, even if the children are innocent.  “Contra Costa County probation department will begin notifying and mailing checks to families who, since 2010, were wrongfully billed for their children’s incarceration.”  The one county intended to refund $136,000 plus interest and to wipe out $8.5 million debt for 11,000 other parents, most all of which are low income families.  The practice is a prime example of secondary punishment, even where there is no guilt.