Mental health and police deaths…

April 6, 2018

CBC News – Katie Nicholson, Jacques Marcoux
Most Canadians killed in police encounters since 2000 had mental health or substance abuse issues – More than 460 people have died in encounters with police in Canada since 2000

The article is a part of a series (Deadly Force) examining police shootings in Canada.  Surprisingly, there is no one agency collecting data around the incidents.  From a CBC constructed data bank, some 70 % of these shootings involve people with a history of mental illness or drug addiction.  Even more alarming, the rate of these encounters and results seems to be increasing as well.  Western Canada seems to have the highest rates and BC leads the provinces.    Related article & Series:   CBC News – Deadly Force   Related article:  CBC News – Kristin Annable, Vera-Lynn Kubinec  Criminal consequences for police officers are rare when a civilian dies – Out of 461 fatal encounters over 18 years, 2 officers convicted   Related article: CBC News – Katie Nicholson, Jacques Marcoux    Most Canadians killed in police encounters since 2000 had mental health or substance abuse issues   Related article: Guardian (UK-US Desk) – Alisa Rorth    A ‘hellish world’: the mental health crisis overwhelming America’s prisons        

The Marshall Project – Jordan, as told to Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge
When You’re 16 and It’s Your First Time in Solitary – “I felt like I aged 10 years just by doing 20 days in there.”

This is a first person testimony to the practice of solitary confinement from the perspective of a first time and 16 year old inmate.  The link includes the reaction to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Onondaga County Justice Center in Syracuse, N.Y. where Jordan was held after arrest for burglary.

Southern Poverty Law Center (US)
SPLC sues DHS for unconstitutionally blocking detained immigrants’ access to lawyers

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is violating the Constitution by blocking immigrants held in extremely isolated civil immigration prisons from accessing lawyers, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by the SPLC.”  This marks the first lawsuit of this kind by the widely respected anti-poverty center, coming after many decades of abusive by the Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The lawsuit also pursues other officials in supervisory capacities within government.

Penal Reform International (UK) – Henrique Apolinario, Conectas Human Rights
Expert Blog: In Brazil, prison riots and killings expose the structural failures of mass incarceration

Brazil has frequently been cited for its prison riots but 2017 leaves a particularly distasteful stat:  119 inmate deaths from rioting.  The huge over flow of inmates from the long term practice of mass incarceration is, says human rights lawyer Apolinario, a very significant contributing factor, demonstrating that mass incarceration as a means of confronting crime does not work.  He adds that inspectors don’t ever inspect and rarely ever enter the various prisons.   Related article: Harm Reduction International – The Death Penalty for Drug Offences:  NEW! The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2017  (Link provides additional resources /info, beyond the overview, on application of the death penalty for drug offenses.)  Related article: Truth Out – Lacino Hamilton   I Am Buried Alive in a Michigan Prison

Ottawa Citizen – Canadian Press
Senators fear legal pot will hike number of Canadians barred entry to U.S.

A Senate excursion to Washington to test the waters of the US federal reaction to the legalization of marijuana in Canada is suggesting that the issue may well the fraught with peril for Canadians crossing the border into the US.  Carrying marijuana either way across the border will still remain illegal says Ralph Goodale.  But… “Canadians who admit to ever having used marijuana, no matter how long ago, already face lifetime bans on entering the U.S. And senators, who are currently studying the bill that is to usher in the legalized cannabis regime this summer, have been warned by at least one immigration lawyer, Len Saunders, that the number of banned Canadians could skyrocket once legalization goes into effect.”